By ASHLEY AMASON
Nancy Smith, health services manager for the Walton County School District says the Walton County School District is taking every measure possible at this time to protect students from H1N1 swine flu. Smith told The Herald in a phone interview, “We’ve gone to all lengths to educate everybody. The health department nurses have even been in to educate everyone… to make sure we control [swine flu] as best we can.”
According to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, swine flu could infect up to half the American population this fall. To battle the likelihood of infection in Walton County, each school has an isolation area in the event there is a possible or confirmed case of swine flu. Later this fall, information and permission slips will be sent to parents regarding the H1N1 vaccine. It will be administered on campus once available, slated for release in mid-October.
If a student is diagnosed with swine flu and is absent for a prolonged time, he or she can contact teachers to get missed work, Smith said.
Walton Middle School Principal Tripp Hope discussed the efforts his school, as well as many others, have taken.
“We’ve taken every precaution. We’re making sure we are cleaning the bathrooms, at least twice, sometimes three times a day with sanitary wipe-downs. There is bacterial soap in every classroom and teachers wipe down all desks with Lysol between classes if time permits, and on their planning period.”
Hope said the staff is educating students on the importance of stopping the spread of germs. “As school starts, we’re talking to them about it, how to stay sanitary and have good personal hygiene. We’ll have some morning shows dedicated to the proper washing of hands, what to do after you eat.”
Hope and Smith encourage parents to keep their kids home if they’re sick, and parents must pick students up if they have a fever while at school.
“At least until we get the vaccination, we’ll talk about it every day,” Hope said. “The awareness is out there and that’s a good thing.”
Contact Ashley Amason at firstname.lastname@example.org
By ASHLEY AMASON