Swine flu hits Loomis schools

Eight cases confirmed
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Eight local students have become ill with the H1N1 flu virus, formerly called the swine flu. Three Loomis Union School District students and five Del Oro High School students have taken ill with the virus since school began two weeks ago. “It’s here,” said Sheree Palma, a school nurse for the elementary district. According to Paul Johnson, Loomis superintendent, two Ophir Elementary School students and one Franklin Elementary School student had cases of the virus. Lisa Facha, attendance secretary at Del Oro, said that by the time the test results are in the students are better and back at school. A kindergartner and a preschooler at Ophir School and a Franklin School kindergartner have all recovered from H1N1 and returned to school. Palma said parents should keep their children home if they have a fever above 100 degrees and one of the following symptoms: sore throat, dry cough, headache, runny nose, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting or tiredness and lethargy. Palma said students must be fever-free for at least 24 hours, without fever-reducing medication, before they are allowed to return to school. Assistant superintendent Carolyn Nichols said she met with all school clerks and nurses last week to cover proper procedures. She said that school staffs are logging the number of absentee call-ins and children sent home with flu symptoms. “We are being very vigilant over this. We’re expecting a vaccination to come out by mid-October,” Nichols said. According to Nichols, it is anticipated that children and pregnant women will have priority for the vaccination. Johnson said elementary students who become ill at school with what is suspected to be H1N1 will be isolated and given a mask to wear so as not to spread germs while waiting to be picked up. He also said classrooms are being cleaned daily and all students and staff wash their hands immediately upon arriving at school. Parents are requested to have updated emergency information at the schools in case they need to be contacted.