As of Friday, Sept. 25 more Crescenta Valley students have tested positive for type A influenza, that includes the H1N1 virus.
“There are confirmed cases of [the H1N1 or swine flu] at Rosemont Middle School, Crescenta Valley High School and Monte Vista Elementary,” said Dr. Richard Sheehan, Glendale assistant superintendent.
Sheehan added the district expects more cases as the early flu season continues.
“Unfortunately this is a flu virus and it is contagious,” he said.
The cases reported in the district have been mild, although some kids are sicker than others, he said.
That coincides with reports received at the California Department of Public Health.
“So far the majority of reports have been mild,” said Ken August, spokesman for the CDC. He added that the department does expect an increase in reported cases with more severe symptoms as the season continues.
The first cases of the H1N1 flu in the Glendale district this school year were reported at Rosemont Middle School about a week ago. Prior to that, on Sept. 11 cases of the flu were reported at La Cañada Elementary. Wendy Sinnette, assistant superintendent for Human Resources in the La Cañada school district said, 13 out of 20 students in one first grade classroom had reported out from school due to flu-like symptoms. Out of those students five were tested for type A influenza and two tested positive, she said.
Before the reported cases in La Cañada, Sheehan had already begun to work on a strategy for the possible, and more likely inevitable, outbreak. Each classroom was supplied with hand sanitizer bottles and anti-bacterial wipes in each computer lab to be used on keyboards. Teachers reminded students to sneeze into the crook of their arm, to not share food and to practice good hygiene.
“Sing Happy Birthday twice [about 20 seconds] when you wash your hands,” Sheehan said.
The asst. superintendent has become somewhat of an expert on the flu and measures of prevention of its spread.
Administrators have launched an educational outreach to families with notices in the Thursday folders for elementary school students and information on the virus and prevention tips on the district’s website.
When the district is informed of new cases they let their staff and parents know through the ConnectEd phone system and in some cases through e-mails.
A vaccine is expected to be available in October. Sheehan advised that parents talk to their pediatrician about the vaccine and whether their child should receive it.