Kaneland Superintendent said no need for alarm on H1N1

By on October 30, 2009

Teachers remind students to follow the three C’s—clean your hands, cover your cough, contain your illness
by Susan O’Neill
Kaneland—The Kaneland schools have experienced some cases of children with the H1N1 virus, but Superintendent Charlie McCormick said that the total absenteeism rate for most schools has remained from between .2 to 2.2 percent. With Kaneland McDole Elementary School at 4.5 percent, he said that is still below 5 percent and nothing to be concerned about.

McCormick said the district has asked school nurses to keep a closer eye on children who have other medical issues, because they are at a higher risk for this strain of flu.

Jan Brazas, the nurse at both McDole and John Shields schools, said she has seen more children get sick sooner than she remembers in other years, with flu-like symptoms beginning to show up in September rather than mid-October. She said the length of illnesses has from several days out of school to a week of absence.

Brazas said teachers have been reminding students to cover their coughs, wash their hands and wipe down their desks. Parents have also been asked to keep their sick children home until they have been fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours.

The schools have been reporting illnesses with fever to the Kane County Health Department so it can keep statistics on its incidence. However, the symptoms—fever and a sore throat or fever and a cough—may also be the sign of another virus, the seasonal flu or strep throat, all of which are common this time of year.

Most doctors are not testing children for H1N1 beyond the nasal swab unless they are hospitalized, Brazas said. Results from the nasal swab are less than 100 percent accurate.

Krista Meyer, the nurse for the Blackberry Creek and Kaneland John Stewart schools, said many students have come to her office during the past couple of weeks. She said that some parents have called to ask her to check on their children, and the students themselves are picking up on their parents’ concerns.

She said she thought quite a few of the students obtained the vaccine when it was offered on Monday night.