H1N1 poses minimal threat to SHS

May 12, 2009 — by Mira Chaykin and Karthik Sreedhara

Must haves in Saratoga: Juicy sweats and Seven jeans. Must haves at a high school in Mexico City: surgical masks and an abundance of hand sanitizer. With the outbreak of H1N1, also known as the swine flu, schools all over the world are taking precautions to keep education safe from the dangerous virus.

Since more than 15 schools in the Bay Area recently closed, including nearby Branham High School and Challenger School (which are now open), SHS parents and students are questioning the fate of the school and wondering if the closure policy will be extended to the Los Gatos-Saratoga district.

“We’re working in conjunction with the County Health and the County Office of Education, and we are prepared to take any instruction for closure necessary, but chances for that seem slim,” said Assistant Principal Joe Bosco.

According to the California Department of Public Health, the chances of any more schools closing due to H1N1 without a clear epidemic are minimal. Schools were closed earlier as a precautionary method necessary because of the generally vague knowledge of the power of the virus and how it would progress.

Now that the department has a heightened awareness of the relative mildness of the virus they are hesitant to close any more schools.
The school is taking precautionary methods to avoid a large-scale eruption of the virus that would inevitably yield closure.

“If somebody comes in with a fever or a hundred or higher we are sending kid home; we are giving that information to the county so they can follow up on it and make sure the student is not infected,” said Bosco.

In addition, posters promoting hygienic habits, like hand washing, are being posted throughout the school to remind students of the necessity of personal hygiene while trying to suppress the rapid spreading of a disease like H1N1.

The country also recommends covering your nose or mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoiding massive social situations and avoiding close contact with anyone who might be infected.

Normally such precautions are taken lightly, but right now it is imperative that students take these warnings to heart with H1N1 still active.

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