Are Chenango schools prepared for H1N1?

NORWICH – Chenango County’s school district officials are scheduled to meet with the director of the county’s public health department early this month to receive an update on the H1N1 influenza.

Like most districts, the Norwich City School District hasn’t issued an advisory about the world’s newest flu strain to parents and staff since the end of the school year in June.

Two cases were reported in the NCSD and less than a dozen confirmed throughout the county after swine flu began to spread in the Northeast last year. “We are cautiously awaiting to see what happens here over the course of the fall,” said District Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan.

Last week, the White House estimated that up to 90,000 Americans could die of swine flu this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that children were at greatest risk of being infected with H1N1 (14 times more likely than adults over age 60) and that babies and toddlers were most likely to be hospitalized with severe complications.

The CDC is advising schools not to close when cases are detected, but instead to take preventative measures such as mandating hand washing and regular door knob sanitizing.

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