In May 1, 2009 letter from Linda Legnitto, Deputy Superintendent from the Yolo County Office of Education:
“When a confirmed case of the H1N1 virus is found in a child, the local Yolo County Public Health Officer, Dr. Joseph Iser, will contact the Yolo County Office of Education and the school district in which that child attends school to order a dismissal of students from that school district. All extra curricular activities for students should also be cancelled during the dismissal period. There is an important distinction between student dismissal and a school closure. In a situation where students are dismissed, school staff is still required to report to their site; the school is not closed. Dr. Iser has directed that the siblings of ill children should also stay at home. The siblings of children dismissed from school who have no symptoms of illness should be closely monitored, but should continue to attend school.”
“Holmes Jr. High School in Davis has a student diagnosed with a presumptive case of H1N1 Influenza. The Yolo County Health department has instructed the district to release the students and their siblings from school for the next 14 days.”
We now know as of 7 pm, that the latter instruction to the siblings was a miscommunication.
Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby speaking with the Vanguard late Saturday reiterated that the County Health Department has jursidiction over the matter and they were directed to close the school based on the student with a probable case of H1N1 Influenza.
Moreover, he stated that the protocol from the Health Department as handed down is that if there were to be a second case of H1N1 Influenza, the entire school district would shutdown for a period of 14 days. This clear also in the CDC’s recommendations.
The CDC makes the following recommendations in the case of infected students:
* Sick people (students, faculty and staff) should stay home unless they need to seek medical care and stay away from schools regardless of whether schools and childcare facilities are operating normally or have dismissed students or closed, respectively.
* Dismissal of students in a school and closure of childcare facilities should be considered in schools with one or more laboratory-confirmed or non-subtypable influenza A case among students, faculty or staff in order to decrease the spread of illness in the community.
* Dismissal of students from schools and closure of childcare facilities should be considered for not-yet-affected schools and childcare facilities in the same area (e.g. a feeder school network or a geographic area) if more than one school or childcare facility in that area has confirmed or non-subtypable influenza A cases among their students, faculty, or staff. This would include preemptively dismissing students from schools in that area, including schools without current laboratory-confirmed cases.
* Neighboring schools to those that dismiss students should also consider preemptively dismissing students from schools without current laboratory-confirmed cases. Issues to consider include geographic proximity and extent of mixing of student populations among area schools.
* If a school dismisses students or a childcare facility closes, school or childcare-related gatherings should also be canceled. Parents and students should be encouraged to avoid congregating in large numbers outside of the school setting.”
Mr. Colby wanted to clarify that the school was acting under the authority of the Yolo County Health Department and clear up any misperceptions that were being spread on the Vanguard by members of the public.
—David M. Greenwald reporting