Letter to District 65 Parents:

 

Novel H1N1 (referred to as “swine flu¨ early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. Other countries, including Mexico and Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.

 

So far, with novel H1N1 flu, the largest number of novel H1N1 flu confirmed have occurred in people under the age of 25 years; therefore Public Health Officials recommend taking actions like the following to stay healthy:

 

  Keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have fever or do not have signs of fever, without using fever-reducing drugs. Keeping children with a fever at home will reduce the number of people who may get infected.

 

   Do not send children to school if they are sick. Any children who are determined to be sick while at school will be sent home. As in the past, your child may be asked to wear a mask to cover his/her mouth while waiting in the Health Office to go home.

 

  Have your child vaccinated against regular seasonal influenza¡Xthis is a different vaccination from the H1N1 vaccination.

 

  Teach your children to wash their hands often with soap and water. You can set a good example by doing this yourself.

 

  Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils. Also teach them to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues or cover up their coughs or sneezes using the elbow, arm or sleeve instead of the hand when a tissue is unavailable.

 

   Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.

 

In further effort to intervene in the continuing spread of novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu), the Evanston/Skokie School District, Evanston Health and Human Services and the Skokie Health Department are planning for the opportunity to provide H1N1 vaccinations at the school your child attends. Depending upon when we receive the approved H1N1 influenza vaccination these special immunization clinics will be held this fall. At this point we anticipate

that all school children will be eligible to receive the H1N1 influenza vaccination at no charge.  

 

Note: Completion of required forms will be necessary for a child to receive the in school H1N1 vaccination. When the information arrives, please read and review the vaccine information sheet provided, then thoroughly complete the form and provide your authorization by signing the consent form. We hope that each of you will consider protecting your children from this virus.

 

In addition to offering the H1N1 vaccination clinics in our schools, we continue to utilize waterless soap dispensers in our

classrooms and throughout our district buildings, we have increased the frequency of our routine cleaning within the buildings, we post updates on our website and we continue to work closely with both the Evanston and the Skokie Health Departments. We will notify you of any additional changes to our district¡¦s strategy to prevent the spread of influenza as they occur.

 

We are all taking the stance of shared responsibility and concern about the health of your family and the health of our community and we continue to take steps to reduce the spread of both the H1N1 virus and the seasonal flu virus in our district buildings.

 

For more information about flu in our community and what our district is doing, visit: www.district65.net (District 65); www.skokie.org (Skokie Health Department @ 847.933.8252); www.cityofevanston.org\health (Evanston Health and Human Services @ 847.866.2962).

 

Sincerely,

Mary H. Larson, BSN, RN, CSN

Coordinator of Health Services, District 65

 

Evonda Thomas, RN MSN

Director, Health and Human Services

Evanston Health Department

 

Catherine Counard, MD

Director of Health, Skokie Health Department