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Manteca, Ripon prepare for flu threat

Schools send warnings to students, prepare staff

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POSTED April 30, 2009 2:56 a.m.

Both Manteca and Ripon school districts have been working quietly behind the scenes in preparation for the possibility of a swine flu threat.

“This is serious and we are taking it very seriously,” Manteca Unified health director Caroline Thibodeau said Wednesday afternoon.  She added that public information officer Bob Lee would be putting out a press release on Thursday regarding the district’s planning strategies.

Manteca Unified has been working on its response to a flu epidemic for two years.

Thibodeau said she feels her district is on top of the situation having been on a conference call with the Department of Public Health.  

Should there be any cases of swine flu locally, any decision to close schools will come from the U.S. Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the State Department of Health.

Ripon’s district office spokesman Kathy Coleman said all Ripon’s principals met with their staffs Wednesday afternoon, with the high school principal scheduled to meet with his teachers on Friday.

Her teachers will be stressing hand washing to their students in class.  School nurse Alicia Anderson produced a hand washing video that will be circulated through all the district’s classrooms from kindergarten through 12 th grade.

All Ripon classrooms are being stocked with hand sanitizer, soap and tissues.  Coleman said the health department said tissues are much more sanitary than face masks as they can immediately be thrown away.

Fliers were sent home to parents Wednesday afternoon telling parents to keep their children home if they have flu-like symptoms.  Call the school and call the doctor, they suggested.  School secretaries will have a check list of questions to ask parents when they call to be used as an assessment tool.

“I hope that it shows we are trying to inform parents and staff rather than to have a panic situation – we are doing everything we can to keep the schools healthy places,” Coleman said.

Thibodeau said emails have been sent to all MUSD staff members listing all the health links that will provide them with updated information on the flu threat.

It is being strongly suggested that if anyone in your family has visited Mexico in the past week or have come in contact with someone who has traveled to Mexico and has a fever over 100 degrees plus either a cough or sore throat they call their health care provider for consultation.

For more information on the Swine Influenza virus call 209-469-8200.  The Center for Disease Control and prevention wesite is at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu”www.cdc.gov/swineflu. The San Joaquin County Public health Services website is www.sjcphs.org.

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