Probable case of H1N1 Flu; local school district closes schools

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

DIANA, TX (KLTV) - It's the first probable case of H1N1 in East Texas and a school is shutting down in the interest of student safety.

H1N1 is the new name, assigned by the government, for the flu virus we all called the swine flu. Officials with the New Diana school district said their schools will close for a week after finding out one of their students has a probable case of H1N1 flu.

The student became ill last week and was not in classes at all this week when the district got the call.

"We made a decision under advice of the Texas Department of Health," said superintendent Joyce Sloan. "We received a phone call and they confirmed that there was a probable case of swine flu in our district."

Starting Friday, all New Diana schools will be closed until May 11th.

"We just feel like this is the best thing to do in the interest of our kids," said Sloan.

School buses and parents picked up kids as New Diana ISD dismissed school at their normal time Thursday. A Texas Department of Health lab test revealed a probable case of H1N1 in the student. Now, we do want to be specific and say this is not a confirmed case of H1N1 flu but the district is taking every possible precaution on the event that it is.

School officials sent a note home with the students to all parents warning them about the probable case. They are also sending out global connection voice messages to parents home phone numbers.

"We've taken the precautions that have been advised all along: hand sanitizers in every one of our classrooms, we've cautioned our children about washing their hands and how to cough and sneeze and so forth and so on, and those are just normal things in the school setting that are just in the best interest of the health of the children," said Sloan. "We're not unnecessarily alarmed."

The next step is cleaning the school before students come back.

"We'll be scrubbing and disinfecting the school," said Sloan.

The Upshur County emergency coordinator said a sample of the lab test has been sent to the CDC in Atlanta. It will take 72 hours to confirm whether it is this new H1N1 virus. New Diana ISD joins more than 200 Texas schools that are now closed. That means more than 130,000 Texas students are out of classes.

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