MPS Proactive with Swine Flu Threat

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Meridian Public Schools has not had any identified cases of swine flu, but officials say they are taking precautions.

Kindergarten students practiced proper hand washing Friday at T.J. Harris Elementary School. Teachers say they should continue lathering for at least two versus of a song they sang.

"Certainly with it around, it is a concern for us," said school nurse Dianne Shannon. "But we are always teaching good hand washing, cough etiquette. This isn't anything that we don't normally teach them."

With just two full days under their belt now, school officials are developing their game plan for making sure staff, students, and parents are on the same page when it comes to keeping students strong and healthy for a new year.

"In our teachers' meetings, we did make our teachers aware that this is a problem and just to emphasize what they should teach the children, coughing into their elbow," Shannon said.

And much like the birthday song, the adults go out of their way to make this health lesson fun and interesting.

"We just talk about germs," said Shannon. "We know what they are. We have books and videos; they learn about what they are and that they are bad for them and they can wash them away by washing their hands."

To make sure these smiling faces remain in the classrooms and not at home sick, teachers have placed hand sanitizers in just about every corner of the room, on the teachers' desks, next to the sink and near the students desks.

And while teachers are following safety measures in the classroom, officials realize they can't be with the students all the time. For that reason next week they will be sending out letters to parents letting them know what they need to do when the kids are away from school.

Most of the information is common sense, including proper cleaning, when to keep kids home from school and what to do with children if another family member gets the flu. a

With plenty of information in their hands, the staff hopes these students will have a successful year.

The symptoms of swine flu are pretty much the same symptoms seen for seasonal flu. They include high fever, coughing, a lack of appetite, and extreme fatigue. Though those are the main symptoms, experts say others like runny nose, sore throat and nausea sometimes accompany it.


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