Novel H1N1 Flu - Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Are there any confirmed cases of Novel H1N1 flu in Mesa Public Schools?

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health there have been over 900 confirmed cases of H1N1 in the county. We will most likely see students and staff infected with HINI this school year.

   
2.

What is the district response to Novel H1N1 flu?

Mesa Public Schools will follow the direction of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will continue to offer Flu Prevention Education to students, staff, and parents. It includes hand-washing hygiene, cough/sneeze cover etiquette and good health habits. If a student is ill with a fever, we will be enforcing the County Health Department guideline which recommends that the student not be at school when he appears to be ill, especially with fever. The health department has directed us to not allow children to be at school with fever or to return to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication.

   
3.

What prevention programs does the district currently have in place?

School nurses, nurse assistants, and principals are reviewing prevention practices at each school. Students and staff will continue to receive education on the healthy habits of covering coughs/sneezes, hand washing, and other good health practices such as rest, good nutrition, exercise, and seeing the doctor when ill. School nurses are on alert to screen students for flu symptoms.

   
4.

What precautions is the district taking in school cafeterias, classrooms, school buses, and other high student-use areas?

Hand sanitizers, soap, wipes, and hand washing sinks are readily available. Teachers are asking students to wash their hands before and after meals. Custodians, school staff and other service staff have products like hand sanitizers and wipes as well as a cleaning protocol that focuses on high-use areas and equipment. 

   
5.

What do I do if my child is sick?

If your child is sick, please contact the school office as you would for an absence due to illness. Please inform the attendance clerk that your child has flu-like symptoms. Your information will assist us in monitoring any serious flu outbreaks in a specific classroom or campus.

For example: "My daughter is home with a sore throat, a deep cough and a fever of 102." Please take the time to expand your message beyond just saying, "My daughter has the flu." Our nurses sincerely appreciate your help in this area. Follow up with your doctor if you are having trouble getting the fever down, the child is blue or having difficulty breathing, seems very lethargic or you have concerns that she might be getting sicker.

   
 6.

What if my child gets sick at school?

If your child becomes sick at school, you will be contacted immediately. Please make sure that the school office has updated emergency contact information. All Mesa Public Schools have nurses and health assistants on staff. Sick students or staff will be separated from healthy students until they can be sent home. Disposal surgical masks will be available for those with flu-like symptoms.

Please have a care plan should your child become ill and you have to work. It is never a good idea to leave a sick child home alone. Please be prompt in picking up a sick child as there may be a chance of making healthy children ill.

   
 7.

Do I keep all my children home if only one child is sick?

The child who is ill should remain home and the children who are healthy and showing no symptoms should be sent to school.

   
 8.

What if a staff member has Novel H1N1 flu?

According to Maricopa County Department of Public Health guidelines, if a staff member has a confirmed case of Novel H1N1 flu, the same procedures will be followed as if a student has a case of Novel H1N1 flu. The staff member should go home and should only return until she is fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication.

   
 9.

My family all received flu shots. Isn't that some protection against Novel H1N1 flu?

Even though the Maricopa County Department of Public Health is recommending that children and adults get the regular seasonal flu vaccine, the vaccination you receive will not be for Novel H1N1 (swine flu). However, it is an excellent idea to get a yearly  flu vaccine as we will be seeing cases of both Novel H1N1 and seasonal flu this fall.

In early fall, all Mesa Public Schools will have the opportunity to voluntarily host a "free flu immunization clinic" to administer free flu vaccines to students who return a signed parental consent form.

   
10.

When is it expected that the Novel H1N1 Flu vaccine will be available?

The Novel H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in the fall. More specific dates cannot be provided at this time as vaccine availability depends on several factors including manufacturing time and time needed to conduct clinical trials.