How Area School Districts Keep Parents Informed Of H1N1 Cases

Monday, October 12th 2009, 7:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA COUNTY, OK -- While the H1N1 virus has been reported in many schools, how can parents know for sure?

Most Oklahoma schools have stopped telling parents about new reports of the virus because it's already there.

Broken Arrow sent a letter when the first case was reported in each school building. Other schools have been more general, advising parents to assume their children are being exposed.

The main clinic at Jenks Public Schools had 170 patients come through Monday, which is slightly above average. Head nurse Linda Parkhurst has been sending students home if they have symptoms of the flu.

"The first thing we're doing is pleading with parents and students to keep them home until they've been fever free for 24 hours," said Linda Parkhurst R.N., Jenks Public Schools.

Jenks has sent letters home and posted information on their website alerting parents that students are likely to be exposed.

"We tell them. We have from early on let them know there is confirmed type 1 flu in the district and because there is no immunity to it, we're expecting 50 percent of the population infected," said Linda Parkhurst R.N.

At the Limestone School in the Sand Springs district, H1N1 vaccinations started last week. The flu was widespread in that one school, but it has shown up in almost all schools.

Most stopped notifying parents about the infection after the first few cases were reported.

While Tulsa Public Schools is taking extra steps to disinfect buildings, they're also telling parents the best prevention is simple hand washing and avoiding other students with flu symptoms. If students have siblings with the flu, the government is recommending they stay home as well.

"We cannot enforce them keeping all students home. If they say they're going to do that, that's certainly fine with us," said Linda Parkhurst R.N.

The News On 6 talked with Union, Broken Arrow, Jenks and Tulsa Monday. All said they try to find out if a sick student has flu symptoms, especially a case confirmed by a doctor.

There is no requirement for schools to tell parents about students with the flu, but they do have to tell the health department.

Again, the assumption is that the flu is in every school.

10/12/2009  Related Story: Tulsa Doctors Try To Prevent Spread Of H1N1


Letter to Parents from Tulsa Public Schools

CDC Information for Schools

Oklahoma State Health Information for Schools

Tulsa Health Department Information for Parents

Tulsa Public Schools Information for Parents