Broken Arrow Student Diagnosed With Possible Swine Flu

Thursday, August 20th 2009, 12:41 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- The H1N1 virus may have made its way to a Tulsa County school.  A Broken Arrow elementary student is recovering from what's believed to be a case of the virus.

School leaders can't say for certain if the student has the H1N1 virus, but they say all of the signs point to it, and on Thursday, after a thorough cleaning of the building, school went on as scheduled.

There are 600 students who attend Broken Arrow's Wolf Creek Elementary at 3000 West New Orleans Street.  School leaders are concerned one of them may have come down with the H1N1 virus.  BA schools lead nurse Douglas Drill says they don't believe anyone inside the building was exposed to the symptoms.

"The onset of symptoms, when they are first contagious, they weren't in the school building," said Nurse Douglas Drill.

Drill says, once they learned of a possible exposure to H1N1, they began cleaning the school.   

"Desktops, tabletops, doorknobs, restroom facilities, things like that," said Nurse Douglas Drill.

They also got the word out to parents.  Angela Henslick got the call.  She has two children at Wolf Creek.

"Concerned, worried a little bit, but I knew I would be sending them back to school today," said parent Angela Henslick.

The Centers for Disease Control has advice for schools with students that may have the H1N1 virus.  The CDC says students with a flu-like illness should stay home at least 24 hours after they are no longer showing symptoms.  They also suggest that students and staff with a high risk of getting sick should stay home.

And, if there is concern that other students may have been exposed, the CDC says administrators should find ways to separate the students, such as moving desks farther apart or encouraging students to stay in their own classrooms.

Broken Arrow officials are not worried other students were exposed and decided to keep the school open.

Angela Henslick says she's confident her children are safe.

"My husband and I discussed it last night and we feel like that they're in a good place and we can do what we can and just hope everything else gets taken care of," said parent Angela Henslick.

The school says the student is recovering at home.  They encourage anyone with questions to check out their website.

Posted on Broken Arrow Public Schools' web site...

On August 19, 2009, a student from Wolf Creek Elementary was diagnosed with a strongly suspected case of the novel H1N1 influenza virus, called by many-swine flu.

The student is at home under doctor's care and won't return to school until symptom free.  The Center for Disease Control reminds all that students diagnosed with swine flu or regular flu should remain at home avoiding contact with others until the child has been symptom free including no fever for 24 hours.

The School District continues to follow the CDC guidelines which say schools should remain open even if a case of swine flu is found in that school.

 BAPS Lead Nurse Doug Drill said the symptoms of Swine Flu are similar to seasonal influenza and include fever greater than 100 degrees, body aches, headache, coughing, sore throat, respiratory congestions and in some cases, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. 

BAPS continues to encourage students to wash their hands frequently and cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.

The school district regularly disinfects all areas of a school utilizing the latest advancement in germ-cleaning ingredients to clean rooms and all areas of the school district daily.

"Our parents expect clear and open communication from the school district on this issue," Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Gary Gerber said.   "We also hope that parents clearly communicate symptoms of their students when notifying our school of any absences."

The School District used its all-call system to alert all parents about the diagnosis.  In addition, BAPS has posted a list of frequently asked questions and answers related to the Swine Flu on the district's website.