Health Dept.: Swine Flu Shouldn't Close Schools

Sunday, May 10th 2009, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There are three confirmed cases of swine flu in Tulsa, and all are linked to elementary schools.

The Tulsa Health Department is not recommending that those schools close their doors Monday morning.

A female worker at Jackson Elementary had been infected with the H1N1 virus, but returned to work Friday.

A custodial crew scrubbed down every inch of Jackson over the weekend, disinfecting everything from door handles to water fountains.

"I feel confident in the work that's being done here," Principal Tasha Johnson said.

Word came later that day that two students at Union's Andersen Elementary were also infected with swine flu. A health department spokeswoman says both have recovered and are back in class.

"The guidance that we are now getting from the centers for disease control says it is just not necessary to shut down an entire school simply because of one or two cases," said Melanie Christian with the Tulsa Health Department. "I think it's important for parents to remember that what we are seeing is a very mild virus, and that these two children, and that the adult with school contacts, all recovered without hospitalization. They had very mild symptoms, and therefore, it is safe to send your kids who are well to school."

Tulsa Superintendent Keith Ballard says he's taking precaution to the extreme.

"I do believe it is a serious situation, and I think we need to react accordingly," he said.

Neither the female employee at Jackson nor the two young students at Anderson have been to Mexico this year.

The health department says the way the schools have handled the outbreak is commendable.