Schools Around Tulsa Brace For Swine Flu

Tuesday, April 28th 2009, 4:42 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg now says hundreds of students, parents and staff have gotten sick from the swine flu in his city.  Texas and California school districts have shut down several schools because of confirmed cases.  Meantime, schools in Oklahoma say they are on high alert, but until a case is found in Oklahoma, they are not taking any drastic measures.

Tulsa Public Schools has an automated message recorded by Superintendent Keith Ballard that was sent to all parents of Tulsa Public School students.

"So far, there have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in Oklahoma, but we feel it's important to provide you with tips on how to keep your family healthy," said Dr. Keith Ballard in the message.

Ballard also addressed swine flu during an appearance on Six In The Morning on Tuesday.

"We're on high alert just like the rest of the country.  We are paying attention to guidelines coming out from the Centers for Disease Control," said Dr. Keith Ballard, superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools.

TPS has also sent home a letter with all of its 41,000 students that outlines swine flu symptoms.  It stresses that while there are no cases in Tulsa; parents need to keep sick children at home.

With more cases popping up among students in New York, and the forced closure of several Texas schools, Tulsa-area educators say they need to be ready.

In Jenks, Nursing Coordinator Linda Parkhurst is reminding students to wash their hands properly, and she is keeping an eye out for sick kids.

"If we would have any students with fever, we would certainly be communicating with the parents, as far as seeing the doctor, making sure they're looked at," said Jenks Nurse Coordinator Linda Parkhurst.

Jenks has a pandemic plan, but like other area schools, says it will continue to exercise patience.

"The administration certainly has plans that they would close school if need be. We have all that in place.  We're just hoping that it's not needed," said Jenks Nurse Coordinator Linda Parkhurst.

Tulsa Public Schools and Jenks Public Schools have placed information about the outbreak on their websites.

The Oklahoma State Health Department has also set up a Swine Flu hotline.  The number is 866-278-7134, and phones will be answered between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.