As you are likely aware, human cases of H1N1 (novel influenza) have been identified in the United States and now possibly in Minnesota.
A number of these cases have been in school-aged children. The Minnesota Department of Health has increased its surveillance and testing of patients with flu-like symptoms and the Wayzata Public Schools will continue to seek and follow the guidance and recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The developing news about H1N1 cases in the U.S. and other countries warrants a review of and a renewed focus on precautionary health measures intended to minimize the risks associated with the flu.
The health offices at Wayzata Public Schools are monitoring students for symptoms of influenza as well as any significant changes in absence rates. We continue to emphasize basic infection prevention measures including the following:
- Covering mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Washing hands often with soap and water or an alcohol based hand rub
- Staying home if ill
Human influenza virus is mainly transmitted from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A lesser mode of transmission occurs when a person touches something that has the flu virus on it and then touches his or her mouth or nose. Some individuals who are infected may never show symptoms or may have only mild symptoms but they could still spread the virus to others. Infection control and avoiding/limiting exposure to those showing symptoms are keys to slowing transmission and delaying the spread of the virus.
We will continue to monitor this developing health concern closely and will remain in regular contact with local and state health officials to assure that we have the most current information. We will provide new information via our website and/or through other means of communication as necessary. The situation with this flu strain continues to evolve. More information is available at the Minnesota Department of Education website
The safety and well-being of our students are always our highest priority and we are taking this health emergency seriously. While it is cause for concern, it is not cause for panic. We are committed to working with our partners and we will respond to new information and the recommendations/advice of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education. It is prudent for all of us to pay attention to this developing news and to follow our common sense while responding to the best information made available to us from our state’s resources.
Chace B. Anderson
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