DUBOIS – “There is not one person in this room who hasn’t thought of H1N1 and it’s impact on our schools,” said Assistant Superintendent J. Mark Heckman.
Heckman laid out the DuBois Area School District’s work on combating H1N1, more popularly known as swine flu.
So far there has been one laboratory confirmed case of H1N1 in the school district. Heckman specified laboratory confirmed as the Pennsylvania Department of Health hasn’t confirmed this case. The reason, Heckman told those present for the school board meeting, being that of HIPA laws protecting people’s health privacy. If the Department of Health gets too specific on the location it could run afoul of those HIPA laws. This laboratory confirmed case was by a doctor who sent a blood sample off to get confirmation.
“On a normal day we have 5 percent of the student population ill. Right now it’s 12 percent,” said Heckman.
This has been peaking and dropping down this school year. There isn’t an H1N1 crisis according to Heckman.
Heckman also praised h1n1inpa.com for being a source to go to for H1N1 information. He warned that the website shows 19 confirmed cases in Clearfield that they are reducing their confirmation of cases due to the upcoming flu season. Instead they’ll count the flu as the flu no matter the type.
“If it quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it acts like a duck, it’ll be treated like a duck” said Heckman.
The DuBois Area School District is looking into getting H1N1 vaccines for a health clinic. This is a plan that may or may not happen. Heckman said that the first four shipments went to areas that are being hit hard by confirmed H1N1: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Williamsport. As part of this planning the school has been sending surveys home to parents to see if they would be in favor of their children getting the vaccine.
Of the currently returned surveys, 40 percent of the parents state they are interested in their children having swine flu vaccines provided to their kids on a voluntary basis.