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In Search of Understanding

by: paul94611

Thu Apr 30, 2009 at 16:26:52 PM EDT

I am writing this diary in order to seek clarity and a greater understanding of a developing H1N1 influenza situation for my family and community here in the greater Memphis area.
paul94611 :: In Search of Understanding
Today, according to one of my high school aged children a fellow student came into class late and presented a note to the teacher.  After several moments of discussion between the two the child became upset and said loudly that; yes, my brother has tested positive for swine flu, but I have tested as clean.  
So, now I have several concerns.  Does this make any sense to the readers here?  My understanding of this influenza is that a person can be asymptomatic for several days before becoming ill and that one of the primary means of limiting the spread of H1N1 is isolation.  Additionally, with the way this was handled there is now a huge issue within the student body and I am sure the administration.
Any illumination the good folks here can provide would be of great assistance.  I am not completely ignorant of the basic principles of infectious disease management and treatment since I served in the Army for 15 years of which 1/2 of that time was after I had trained as a senior corpsman.
Thanks to all for your assistance for your assistance at keeping me informed and managing the effects of rumors and situation management and communication.
What should I do?
Keep my kids home from school.
Demand a copy of the school's influenza plan.
Request a meeting with the school's principal.
Address my concerns to the county health departmen
Cill out. The school did the right thing.


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What to do?
Well to start; call the school board member who represents you, find out from them what the standard or procedures are, for school system closure for this pandemic.

I have asked this question and now the school board is having a meeting tonight to address mine and other parents concerns.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You are the final judge.  

Do you feel that your children are safe in school?

Did the school board give you an answer to the simple questions you asked?  

An example of a good answer would be - If a single person gets the flu in the county/state we close the schools for 10 days. That is the best answer you can ask for.  

  No warning - no way to fight - no way to win!  
We need help in our local communities to survive. Remember that quote:    "...No man is an island..."

I will follow up with my local school board.

[ Parent ]
I've a more definitive answer . . .
This would have been the last day my child would see the inside of that school until next fall, if then.

To allow the sibling of a positive confirmed flu case to be present in the school is insane.

(I had a child who would have asked permission to go to the principal's office and call me to come get her - so we're not exactly normal, I guess.)

[ Parent ]
Welcome to public government
Having the power to make your life miserable if you rock their boat.  I have fought local, state & federal government before and will do so again.  The issue here for me was this.  Is my initial reaction warranted or is it rooted in an ill considered emotional response.

I believe that folks here generally believe that my response, while an emotional one, is proper.

[ Parent ]
pull your kids out and expect answers from the school,
board, etc.

Expecting a completely unemotional response regarding your children's welfare in unrealistic. Having feelings regarding a matter does not discount the logic of your concerns. The student may not currently be infected but if he's having contact with his brother/other possibly infected family members then the risk is there for him to become infected and pass the virus on even if he appears well.

As a parent your primary concern must always be your children's welfare. Officials should understand that and whether they do or not- well, I'd pull mine out anyway.

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little- Edmund Burke

[ Parent ]
A, B, D, and E
Pull your kids out now, ask questions and don't forget to remind the Principal/School board that the CDC is recommending that schools close if there is a confirmed case.

Natural selection is at work all the time.

On point.  Thanks.

[ Parent ]
More info needed...
..this runs into privacy laws, but my thought is this: how many in the family,anyone else sick ie maybe he didn't get from his brother but if Mom gets it in 5 days he may have been exposed, when did the sibling became ill, where is the sibling-home? college? hospital? When was the child in your kid's classroom tested-how was he tested?

In my state (NJ) ER's won't test unless patient is symptomatic within the first 24h hours AND that person is being admitted to hospital!!

Definitely get a copy of the school's pandemic plan, call the school board and don't back until you get either: the pandemic plan or an admission they don't have one. If the latter, start raising holy hell until they do. Offer to help write it-go to pandemicflu.gov.

Bottom line, always, ALWAYS trust your gut feeling.

It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.

Great insights
The ill family member is a middle school aged child.  This is the only known (to the local community) case in that family and was tested early in the week.  We do not know how the child that reported to school was tested, only that the child possessed a note from their family doctor stating that the child was asymptomatic and presumingly tested negative.  

As a further note there still has been zero communication from school officials, district officials or public health at this time.  The local paper, The Commercial Appeal is reporting this one case as an unidentified case that is a "suspect case" that is awaiting confirmation.

I am left to wonder after reports from NYC that once a cluster of cases is identified the testing to positively identify cases ceases once type A identification is completed.  Are these efforts to potentially deflate the numbers of cases designed to illicit a particular response from the general public?

Regardless, thanks for your response.

[ Parent ]
Can you sue
Can you sue (and win) if your child gets sick and dies in that situation?

To calm the wife buy cases of chocolate, to calm the husband buy cases of booze, and to calm the children...... heck the booze and chocolate should work.

Anyone can bring suit
I am sure it would get tossed.  Local officials would claim that the responsibility was the parents to ensure that their children were in a safe environment and potentially that public officials primary duty was to prevent a mass panic and disruption to governance.

[ Parent ]
Highlights Need for Return Policy (of infected or connected)
This issue will keep coming up in schools and businesses.

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

Excellent point.  Return to work & school policies are of primary importance.  Especially since so many organizations rely upon the attending physicians (PAC's & RNP's included) judgment.

[ Parent ]

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