Letter from Mary Ryncheck on H1N1 Virus
Tuesday, May 05, 2009 12:20 PM

May 5, 2009

Dear Families,

     As you all know, Emerson School was to be closed this week for health safety. This decision was made as information came forward during this past weekend. As of Monday afternoon, May 4th, the Minnesota State Department of Health (MDH) has revised the policy regarding the H1N1 influenza (formerly known as “Swine Flu”). H1N1 has been downgraded to a level #1, that of usual seasonal influenza. Schools will no longer be closed because someone was diagnosed with H1N1. The students of Emerson will return to school Wednesday.


     Today we received information that one of our students at upper campus has been confirmed positive with the H1N1 influenza. The symptoms were a fever, coughing, lack of energy and a sore throat. The mother took the child to the doctor. The student will be home from school for four to five more days and return when well.


  Per MDH guidelines, students or staff with influenza-like illness should stay home and not attend school for at least 7 days even if their symptoms resolve sooner.  If after 7 days, the student or staff continues to have acute symptoms, he or she should stay home until 24 hours after these symptoms resolve.


The H1N1 virus is typically not spread through touching surfaces like handles, keyboards, desks, etc.  It is spread by human droplets, airborne primarily through unprotected coughing. Coughing into the upper arm or into a tissue is important for good health practices at all times.  Frequently washing hands is always an important health practice. We have placed information about the H1N1 on our school web site under the health services section. You can become more informed about H1N1 with current and correct information from reading the information on our web page.


    Although the H1N1 has been prominent in the media for the past month, it has not become the pandemic once feared. Diagnosed cases have not spread at rates greater than other seasonal flu.  Patients’ reaction to H1N1 more closely mirrored other seasonal influenza symptoms and duration. With the positive confirmation of our student, there should be no greater reason to feel panic or fear than you would have any other year with the flu bugs that circulate each fall and spring.


     If you have questions, you may call me or our school nurse or your doctor. If your child is not feeling well and has a temperature, call your doctor. Keep your child home until he/she feels better. If children come to school ill we will need to bring them back home. We take the health and safety of your children very seriously. We have currently asked classroom teachers to have the children wash their hands more frequently and practice coughing and sneezing correctly. I am attaching a copy of the new Minnesota Department of Health information regarding the H1N1 and school settings.

Mary Rynchek

For additional information, see the following websites:
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Minnesota Department of Health
MPS website.