Nc'town schools issue H1N1 flu precautions

Due to the heighten awareness about H1N1, the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District has been taking extra precautions to help fight the spread of germs in the school system.

At this time, they have no confirmed cases of H1N1. They have stepped up the disinfecting of the buildings.

If your child has a fever, keep them home at least 24 hours after they have been fever free without medication. If they have siblings that also go to school and they do not have a fever, then they should attend school.

The school district has been in contact with the Tuscarawas County Health Department and are reporting their numbers daily. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), Ohio Department of Health and Tuscarawas County Department of Health have encouraged school districts not to close school. The school district is monitoring the situation closely and will strive to do what is best for your children. If you have additional questions, contact the school nurse.

The following information is what parents and schools can do to work together to recognize and balance the risks of illness among students and staff with the benefits of keeping students in school.

Basic Rule No. 1

Based on current flu conditions, students and staff with flu-like illness should stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever. This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen). Example: Your child is sick in the night with a fever over 100 F. You give them a fever reducer. The fever comes down by 7 a.m. to 99.

Do not send them to school if it took a fever reducer to bring the fever down. They are still contagious and should stay home until the fever is below 100.0 F for 24 hours without fever reducers.

Basic Rule No. 2

Practice good hand hygiene. Students and staff members should wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Encourage your child to wash their hands frequently. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective if they contain 60 percent alcohol but use soap and water if available. Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to keep your hands from spreading the virus. The school is conducting training sessions with the students to encourage good hand hygiene.

Basic Rule No. 3

Practice respiratory etiquette. The main way that the flu spreads is from person to person in the droplets produced by coughs and sneezes so it's important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands. Then, wash your hands.

The CDC high encourages parents to consider the vaccination of all children from 5 years to 24 years. Each parent needs to weigh the advantages of prevention against the risks of complications.

For additional and detailed information on the H1N1 flu, visit www.flu.gov.

(Editor's Note: The information above was taken directly from the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District Web site, www.nctschools.org.)