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No more total school shutdown – DoH

Posted on: June 25, 2009

No more total school shutdown – DoH

INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:05:00 06/25/2009

Filed Under: Education, Health, Diseases, Swine Flu

MANILA, Philippines – Instead of shutting down entire schools, the Department of Health (DoH) said school officials should suspend only the specific classes and offices attended by students or personnel who have Influenza A(H1N1).

The guidelines for the suspension of classes were revised so that classes or offices not attended by the A(H1N1) cases would not be disrupted unnecessarily, said Doctor Asuncion Maderazo-Anden, director of the National Center of Health and Promotion of the Department of Health (DoH).

“The DoH is revising its previous guideline that schools should close for 10 days when at least one of its students test positive for the virus. Instead, suspension of classes will have to be evaluated based on the school setup or physical configuration and mainly include the classes attended by the confirmed case,” Anden said.

“Since the implementation of A(H1N1) guidelines for schools on June 1, DoH have seen that there is no one-size-fits-all formula to contain the virus or stop its spread in the school, every school has its own configuration or setup,” said Anden.

Anden said the suspension of classes in an entire school could work for clustered and air-conditioned buildings such as De La Salle University in Manila, the first school in the capital to report an A(H1N1) case but not in schools with buildings that are spread on campus like the University of the Philippines-Diliman, which has also reported several cases.

According to the guidelines, there is no need to suspend classes in schools located in a community outbreak area except when severe cases are involved, as determined by the DoH, Anden said.

Reverse isolation can also be adopted wherein students and school employees in areas without a community outbreak will be advised to stay home until the number of people with flu symptoms are reduced, or require them to wear face masks.

Since May, 116 student students in 51 schools, mostly located in Metro Manila, have tested positive for A(H1N1), the Department of Education (DepEd) said.

On Thursday, the DoH confirmed 123 new cases of A(H1N1), bringing the total to 727, of which, 536 have recovered since the first case was confirmed last May.
Anna Valmero

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