District administrators continue to monitor new developments relating to the H1N1 influenza virus. They are also receiving regular updates from the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education. More information has become available since the initial cases that were reported last week.
At this point, Wayzata Public Schools does not have any probable cases of the H1N1 virus. The school health offices will continue to monitor students for symptoms of influenza and will take appropriate steps should a case be confirmed in a person connected to our schools.
The guidelines about school closures related to the H1N1 virus have also evolved. Last week, the Minnesota Department of Health recommended that schools with a probable case of H1N1 virus should close for seven to fourteen days. Because the flu symptoms have not been as serious as previously expected, the department is now recommending more of a measured response while considering the severity and number of flu cases in a particular school or district.
An alternative approach being recommended now is one where students and staff members stay home from school or work for at least seven days if they become ill with the flu. It is still possible, however, that it may become necessary to close a school for several days. Because of this, we encourage parents to develop a contingency plan for their children if school is cancelled. This type of pre-planning will make it easier for families if schools are closed.
The Minnesota Department of Health has asked all school districts to more closely monitor student and staff member absences. The department will use this information to determine the progression of the H1N1 virus. Staff from the school health offices may call parents when a student is absent to check to see if the student has symptoms similar to the flu virus. This information will help the district and the state make future decisions on managing this and other flu viruses.