Kelley Weiss/Capital Public Radio News
Nurses and teachers are gearing up to keep students healthy as they go back to school. They’re worried about the swine flu or H1N1 virus. It surfaced in kids’ camps over the summer and is still circulating. That’s uncommon for a flu virus.
Melinda Wilson has been a teacher at Folsom High School for almost 20 years. And now she’s asking for new supplies to stock her classroom.
"This year I’m adding to the list bottles of Purell for the kids.”
Wilson wants the hand sanitizer because of the new H1N1 virus that hit in the spring. Plus she has a new cleaning regimen.
“I was in getting my room ready and spent two days scrubbing down all the surfaces, all the desktops, and my TAs who used to do that when they had time, it’s become, it’ll be one of their weekly chores.”
Down the hall, as part of a routine exam, veteran nurse MaryAnn Delleney, takes a student’s temperature.
“Alright so let’s put this under your tongue, and lift your tongue up, okay...”
A freshman girl says she has a stomach ache. Delleney asks the student if she has asthma, and in fact she does.
“Well kids with asthma really need to be real careful, we’re in the midst of looking at swine flu virus, right, so if you become short of breath or you have difficulty breathing or your asthma gets really bad you’ll want to see your physician, ok?”
Since April, the Folsom Cordova Unified School District has seen a number of confirmed cases of swine flu. One actually surfaced on the first day of school, earlier this month. Delleney says this is another sign it’s a novel flu virus.
“We are concerned that the virus itself may mutate and become more severe um this fall. We don’t know what’s going to happen with it and in that case we need to be prepared for the worst case scenario, which, uh, we certainly are preparing for.”
Administrative assistant Sherrie Graston watches students walk to their next class. Her son, Dillon, is a junior here. She says she’s not caught up in the hype about swine flu even though her son’s at high risk of getting the virus. And, how’s Dillon feeling?
Graston: “He is aware of it and teachers are talking about it. So I feel really good about that.”
Weiss: “So it’s on the radar of the kids, but you don’t get the sense from your son that he’s really scared about it?”
Graston: “No, no, he’s real nonchalant, real casual about it.”
But Graston says not so casual that’s he’s not using that hand sanitizer popping up in all the classrooms.