Schools to notify parents about H1N1 outbreaks - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Schools to notify parents about H1N1 outbreaks

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School districts throughout the county are revamping their H1N1 virus procedures. San Diego Unified, the area's largest school district, has adopted new guidelines as recommended by the county - namely that parents will now be notified in the event of an outbreak.

Becky Clark calls herself a proactive parent. She's trying to stay one step ahead of the swine flu. The mother of two says she's happy to hear local school districts are following suit.

"I think it's great because parents need to know we send our kids there trusting the school that they will take care of the ones we love the most," Becky said.

And to reinforce they care, San Diego schools are using their communication skills. School districts throughout the county, including San Diego Unified, will now let parents know when there has been an H1N1 outbreak.

"If you have more than 20 percent of the school or class that has influenza symptoms they would call that an outbreak," San Diego Unified medical consultant Dr. Howard Taras said.

Doctor Taras says they now have new guidelines and procedures in place.

"The data of absenteeism is collected and electronically sent to the county," he said.

That information will then be analyzed by the county to see if there's a spike in absenteeism. Once it's determined there are a high number of flu-like illnesses, an outbreak is called, which means parents still have to be vigilant about keeping their sick kids at home until they are fever-free for 24 hours.

Doctor Taras reminds parents things may constantly change as we learn more about the swine flu, so it's important to be ready for change.

"As we learn more about the virus, things could change month by month. We have to listen to our public health, we have to be ready to change our recommendations as they come down from public health," Dr. Taras said.

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