Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine Flu

The swine flu has come at last to Seattle, and the entire school is in a panic. Me, I'm not terribly worried about it. There's been one US death so far: all other suspected cases appear to be progressing fine (probably due to the benefits of health care). Our biggest problem is going to be when it hits the Seattle homeless population, a group with no access to healthcare and a healthy suspicion of city services.

In the mean time, schools are closing down and other schools are enacting quarantine rules for students with a fever and aches or a cough. These students will be required to call home and will sit in the office with a mask until picked up. They will also be physically separated in different rooms from students who come to the nurse for different reasons. Teachers in our district are now required to have students wash their hands before eating. The school has ordered a large supply of hand sanitizer for each classroom with money we don't have. All desks, chairs and door handles must be wiped down with antibacterial wipes each day. Communal items such as tape, staplers, the salad dressing pumps in the cafeteria, etc should be wiped down with wipes as regularly as possible.

I didn't even think about it at the time, but the 8th grade science teacher Daniel brought up that viruses laugh at antibacterials. Antibacterials kill bacteria admirably, but not viruses.

I'l still comply with the rules because I understand our district has to do this. If a student transmitted swine flu to even one other student in our school and it came out we had taken no precautions, we'd get our knickers sued off. Still, it seems like an overreaction to me: kids are called "germ wagons" for a reason. If swine flu makes it to our school and it turns out that it has the normal flu's human-human transmission rate, most of us are going to get it.

1 comment:

IronChuck said...

Fear not the "Bacon Lung Syndrome"... It's mostly all hype.

On the plus side, the butcher is having an awesome sale on pork loins this week!