The Effingham County School System used an automated calling system to inform employees and parents of the possibility of H1N1 in the schools.
In the message sent by Superintendent Randy Shearouse, he informed interested parties that there have been no cases confirmed by the Center for Disease Control or the Health Department, but some physicians have indicated the probability of patients with the disease.
“The Health Department is not even testing for H1N1 or the CDC’s not, unless someone is hospitalized. Then they test for it,” he said.
Shearouse said private doctors may send tests off for diagnosis, or they may choose not to because of the costs.
He said system officials are concerned that if a student must miss a week of class now, and then the seasonal flu hits if the same students must miss again there is a concern for attendance. There is also a concern that if a large number of faculty members were to contract the flu would there be enough staff to cover those absences.
“Hopefully the strain will stay mild,” Shearouse said.
He said Marsha Cornell, nursing coordinator, has told him the worst part about H1N1 is that it is a new strain and will spread rapidly.
The announcement said the symptoms of H1N1 are similar to seasonal flu, including fever, body aches, fatigue and cough. Preventative steps for the spread of the virus are to wash hands frequently, cover mouths for coughs and sneezes and to stay home when sick.
The system has asked the staff and students who are ill stay home until they have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine.
There is more information about H1N1 at the school system’s Web site www.effinghamschools.com.