Local schools respond to swine flu scare

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 First at Five, April 28, 2009

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Local schools are responding to a swine flu scare. MCG Health has decided to do selective testing. The Richmond County School system is also stepping up its watch for swine flu. They held a news briefing Tuesday.

Bessie Sims took her son home from Tubman Middle School after he complained of a sore throat.

"Call me and I'm there," said Bessie. "That's all they have to do."

No one is taking any chances as swine flu pops up across the country.

"When I send my child to school," said Bessie. "They're in their hands as if they are still in my hands. I trust Tubman 100 percent."

The Richmond County School system is looking to maintain that trust by holding a news briefing.

"We want to be very aware," said Carol Rountree who is director of student services. "We want to make our population alert."

They're announcing plans to monitor reports of flu like symptoms.

"Everyone will be looking for symptoms at the same time," said Rountree. "They will be informed as to what they are looking for."

There are more than 30,000 students in Richmond County Schools. If visit the school clinic with a temperature of more than 101 degrees they will be sent home.

"If they don't have a temperature then that is up to the parent whether or not they want to pick them" said school nurse Juanita Taylor. "If they have a temperature they have to go home."

Taylor says she knows exactly what to look for.

"You can tell if they feel sick," said Taylor. "We are going to take their temperature if they come."

Bessie's not complaining.

"I know Tubman is going to take care of our children as if they were their children."

We can't say it enough. Everyone is asked to wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home if you feel sick.

MCG Hospital will do selective testing for swine flu. The Pandemic Flu Planning Committee made the call early Tuesday. You cannot request the test. They only have a limited number. These are rapid test that could give results within 20 minutes. There are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Georgia.

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