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Schools on swine flu ‘watch list’

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city Health Department has placed several Brooklyn schools on a “watch list.”

Officials are tracking the number of students visiting the school nurse to determine how many children have influenza−like illnesses — and could possibly develop swine flu, also known as H1N1.

On that watch list are two local schools — P.S. 11, 419 Waverly Avenue, and P.S. 146, 610 Henry Street.

According to Health Department data, both schools have had one case of a student visiting the school nurse with influenza−like symptoms.

However, the schools say there’s no reason to be alarmed.

“We’re fine,” insisted P.S. 11 Principal Alonta Wrighton. “Most of our cases have been allergies, asthma, the regular flu that we would normally get. Other than that, nothing else.”

P.S. 146 Principal Anna Allanbrook said many students were sick in recent weeks but the number of students with illnesses has decreased.

“A lot of children have been out with fevers recently. But not enough to close the school,” she said.

In speaking to parents, “None of them said [their children] have swine flu,” Allanbrook said.

Neither school is expected to be closed for a top−to−bottom cleaning prior to the last day of classes, which is June 26.

According to the city Department of Education (DOE), a public school can be closed only if health officials give the green light.

“We monitor the school and we consult with the Department of Health,” DOE spokesperson Margie Feinberg said. “We take this matter very seriously. We look at absentees and the Department of Health analyzes the illnesses of the students who are sick and they make a recommendation to the chancellor and the chancellor makes a decision.”

The Health Department says one case of influenza−like illnesses isn’t enough to close a school.

“There’s no cookie−cutter criteria,” a rep said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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