Government announces Swine Flu guidelines for schools - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Government announces Swine Flu guidelines for schools

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WASHINGTON. - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised administrators Friday that they should do all they can not to close schools if there's another outbreak of Swine Flu this fall. 

The new guidelines also include a "Plan B" if the virus comes back stronger than expected.

Health officials say we're probably still weeks away from knowing how bad the H1N1 virus will be.

That's because most schools haven't started yet and that's when they expect the virus to start spreading.

The CDC's not recommending extra cleaning, but they did tell schools today that if Swine Flu hits again this fall to have masks on hand, isolate sick students and staff and send them home.

Very few schools should have to close.

"It is now clear that closure of schools is rarely indicated, even if H1N1 is in the school," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.

Officials now recommend sick students stay home only one day after they're well and not a whole week, unless the virus gets worse.

In that case, kids with chronic illnesses, or sick family members, may have to stay home.

Schools may screen students and turn them away, move desks further apart, even hold classes outside to prevent the virus from spreading.

Fairfax County, Virginia and other districts are preparing online lessons in case schools close.

"If we have families without Internet access, we want to make sure have packets of materials ready that could come to the school and pick those up," says Fairfax County Schools spokesperson Kim Dockery.

Schools are also preparing to host public health clinics, to vaccinate students on site.

"Whether or not they are in school or not, or whether or not the school closes, our students have to keep learning," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Clinical trials of the vaccine are underway.

The trials will determine if two shots, three weeks apart, will work.

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