School boards easing up on pandemic precautions
PORT HASTINGS — With few reports of flu-like illness in the community, Cape Breton school boards are easing up on some of their H1N1 pandemic precautions.
Jack Beaton, superintendent of the Strait Regional School Board, said that in consultation with Public Health, the decision was made to suspend its pandemic plan.
“ We can activate it if need be, but at this point we’re suspending it ... it’s business as usual.
Beaton and Charles Sheppard, co-ordinator of school services with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School board, noted schools in both regions are back to normal attendance patterns.
“ We still have the plan, we still take attendance, but there have been no major concerns (recently),” Sheppard said. “Everything’s back to regular.”
At the peak of the swine flu outbreak in early November, absenteeism at the Strait board was in the 30 per cent range, Beaton said. Sheppard didn’t have a figure immediately available for Cape Breton-Victoria. Beaton had raised a concern about parents keeping their children home from classes as a preventative measure, so that they wouldn’t get sick.
Beaton noted it’s standard for school boards to report to Public Health if there are high occurrences of any illness.
“ We report to Public Health and they provide advice to us regarding additional steps that we should be taking,” he said.
Sheppard said his board is also in regular contact with that agency, although it is not currently as intensive as when the outbreak first occurred locally. He noted the level of illness locally never became serious enough that schools were forced to close.