School boards eas­ing up on pan­demic pre­cau­tions

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS/WEATHER - BY NANCY KING nk­ing@cb­post.com

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.

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