School tells all Pri 5 students to stay home after many fall sick

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Flu Watch
School tells all Pri 5 students to stay home after many fall sick
No known H1N1 cases, but pupils asked to use e-learning system instead
THE entire Primary 5 cohort at Si Ling Primary School was asked to stay home yesterday.
26 July 2009

THE entire Primary 5 cohort at Si Ling Primary School was asked to stay home yesterday.

And they won’t be going to school on Monday either.

A Si Ling Primary School spokesman told The New Paper that ‘about six pupils’ in each of its 11 classes have taken medical leave since early this week, some for ‘influenza-like illnesses’.

Si Ling has kicked in its home-based learning management system for the two days ‘to continue with teaching and learning.’

First since outbreak

It is understood to be the first school to shut down an entire level since the outbreak of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

Earlier, Westwood Secondary and Presbyterian High School had remained closed for another week after the June holidays because of the flu bug.

Si Ling said that it had no H1N1 case reported. But not all flu patients here are tested for H1N1 because the bug has already spread into the community.

One of the Primary 5 students who fell ill, Mary (not her real name), told The New Paper that she and four classmates realised they had a fever at the end of Monday. Mary was given three days’ MC after seeing a doctor.

She was not tested for H1N1.

Mary’s mother 37, a preschool teacher, said: ‘The teacher told me on Tuesday that only 18 out of 41 students had come for class that day. The teacher also said that she’d come down with a fever.’

On Wednesday and Thursday, the school conducted its immunisation exercise for Primary 5 pupils.

Some students developed a fever after the immunisation.

Associate Professor Daniel Goh, Senior Consultant at University Children’s Medical Institute, National University Hospital, said that the ‘Diptheria and Tetanus vaccine booster’ given to Primary 5 students can cause a fever a day or two after.

About three to 25 per cent of those given the vaccine report getting a fever after that, he said.

But he added that the fever is usually mild, lasting only a day or two, and nothing to be worried about. It usually does not come with other flu symptoms.

‘The absence of flu symptoms (like runny nose or cough),’ he said, ‘distinguishes it from H1N1 infection.’

Parents informed

On Wednesday, the school called parents to inform them that their children need not go to school on Friday and Monday.

The school kicked in its learning management programme, which was already in place for those on MC, from yesterday.

For those who have fallen ill, it has been a trying time. The past few days, said Mary, have been ‘miserable.’

‘All I do is stay at home and watch TV or sleep,’ she said.

‘I feel tired all the time.’

Worried about infecting her 8-month-old baby brother, she confined herself to her bedroom.

Whenever she left her room for the toilet, or to take her medicine, she had to put on her mask.

Said Mary’s mother: ‘We were scared that it might be H1N1, and her baby brother is only eight months old.’

Yesterday was the first time the students were learning from home.

Some found it confusing at first.

The Primary 5 students logged on yesterday morning to attempt a series of multiple-choice quizzes for each subject, English, Maths, Science and Mother Tongue.

Mary said: ‘At first we couldn’t find some of the subjects in the e-learning system. One of my classmates called me for help.’

But in the end, she said, they managed to finish the quizzes without a glitch.

The Si Ling spokesman noted that the school had also given hard copies of the questions to the few who could not log on to the system from home.

The spokesman said that the school will ‘continue to be vigilant and remind our students to practise good personal hygiene and social responsibility to see a doctor and rest at home when they are unwell.’

– Han Yongming, newsroom intern.

Ministry: Test for H1N1 only if…

SCHOOLS will continue to remain vigilant to slow the spread of the H1N1 virus, said a spokesman for the Education Ministry.

The spokesman said MOH has revised its approach in tracking H1N1 cases, testing suspected cases only when there is a clinical indication (e.g. severely ill patients).

For patients with influenza-like illness who do not require hospitalisation and are not likely to be tested for H1N1, doctors will issue medical certificates (MC) of up to seven days for staff and students above 12years old, and up to 10 days for children aged 12 years and below.

If a significant number of students in a class are issued MCs due to influenza-like illnesses, the school will consider taking precautionary measures, such as segregating the class into groups or temporarily suspending lessons. The students will be provided with home-based learning lessons or attend make-up lessons when they return to school.

Schools screen students, staff and visitors for fever and flu-like symptoms.

They will continue to keep their premises clean and educate students to maintain high standards of personal hygiene and exercise social responsibility.

Schools also adopt the necessary precautionary measures for mass activities.

H1N1 case at Coral Primary

CORAL Primary’s principal Eric Leong told The New Paper that a Primary 5 student tested positive for the H1N1 virus on Wednesday.

Mr Leong said the student was fine when he came to school on Monday, but saw a doctor on Tuesday after he started coughing.

The boy is now recovering at home.

The school is in touch with his family. Staff and students in his class who were in close contact with him will be staying home for seven days. Some have seen a doctor and have been given MCs.

No one else tested positive for H1N1, said the school.

Affected students can log on to the school’s e-learning system from home.

The school’s system allows for teachers to stay in touch with and monitor those at home. As for the other Primary 5 students, said Mr Leong, it’s class as usual in school.

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One Response to “School tells all Pri 5 students to stay home after many fall sick”

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