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St. Francis Prep, Center of NYC Swine Flu Outbreak, Reopens

Monday, May 04, 2009

It's back to school day for students at St. Francis Preparatory School. Mayor Bloomberg and other officials were on hand to welcome the students returning to the Queens parochial school, which closed last week after 45 students came down with confirmed cases of swine flu. All of the cases have been mild.

Speaking through the school's public address system, Bloomberg thanked the students for their patience, adding, "It's always good to be back with your friends and back to studying."

WNYC reporter Arun Venugopal told host Richard Hake that students say they're ready to be back to school - and to put the media circus behind them:

Also opening today: St. Brigid's, Good Shepherd and Bishop Kearney High School, all in Brooklyn. PS 177 in Queens will re-open on Wednesday.

Even as St. Francis reopened, newly confirmed infections and school closures were reported around New York and in other states. Health officials in Syracuse said Sunday that the city's Ed Smith Elementary School would close for a week because of a probable case of swine flu involving a student with a connection to St. Francis. That brings the total number of "probable or confirmed" cases of the illness outside of New York City to 17, according to state health officials.

And the Deer Park Union Free School District on Long Island announced Saturday it was closing six of its schools until May 10 because three students likely have swine flu. The students don't appear to have any connection to St. Francis and haven't recently traveled to Mexico, where the swine flu may have originated, according to a county health commissioner.

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