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More School Closures, Chancellor Meets with UFT on Swine Flu

Monday, May 18, 2009

Caren Criscupoli and Cathy Pagan, teachers at I.S. 73 in Maspeth where a higher than normal number of students have called in absent. The chancellor and union leaders visited Monday to discuss concerns about swine flu.

Caren Criscupoli and Cathy Pagan, teachers at I.S. 73 in Maspeth where a higher than normal number of students have called in absent. The chancellor and union leaders visited Monday to discuss concerns about swine flu.

The swine flu scare has led to the closure of 16 schools in New York City, in the wake of the first local H1N1 fatality. The city's Department of Education says four more schools were closed today, and they're all in Queens: P.S. 209 and the special education school P 9 in Whitestone, P.S. 19 in Corona, and P.S. 32 in Flushing. Saint David's, a private boys' school on the Upper East Side, added itself to the list, closing today after 10 to 12 percent of its student body was absent. City Health Commissioner Thomas Friedan says the H1N1 virus is spreading rapidly, particularly in Queens. He urged people to take precautions to prevent the ongoing spread of the disease.

'Please stay home if you have fever with either cough or sore throat. Don't let you children go to school with cough or sore throat. And cover your cough and wash you hands frequently.'

Teachers union president Randi Weingarten, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein with Councilman Eric Gioia at IS 73 in Maspeth Queens.

Teachers union president Randi Weingarten, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators president Ernest Logan and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein with Councilman Eric Gioia at IS 73 in Maspeth Queens.


As concerns of swine flu heighten, officials from the teachers union and the health department were at I.S. 73 today in Maspeth, Queens, where 329 students out 1,720 did not come to school today. Sixteen teachers were also out for the day.

Science teacher Cathy Pagan says the school is taking precautions.

'The custodians are making sure we have paper towels and soap in every bathroom so that children can constantly be washing as well as the teaches and we're just keeping on top of the situation and letting the staff know so nobody starts freaking out on us.'

Staffers were also calling families of absent students to check whether they were truly sick or staying home as a precaution. School officials say it's important to track how many students likely do have the flu as they determine which schools need to be closed to help control the spread of the virus.

Ernest Logan, who heads the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, says schools need to know if students are really sick, or just avoiding school as a precaution.

'If the child is just being kept home, we need them to call the school so then we'll know the reason there's a high absenteeism is because parents have kept children home. That's the critical piece for us. If we can get that message out then maybe we won't have the DOH coming out to places they don't need to.'

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Comments [11]

tara

close the schools to many people is moving around from place to [place and you can not guarantee my kids safety kids keep there hands in there mouth which is passing more germs.they play with the same toys they drink from the same water fountains its to much you need to make decisions thats right for the people and keep our kids safe

May. 25 2009 05:10 AM
fabian

they are closing the school.i got a call

May. 21 2009 05:18 PM
natasa

lmao look at ms pogon

May. 19 2009 08:33 PM
max fernandez

they should close the school and clean it sending kids home dont really affect the problem the germs are still in the school and the kids are just bringing the germs home

May. 19 2009 02:44 PM
student

Just close 73! there is no point in keeping us there! And mayor bloomberg should stop telling us to keep schools open when we all could die! does he want all the students to die and than what will happen? He should just close all schools across new york!

May. 19 2009 12:19 PM
parent

i think you should close the school because the child's life is in danger people don't want to get sick again what is wrong with you pepole

May. 19 2009 06:29 AM
student

Close the damn school
are you gonna wait for students to catch the flu

May. 18 2009 11:07 PM
tonya maybe ahaha

my school woooooh ! :D

May. 18 2009 08:59 PM
concerned

why is this school still open when they have a higher number of students and teachers sick than some of the closed schools? helllloooooo

May. 18 2009 07:08 PM
David

The school system is sitting on the real absentee numbers which are far higher than reported to the media by officials (who were mistakenly hoping the outbreak would subside) looking at the cost in federal monies that are based on attendance. They now have a major outbreak on their hands and will have to close more schools than are listed in this report. Why do these "journalists" not do their job and get to the real story, and not question what they are told?

May. 18 2009 04:11 PM
concerned parent

This all started at this school on Friday ... maybe the school should have sent home some sort of procedure for parents to follow in the event of a child getting sick over the weekend ... instead you have 329 kids out today and NO one knows why ... so instead lets drive parents crazy with the WHAT IF game ...

May. 18 2009 02:53 PM

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