Columbus public schools will continue to take steps to keep the H1N1 virus, better known as swine flu, away from students.
As of Thursday, the Mississippi State Department of Health had confirmed 292 cases of swine flu in the state, and seven in Lowndes County, since May 15.
Children, pregnant women and the elderly are most at risk for complications of the virus.
In early May, the Columbus Municipal School District received a letter from Hank Bounds, the state”s superintendent of education, containing directives for combating swine flu, said Janet Lewis, CMSD”s public information officer.
“You know, the first ones that came out were so deadly,” she said.
Back then, she said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were advising schools to close if a case of the virus had been confirmed or even suspected.
Things have changed since then, Lewis said, yet the school district will continue to take precautions the state”s Department of Education suggested.
Each classroom will have a container of hand sanitizer on premises, and custodial staff will make sure bathrooms remain stocked with soap and paper towels, Lewis said. And students will take lessons in cough etiquette.
“As always, school nurses will continue to stress the importance of exercising proper hygiene, encourage students and staff to stay home if sick, and to educate ourselves with all up to date information from the MSDH and CDC,” district nurse Sharon Reifers wrote in an e-mail.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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