Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

H1N1 Virus Leads to Precautionary Closing of Two Indianapolis Schools

As a precautionary measure, the Marion County Health Department has closed Indianapolis Public School 60 and Spring Mill Elementary School after a student in each school had a confirmed case of HINI influenza, commonly called the Swine Flu.

The closings become effective immediately, and the schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday, May 11. Along with the school closings, the health department has asked that all school related activities be postponed.

"We understand the significance of this decision and the impact it has on parents, students, teachers and school staff. We are doing this out of an abundance of caution and because we believe students in both schools are at a higher risk for developing the flu," said Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director, Marion County Health Department.

"We ask parents and guardians to keep their students at home and not allow them to congregate with other children during this time," said Dr. Caine.

Parents and guardians are being asked to monitor the health of their children. Fever over 100 degrees, coughing and sore throat are key indicators to this flu. Fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also symptoms.

When school resumes May 11, students will be required to have a parent-signed school re-entry form, stating that their child is healthy. The child will not be permitted to return to school without the completed form.

The health department and schools sent letters home with students outlining the school closings.

To answer non-emergency questions, the health department's (317) 221-3366 Flu Helpline will be open today (Friday) until 7 p.m. and available Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. to answer calls. The Helpline also will be operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday of next week. English and Spanish speaking nurses and health educators will be available to answer calls. Those calling between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. will have their calls returned the next day. The health department's Web site, www.mchd.com, also has flu related information.

The Marion County Health Department, City of Indianapolis and Indiana State Department of Health are working cooperatively and share excellent resources to respond to the flu outbreak.

"There is a role for all of us to play. All of us need to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves, and others, to lower the risk of transmission. This includes a willingness to change routines and rituals. This is a community concern, and as a community we will need to continue working together," said Dr. Caine.

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