Precautions in place in schools
SCHOOLS have once again stepped up their swine flu prevention measures, after the latest outbreak. It had been feared that the return to school in January would lead to a spike in cases.
Michael Finn, principal of Gorey Community School, Ireland's largest school, said they are on alert, but have had no reports of any suspect cases yet.
'Luckily we've got the system in place that we had for September 2009,' he said. 'We just put those systems back in place.'
' We're ensuring the students are reminded and educated about the appropriate behaviour,' he added.
These basic prevention measures include sneezing into tissues and disposing of them; washing hands; and the use of hand sanitiser dispensers.
He said the school has had hand dispensers available in all public areas and in the toilets up to now, and has placed them in new areas of the school as well.
'We've had no reports of anyone ill yet, but given the number of people here, it's only a matter of time,' he said. We're on alert as we were in September 2009 to see if there are any students exhibiting symptoms.'
''Part of the problem is there could be students at home with a cold and it could be swine flu,' he said. 'We had three weeks off over Christmas and when you have a large number of people in one building, it can be a bit of a breeding ground, so you have to be careful.'
He added that the Department of Education has issued guidelines to schools on what steps to take. 'These are good because they give you something concrete to go on,' he said.
He added that the swine flu advice posters had remained in place in the school since the last outbreak. 'We're asking the teachers of SPHE, and teachers generally, to remind students in their classes, of the appropriate behaviour,' he said.