Hawaii schools respond to swine flu

Chantal Seitz
Chantal Seitz
Wendy Lagareta
Wendy Lagareta

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

KAIMUKI (KHNL) - Hawaii schools are on alert, keeping an extra keen eye on children.

Public, private, and charter schools say they are prepared to shut down, if necessary. But since there are no swine flu cases confirmed in Hawaii, for now, schools are arming students, parents and faculty with safety information.

Washing hands - it's basic hygiene 101, a simple lesson schools are reminding students of in light of the swine flu.

"We're also taking the extra precaution of having our janitorial staff extra disinfect the restrooms just in case," said Chantal Seitz, Dean of Students at Sacred Hearts Academy in Kaimuki.

At Sacred Hearts Academy's health room, staff members say the flow of children coming in is normal.

"There hasn't been a higher number of students being seen, but the little ones may come in with a sore throat saying, 'I think I have the swine flu', so we just have to tell them, 'come sit down'," said Seitz.

At Waialae Public Charter School -

"Nobody is overly alarmed," said Wendy Lagareta, Chief Educational Officer of Waialae School.

Lagareta and Seitz say it's important not to cause panic, that communication is key to protecting children.

"We've just been cautioning people to remember all the health and safety things they do on a normal basis like hand washing and staying home if you're sick," said Lagareta.

"With our parents, we sent them an email blast letting them know hey, this is some general information, please follow through with your daughters to make sure they're practicing good hygiene," said Seitz.

And teaching kids to outsmart germs, could prove most effective if an outbreak hits.

The Department of Education has pandemic guidelines in place. For example, if a large number of teachers are out sick, one strategy to maintain the continuity of education is to hold lessons online.