Anuenue to community: 'relax and calm down'

Kaimi Kamauoha
Kaimi Kamauoha
Tara Kaui Fernandez
Tara Kaui Fernandez
Charles Naumu
Charles Naumu

By Leland Kim - bio | email

PALOLO VALLEY (KHNL) - Four new cases of swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, have been confirmed Tuesday morning by the state Department of Health. Two are pre-school students, one is a student at Anuenue School in Palolo Valley, and the fourth is an adult unrelated to anyone at Anuenue. There are now 30 confirmed swine flu cases in Hawaii.

Officials at Anuenue School tell us 137 students were absent today; 133 were absent yesterday. That's lower than Friday's high of more than 150 students calling in sick.

Anuenue School has about 350 students, so that means about a third are still out. We talked to students there, and they say they're doing just fine and people should stop overreacting to the situation.

Kids at Anuenue School continue their day as they've done all year long. Despite ten confirmed swine flu cases at the school, the vast majority are healthy and finishing up their academic year.

"It's not that bad out here," said Kaimi Kamauoha, a senior at Anuenue. "I still came to school every day and I'm not afraid of it because I think the school is clean."

"I think everybody should mellow out," added Tara Kaui Fernandez, also a senior at Anuenue School. "Our school is doing the best we can to prevent it, like we got handouts from our teachers last week notifying the parents about swine flu and what they can do to prevent it."

Principal Charles Naumu says he doesn't want his students getting caught up in the swine flu frenzy.

"We do have some concern, of course, of the safety and welfare and so forth, but we also have a job of educating the students as well," he said.

Students and staff members say they've had some negative reaction out in the community.

"They think we're all sick," said Fernandez. "They think like we all have it, like we're going to infect everyone else, like it's a serious disease. We don't (have it)."

"It's all over the island and that we should again, not blame anybody or pick on anybody," said Naumu.

All of Hawaii's 30 swine flu victims have or are recovering at home. In the U.S., less than ten people have died so far from the H1N1 virus. That's compared to more than 36,000 people who die from the common flu every year.

"I think everyone should relax and calm down because it's not that bad," said Kamauoha. "There was an outbreak here, but we should pull it together and just relax."

Some of the students who first got swine flu have recovered and are now back at school. Others are recovering at home and will come back once they fully recover.