Anuenue School prepared for fall flu season, swine flu

Leialoha Tani
Leialoha Tani
Principal Charles Naumu
Principal Charles Naumu
Kaimi Johnson
Kaimi Johnson

By Leland Kim - bio | email

PALOLO VALLEY (KHNL) - Anuenue School in Palolo Valley was the hardest hit, with the most swine flu cases in Hawaii schools this past spring. With regular flu season just around the corner, are they ready for it?

Swine flu has been a major educational experience for everyone at the school. The principal has been very proactive in making sure the campus is as clean as possible. And with other steps he took over the summer, it may be the most prepared school in the state.

Students at Anuenue School enjoy recess during their first full week back in school. They're ready to tackle another academic year.

"It's good," said Leialoha Tani, a 16-year-old student at Anuenue. "It's the start of senior year so it's fun."

The mood on campus is much more upbeat than it was in the spring when it had 11 swine flu cases, the most of any school in the state.

"I think because it started off at Anuenue, we've become really prepared," said Tani. "And that's really good for the haumana (students), and for their parents to know that it is a safe place to be."

Principal Charles Naumu has been busy staying on top of swine flu. He's improved the school's sanitation and hygiene policies, and passed on new health information to parents.

"Since that time as the flu has progressed, I was trying to make this school better prepared as it went around the state and around the world," he said.

One of the things the school has done is install motion activated paper towel dispensers. This helps reduce the spread of germs by minimizing direct contact.

And the entire campus, including the cafeteria, was professionally sanitized over the summer.

"I feel safe and comfortable, that we're ready for whatever comes our way," said Kaimi Johnson, a 17-year-old student at Anuenue.

He is coming back for his senior year, and after recovering from swine flu.

"My body felt really dehydrated and weak, coughing and a lot of congestion," said Johnson. "I just wasn't feeling myself, just wasn't active as I usually am, just tired all the time."

He followed doctor's orders and recovered at home while taking Tamiflu.

"I took my medicine for one day and the next day I felt way better," said Johnson. "So I just kept taking my medicine and back to normal again."

And back to normal seems to be the mindset of many Anuenue parents. Enrollment is up seven percent from a year ago, from 350 to 373 students.

"I'm hoping that things will just keep getting better," said Johnson. "We're prepared now, so we can prevent other people from getting it."

The school has already signed up for the flu shot program, which should start in a couple of months. They are also looking into getting swine flu vaccines as well.

Principal Naumu suggested people start putting together "flu kits" similar to "hurricane kits" where people stock up on food and supplies for ten days, just in case.