Boston Latin School
Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced today that Boston Latin School will close for seven days starting tomorrow, May 20, because of unusually high levels of influenza-like illness in recent days. Mayor Menino said officials hope that the temporary closure will prevent new infections and avoid unnecessary illness. Classes are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, May 27.
Boston Public Health Commission authorities said Boston Latin School has a significant number of students absent with influenza like illness, based on a survey done by BPHC Monday night.
"I understand this is an inconvenience, but the well-being of our students, teachers and staff is our top priority," Mayor Menino said. “We didn’t make this decision lightly. We hope that this temporary closing will prevent new infections and avoid unnecessary illness.”
Officials from the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Public Schools concluded that having so many students sick not only impedes the learning environment but also makes it easier to transmit infection. Therefore, the decision was made to close the school for seven days after which time most types of flu are no longer contagious.
Some 260 students were absent from classes today– an increase of 60 students from the day before. On average, about 80 students are absent from classes at Boston Latin School on any given day. Boston Latin School serves nearly 2,400 students in grades 7 through 12. The first public school in America, Boston Latin School is one of three exam schools in the Boston Public Schools.
Boston Latin School families and staff are being notified about the temporary closure through an announcement at the school today, as well as an automated telephone call.
Dr. Carol R. Johnson, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools, spoke earlier today with Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, who assured the Superintendent that given these unusual circumstances, the state would be flexible in terms of the 180-day school year requirement, as well as rescheduling of MCAS exams taking place this week.
City officials are advising Boston Latin students and staff to stay at home for seven days and not to congregate at other sites. They also advise that those feeling ill follow up with their primary care provider. Persons without a primary care provider should call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.
To minimize the spread of illness, the Boston Public Health Commission urges the public to:
· Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Cover your cough with a tissue or cough into your inner elbow and not into your hands.
· If you are sick stay home from work and if your child is sick keep them home from school.
· Please contact your primary care physician or visit your local health center or hospital if you experience flu-like symptoms.
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) announced today that the Winsor School, a private girls’ school in the Longwood area, will close for seven days starting tomorrow, May 20, because of unusually high levels of influenza-like illness in recent days. Public health officials said they hope that the temporary closure will prevent new infections and avoid unnecessary illness.
The Boston Public Health Commission has been assessing the rates and causes of school absenteeism in Boston, and has been in close contact with the administration at the Winsor School. Over the past several days, the number of students absent due to flu-like illness has been unusually high. Today 34 students were absent from school. The school has 430 students enrolled in grades 5 through 12.
Those in the Winsor school community are being asked to refrain from all public activities during the seven day time period to help limit the spread of infection to others. School will re-open on May 27 for students, teachers, and staff who are not ill.
Anyone who develops flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, or fatigue should refrain from public activities for seven days after the onset of illness or for 24 hours after symptoms have resolved – whichever is longer.
Most people with influenza recover and do not require a specific medication against influenza. However, people who have other health problems such as lung disease (including asthma), heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, a compromised immune system or cancer, or who are pregnant should call their healthcare provider for advice. In addition, if someone who has medical problems or is pregnant and has very close contact with someone with influenza, they should check with their healthcare provider to see if they need preventive medicine.
BPHC recommends that everyone take the following steps to reduce their risk of illness:
• Cover your mouth when you cough, either with your sleeve or a tissue.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand waterless cleaners are also effective.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with a fever and cough or sore throat, stay home for at least 24 hours after all of your symptoms are gone or for seven days – whichever is longer.
• Stay away from clinics and hospitals unless you have severe symptoms, and notify your doctor or the clinic before you arrive, or as soon as you arrive, so that you can be appropriately isolated from others.