Thursday, May 14, 2009


Must be that ole paranoia kicking in, but I'm suspecting a major cover-up over this swine flu mess. The city has just announced the closure of three schools following outbreaks of the disease. One AP is in critical condition and on a ventilator. According to the Times: Swine flu has been documented in four other students at I.S. 238, at 88-15 182nd Street, and more than 50 students with flu-like symptoms have been sent home from the school since May 6, the mayor said.

I don't know about your school, but in mine (also located in Queens), far more than 50 students have been sent home for flu-like symptoms in the past two weeks. There have been days when almost a third of my students have been out sick--and these are classes that normally have 100% attendance, or at most one or two students out at a time. These students were ill for an extended period of time--many of them for more than a week. Some had not missed a single day of school prior to this outbreak.

I'm not terribly worried at this point, because the worst seems to be over, and I've single-handedly boosted the bottom line of the Purell company. Still, I don't like this feeling that we're being lied to, and that this virus is far more widespread than any of us know. For a short period of time, when the students at my school were concerned about the virus, they stopped the usual teenage habits, such as kissing and hugging in the hallways. Many brought their own hand sanitizers, and students were suddenly concerned about covering their mouths when they coughed. That's all over now, and students have been dropping like flies.

So is there a cover-up, a Swine Flu-Gate, if you will? I don't know. But I sure don't trust the Bloomberg administration to close schools, not when they refused to close them after the biggest snowstorm in NY history.

Any flu stories out there? Has your school's attendance been affected, and what have you been told?

1 comment:

17 (really 15) more years said...

I'm not sure if my school is actively engaged in a cover up, or if it's the parents. But the statistics in my little Queens school are similar to yours- we just don't have bad attendance, and my classes have averaged 3-4 kids absent a day; most of them have been abset all week. The worst class had 8 out of 27 absent-and a third of them have siblings that attend St. Francis Prep. One of the girls (who was out sick for a week and whose sister was in Mexico for her Prep senior trip) admitted to having the flu but claimed it wasn't swine flu. I just don't believe it.

I'm curious to see our overall stats for this week on the DOE website- we generally have 95% daily attendance, I'll betting it'll be quite a bit below that.

What I don't understand- why aren't school nurses monitoring the degree of absenteeism?