Poised to Combat Possible Swine Flu Resurgence


Floral Park Schools Are Prepared

As the school year kicks off in Floral Park, school officials are taking the necessary precautions but not overreacting to reports of a possible second round of swine flu.

Floral Park Memorial High School Principal Kathy Sottile told the Dispatch that she ordered supplies to help prevent germs from spreading, such as more hand sanitizer dispensers to supplement the ones already in place in the café.

Further, faculty and staff members have been educated/informed of prevention methods that they can apply to day-to-day school activities, including reminding students to wash, sneeze in their arm/sleeve rather than their hand and more.

“Anyone showing flu-like symptoms will be sent home immediately and will need a doctor’s note to return,” Principal Sottile said.

Dr. Lynn Pombonyo, superintendent of the Floral Park-Bellerose School District, which includes John Lewis Childs School and Floral Park-Bellerose School, in her opening day letter, said the district is utilizing the “most up-to-date preventative and response measures where the health of students and staff is concerned.”

Several of the measures are continuing from 2008-09, though the superintendent notes others are new. Karen Kalaf, RN, the district’s health coordinator (phone 327-9307 and 327-9317) has been attending and will continue to represent the district at regional school health conferences.

“Current information and recommendations will be shared with the administration, school nurses and other staff, as appropriate,” Superintendent Pombonyo said.

Student and staff absentee levels and related flu and flu-like symptoms will be monitored. Frequent hand-washing with soap and water will be emphasized in all classes, proper coughing and sneezing etiquette will be reinforced, regular green cleaning of the school’s common areas, including but not limited to door knobs, cafeteria tables, computer labs, gyms and alcohol-free hand sanitizers are being installed in the school’s computer labs to be used by students under close adult supervision upon entry and exit from the labs.

“We look forward to a healthy, positive and successful school year for all of our Floral Park-Bellerose School District students…” Superintendent Pombonyo closed the letter.

Sewanhaka District Superintendent Warren Meierdiercks said district officials are being vigilant but are not overreacting. Good personal hygiene is continually being stressed and the district is making wipes and towelettes available to students and staff.

Our Lady of Victory School parent Suzanne Lynn said she plans on having her three children, Emily, 8, OLV; Brigid 10, OLV; and Patrick, 14, Chaminade High School, vaccinated for flu this year and is stressing hand washing at home.

“Emily and Brigid have mini Purell bottles in their lunch boxes,” Lynn added. “I do know the school nurse has visited all of the classes since school re-opened, stressing hand-washing and sneezing/coughing protocol. Emily now sings the ABCs while washing her hands because of what the school nurse reinforced during her visit to Emily’s class.”


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