Swine flu in Sidmouth school

LETTERS have been sent to parents of pupils at Sidmouth s junior school this week advising of the return of swine flu to the town.

LETTERS have been sent to parents of pupils at Sidmouth's junior school this week advising of the return of swine flu to the town.

Paul Walker, head of St Nicholas Junior School, said parents need not be unduly concerned as most children were experiencing only "minor symptoms."

He writes: "Swine flu has been circulating in our communities for some time now and although unpleasant, it is a mild disease and the vast majority of people who contract it, including children, experience only minor symptoms."

He said schools and nurseries were only likely to close in exceptional circumstances "or if safe staffing levels are not possible due to illness."

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Current national advice is to continue "with business as usual" and he asked parents to support the school over this.

Yesterday (Thursday) a staff member said: "Yesterday we had four out of 343 pupils absent."

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She said a number at school had been diagnosed with swine flu but none had had blood tests.

"They are just parents' diagnoses," she said.

Swine flu symptoms are similar to those of a cold, such as headaches, high temperature, vomiting and aching body, so some pupils may not even have it.

Mr Walker's advice - the same as that issued to other Devon schools - is to send in children not showing signs of the illness.

"However," he adds, "children who have symptoms of flu-like illness should stay away from school and, as far as possible, not mix with others until they have recovered and are free of symptoms."

This will avoid spreading the infection. If siblings of ill children have no symptoms they are advised to go to school.

* To check if your child has swine flu, log on to www.pandemicflu.direct.gov.uk or call 0800 1513100.

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