Swine Flu Worries Close Lewisville ISD - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Swine Flu Worries Close Lewisville ISD

District joins Fort Worth, Cleburne shut downs



    Swine Flu Worries Close Lewisville ISD
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    Schools across North Texas are temporarily closing for disinfection as the number probable swine flu cases increase.

    The Lewisville Independent School District announced Friday that it is closing for one week due to an increase in probable swine flu (H1N1) cases in the district. 

    The district initially closed one school Thursday after the Denton County Health Department confirmed one case of swine flu at Hebron Valley Elementary. 

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    Approximately 50,000 students attend school on the district's 68 campuses.  School officials said students and staff will not have to makeup the lost days. 

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 28 Texas swine flu cases as of Friday. Fourteen cases are in North Texas.

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    Seven of the state's confirmed cases are in Dallas County. The director of Dallas County's health department said Wednesday that swine flu precautions are "not overkill."

    Several North Texas schools are closed because of confirmed cases of swine flu.

    The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department said Thursday that a 5-year-old student from Daniel Webster Elementary School had been diagnosed with swine flu. The school will be closed beginning Friday until at least May 11.

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    Another confirmed swine flu case involved a student at Canyon Creek Elementary School in Richardson. The school will be closed through the end of the week.

    Dallas County officials said they have not closed all schools or canceled public gatherings because they do not believe such actions are warranted yet.

    "We've just begun to exercise our pandemic plan even though it's not at a pandemic stage," County Commissioner John Wiley Price said. "It's not our call to say cancel for cancel's sake.  We've got to have some indicators."

    Two students are among the five confirmed cases of swine flu in Tarrant County.  Two people have been hospitalized and all cases are recovering well, the Tarrant County Public Health Department said.

    As a precaution, the Fort Worth ISD closed all of its campuses Wednesday after a 12-year-old girl at McLean Sixth Grade Center tested positive for the swine flu. The campuses will be closed through May 8.

    "This is a time the citizens of the community have to come together and support each other," Superintendent Melody Johnson said. "This is a very rare event in our history."

    Johnson said she made the decision after county health officials recommended the mass closing.

    "It's not our thinking that it's spreading so fast we have to do this," said Dr. Sandra Parker, of the Tarrant County Health Department. "But we want to prevent the spread."

    The Birdville Independent School District, where one student was confirmed with swine flu, said Thursday that the Shannon Learning Center and the disciplinary alternative education program would be closed until May 12.

    It was not immediately clear if the lost school days will have to be made up, or if state education officials might issue a waiver after Gov. Rick Perry declared a health emergency.

    This is the week of standardized state tests, but Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said the state will work with any district closing schools over swine flu concerns -- and none will be penalized.

    The Collin County Health & Human Services Department confirmed Thursday that one Wilson Middle School student has tested positive for the swine flu virus. The Plano school district said the school will be closed Friday and will reopen Monday, May 11.

    Other schools in Dallas and Cleburne announced closures this week because of probable cases of swine flu.

    Cleburne Independent School District closed all of its campuses through Monday, May 4 for sanitation after officials said seven probable cases of swine flu were discovered.

    Some of the four students who are considered probable swine flu cases have siblings at other schools, which is one reason why the district decided to close all 11 schools, school officials said.

    A case is elevated from suspected to probable after lab tests show the subject positive for flu -- though the test may not indicate the particular strain of influenza.

    Dallas County health officials said it takes anywhere from three to five days to get test results back from the Centers for Disease Control.  Dr. John Carlo said he hopes the CDC will set up a lab in North Texas to streamline the process.

    The city of Cleburne's mayor also requested that child care facilities take precautions against the swine flu.

    "We are asking that all day care centers in the city to close as well. This just a request," Mayor Ted Reynolds said. "We've been getting a lot of calls from day care centers asking what they should do."

    Holy Cross Christian school in Burleson said Thursday that it is closing on Friday and Monday, May 4, in light of the Fort Worth and Cleburne school closings.

    In Oak Cliff, the Golden Rule Charter School was temporarily closed after officials learned of a probable case of swine flu there. The school's 450 students were instructed to stay home while cleaning crews disinfected the campus.

    "We are just taking a very active role," principal Will Ramos said. "We just want to make sure the right thing is done."

    The Universal Academy in Irving will be reopening on Monday, May 4, after test results confirmed that a student does not have swine flu. There are currently no confirmed cases of swine flu in Irving, city officials said Friday.

    Slidell Independent School District said Thursday it was closing schools beginning Friday after consultation with Wise County health officials. Schools will reopen May 11, the district said. Schools and buses will be cleaned and disinfected. Wise County did not have any confirmed cases of swine flu as of Thursday.

    School athletics are also out. Texas officials are postponing all public high school athletic and academic competitions until May 11 because of the swine flu outbreak.

    One person in the United States, a boy visiting Texas from Mexico City, has died of the virus. According to Centers for Disease Control, an average of 36,000 people die of the seasonal flu every year in the United States.

    The Ponder Independent School District will close until Monday, May 11 for disinfection due to three cases of seasonal flu, Superintendent Bruce Yager said Friday.  PISD is a small district in Denton County.  

    Ashanti Blaize contributed to this report.