Concerned parents, school leaders take precautions against Swine Flu

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jo Lampert considered keeping her 11-year-old daughter home Tuesday, but decided against it.

"I know they say the swine flu is only dangerous if you have other effects on you but it's still one to be concerned," Lampert said.

The devastating news that one Hancock Middle School student died from Swine Flu has Lampert and other parents worried, but not panicked.

"I would like to understand. If there is an infection there, I would like to be able to protect her," Lampert said.

"My son knew the little girl that died of it, so yes, I'm concerned," Ray Heittzmann said. "But there's not much we can do about it. You can't close down all the schools because of one student getting the Swine Flu."

School leaders say the message of protection and prevention is getting through. The absentee rate Tuesday was less than ten percent: 103 out of a student body of 1,186. School leaders say that's about average.

Donnie Gholston is the Assistant Superintendent for the Hancock County School District.

"We are taking measures in regards to maintenance, our janitorial. We are using some different disinfectant on our school buses and our cafeterias, hand sanitizers, the things the Mississippi State Department of Health recommended to us," Gholston said. "We've assigned a particular person to do nothing but restroom cleaning. And that is a little different than normal."

As the school takes steps to keep the school clean, teachers and parents are emphasizing good hygiene and common sense.

Heidi Peterson was the second person to die from swine flu on the Coast. A Jackson county student died of the virus last month.

The Peterson family didn't have burial insurance, so if you'd like to help the family with that expense you can make a donation at any Hancock Bank branch. Just ask for the Heidi Ann Memorial Fund.

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