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EMSB H1N1 UPDATE FOR NOVEMBER 5, 2009

Repercussion Theatre

MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 5, 2009-  The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is reporting today that two schools have an absence rate of  at least 10 percent.

The EMSB has 22,229 students in its 71 youth sector schools, more than 13,000 in its adult and vocational sector and more than 3,400 permanent and part-time employees. Schools   report   to Santé publique   their daily absenteeism rate if, due to flu-like symptoms, this figure reaches or exceeds 10 percent  of the  school population.  
Chairman Angela Mancini notes that the EMSB is committed to notifying parents of suspected Influenza A-H1N1 cases.  A school/centre that is on flu watch  will have the principal meet with the staff to inform them. Subsequently a letter is sent home to parents advising them of a suspected case. An isolation room is used, if necessary.  “Notifications go out to the parents even if they are  not confirmed cases of the virus,” says Ms. Mancini. “We prefer to notify the school community and exercise maximum caution.”
All principals, vice principals, caretakers and cafeteria workers  have attended workshops related to Influenza A-H1N1. A stockpile of cleaning products cleaning cloths, N95 masks, germicide and other necessary equipment is in place. This week more N95 masks were delivered to the schools for use in the isolation rooms should they be needed.

“The  best defence against the virus is thorough hand-washing and schools have stepped up their efforts to increase hand-washing among their students,” says Regional Director Marzia Michielli, who is responsible for the H1N1 dossier. “High-touch areas are subject to greater cleaning. A number of hand sanitizers have been distributed to every school and centre.  The hand sanitizers were sent for use by visitors to the school.”

A more recent measure involves a recommendation asking people not to greet each other by shaking hands.  Given the self-care guide which was distributed to all households, the EMSB has aligned its practices with the government guide content.

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Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca