Move on school activities
Kota Kinabalu: State Education Director Datuk Normah Gagoh said she will discuss with all district education officers the possibility of stopping temporarily co-curricular activities outside schools.
Such activities will be allowed to continue only within the confines of the schools. “This precautionary measure is to minimise travel and reduce the risk of getting infected with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) virus or Influenza A (HINI) virus.
“With the current cold weather, people will be more susceptible to such infection,” she said, when contacted, Thursday.
Normah attributed the relatively easy transmission of the influenza-like illnesses (ILI) virus or Influenza A (H1N1) virus to two possibilities.
“Parents returning from overseas trips could have passed on the infection to their children who in turn spread it to other students in school.
Secondly, the participation of students in co-curricular activities outside the State such as in Melaka (last week) could be a factor,” she said.
Based on preliminary reports, she said students in some schools in Sandakan, Keningau and Lahad Datu appeared to have been infected but the cases have yet to be confirmed.
“I am awaiting reports from the district education officers concerned.”
However, she stressed that she has no power to close down schools as only the State Health Department, Health Minister or Education Minister is empowered to do so.
State education officials and district education officers also sit on the State-level Committee on Addressing the Influenza A (H1N1) Infection. Normah is represented by the department’s Head of Humanity Development Sector.
Meanwhile, a source said at least three schools – SRK St Agnes, SRK Stella Maris and La Salle Tanjung Aru – have been issued directives to close for a week from the Health Department or are in the process of receiving it.
A SRK St Agnes staff said an order from the Health Department was issued late evening for the school to close until Aug. 5. The number of pupils found positive for the virus or suspected were not known.
It was also learnt that another student from SM La Salle tested positive for H1N1 and that the school would be closed for seven days starting July 31 (today).
Two students from the school were found positive for the flu strain last week. There were also two more confirmed cases in SRK Stella Maris, here, Thursday.
Parents who had heard about the cases were seen taking home their children from the afternoon session, consisting of Primary One, Two and Three pupils.
Afternoon session supervisor, Henny Lee said the two boys found positive for the virus were from Primary Two and Primary Six, adding the sample from another pupil has been taken for tests. “We received the confirmation from the department that two of our pupils were positive for H1N1,” she said.
“One of the boys from the morning session had a fever the previous day and his father took him É the man called us today (Thursday) and told us his son had the virus strain.”
As a precautionary step, Henny said the school would ask parents of children who developed H1N1 symptoms to come and pick them up and bring to hospital, adding, aside from the confirmed cases, a number of pupils also complained of fever.
In PENAMPANG, a rumour about rampant infection of H1N1 caused more than 60 pupils at a kindergarten here to miss school on Thursday.
Chung Hwa Kindergarten headmaster, Lee Chee Len said one of the reasons the rumour started was because SJK(C) Shan Tao, where many of the pupils’ siblings were schooling, was closed a few days ago.
Because some of the siblings were home-quarantined, many worried parents could have been confused and mistaken the younger boys and girls had also contracted the disease.
She also said another reason could be a misunderstanding when a pupil fell sick last week, which the school found out was not H1N1 related.
She urged parents not to panic or be alarmed, pointing out the school will not hide anything if cases of the flu virus surfaced.
In KENINGAU, two teenagers were found positive for the virus, Thursday.
District Hospital Director, Dr William Gotulis, said they comprised a 16-year-old boy and a girl, aged 12.
Health authorities were trying to trace the travel details of the duo, adding both lived not far from the town here.