One confirmed case of H1N1 ifluenza plus 12 teachers and 144 out of 600 students out sick equals another school closed to help prevent the spread of the virus commonly referred to as the swine flu. Boston Public Schools announced the one-week closure of the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School on Columbia Road today at 4:35 p.m.
"We continue to monitor attendance rates and health reports from all 143 Boston Public Schools for any irregularities," said Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson in a prepared statement. "In consultation with the Boston Public Health Commission, we are making decisions to close schools with significant numbers of students out sick with flu-like symptoms to help prevent new infections."
According to a press release, the attendance rate has been dropping steadily this week, ultimately resulting in the decision of BPS and the BPHC to close the school. The perios of seven days corresponds to the typical contagion period for the virus.
The Frederick is the third BPS School to close, after the Boston Latin School in the Fenway/Longwood area and the Umana Middle School in East Boston. It is the first to shut down in Dorchester. The BPHC also announced the closure of the private British School in Jamaica Plain today and earlier this week announced the closure of the private Winsor School in Longwood.
"That's the hardest thing to do in the world is close down a school," said BPHC spokeswoman Ann Scales. "These decisions are not made lightly, but we have to do what we know is the best remedy."
The New York Times reported earlier today that 30 schools have been temporarily closed in its four boroughs, and according to the Associated Press, the flu strain has sickened over 11,000 people in 41 countries, killing 85.