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Oldham Parents Really Want to Know

August 20th, 2009 by admin · 6 Comments

Parents in Oldham County are pretty upset with the school system there. They want to know more about the student who has come down with the swine flu — like which school the student was attending.

But the school system says it’s not telling — preferring to anger parents by leaving them in the dark rather than risking a mass exodus when panic sets in if it were to identify the building where the supposed infectious student was located.

“We don’t want to set off a panic at that school or to become lax on precautions at other schools,” the school system attorney, Anne Coorssen said.

See, if parents know for certain the flu has been in their child’s school, then they’ll probably keep them home from school, as we learned in Jefferson County last spring when the flu was identified at Meyzeek Middle School. Oldham County parents only know the flu has been in one of the county’s 18 schools.

So the system sent parents a note and called them on the phone — advising them to make sure they washed their hands a lot. One parent told me the hand-washing rituals at an elementary school aren’t scheduled.

Let’s hope the local media reports on school attendance today in Oldham County.

This is from the Oldham Era’s report:

Superintendent Paul Upchurch sent a letter home with each student Wednesday with a follow-up automated call stating that there has been a case of H1N1 flu in an Oldham County student. A parent notified the school that their child’s doctor diagnosed the flu, but lab results haven’t confirmed it yet.

So, some general practitioner saw a child in his office, told the child’s parent that it was H1N1, who told the school.

Linda Goss, director of Infection Control at the University of Louisville hospital, said that the swine flu is easily diagnosed using a Rapid Flu Test. So it’s hard to poke holes in the diagnosis, though we can’t be certain the school system contacted the doctor, and we’d like to know why they haven’t identified the doctor as a credible source for cautioning the public.

Telling parents part of the story, when it comes to a disease in school, isn’t good enough.

Tags: Health Care · Parenting · University of Louisville

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 KYGuy // Aug 20, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    When Upchurch came to Oldham he made it clear that “he doesn’t speak with reporters.” So don’t expect anything directly from him. This is a major blunder and typical of a school system that stands BETWEEN parents and their kids. The culture in Oldham schools for years has been that the parents are the enemy, unless you need them to sell pizza at the game.

  • 2 EdenSprings // Aug 21, 2009 at 8:12 am

    1. H1N1 cannot be diagnosed by a Dr. in their office
    2. Until a contagious disease can be CONFIRMED, the school is following proper protocol and should not throw everyone into a panic.
    3. By the time the kid is symptomatic, he’s already shed the virus at his home, his parent’s vehicles, the school, the bus, anywhere he’s been for up to as much as a week before he went to the doctor.
    4. There is no reason to suspect that this flu is going to be any worse than previous flu seasons. The official reaction recently went from ‘close the school after the first case is detected’ to ‘don’t bother unless it becomes rampant’.
    5. Despite having been labeled a “pandemic” if you look at the numbers world wide, this flu has actually been extremely mild.
    6. If the district says “Yowza! We got us some swine flu here!” and parents begin holding their kids out of school, the district takes a huge funding hit and it may all end up to be over nothing. If the lab results come back that it is NOT H1N1, Oldham has potentially lost millions for nothing and the real flu season still hasn’t even begun yet.
    7. Until a suspicion becomes a fact, it’s counter-productive–even dangerous sometimes–to jump into action based on what someone assumes to be the truth. It’s unethical and illegal for the district to do that as well.

  • 3 Mark H (Not Hebert) // Aug 21, 2009 at 10:24 am

    There is no reason why they cannot disclose the school, but there are some restrictions on giving out identifiable child-specific information due to Federal HIPPA privacy restrictions.

    That said, this is going to be a major problem as the school year goes along. There is going to be exposure risks at every school by late fall, so are parents just going to keep their kids at home all year long?

  • 4 Richard // Aug 22, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Oldham County residents in my estimation are some of the most shallow and self centered types in this area. They think nothing of going to Louisville and doing their business but when it comes to their own schools I guess they have to act irrationally like in this case. A big scare over really nothing. We don’t have an epidemic and if you have a good immune system then you will survive

  • 5 Richard // Aug 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    These are the same people that think nothing of going to the mall in Louisville, grabbing the door handles, wiping their noses, going to work in Louisville around 500 people. yet they are already throwing a fit about their kids getting the flu.

  • 6 KYGuy // Aug 22, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Richard – Way to paint an entire county with your stupid brush. This isn’t about a “scare”, it’s about a parent’s right to know. The HIPPA argument is the first one to make sense. Disclosing the school, however, doesn’t mean the student must be identified. Parents have a right to make decisions that affect their children, but I seriously doubt many parents would jerk their kids from school. Oldham parents don’t need the nature of H1N1 explained to them. They have the same knowledge as the rest of you Einsteins. Some even subscribe to updates from the CDC. And they actually read them when they’re not tailgating Louisville residents in their Escalades while on their way to the polo match.

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