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2 schools reset class openings

First Posted 09:50:00 06/08/2009

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TWO of the biggest private universities and colleges in Cebu have opted to reset to June 15 the opening of classes in all levels amid the Influenza A(H1N1) scare.

The University of San Carlos (USC) and the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion (CIC) have announced over the weekend that they have moved their scheduled opening of School Year 2009-2010 for their pre-school, elementary, high school and college levels from today to June 15.

The St. Theresa?s College (STC), on the other hand, opted to move to June 15 the start of the classes only in the preparatory and college levels.

Classes therefore at STC?s elementary and high school levels start today, according to an announcement posted at the entrance of the school along General Maxilom Avenue and signed by the College Dean, Sister Maria Purisima Fe.

Commission on Higher Education (Ched) chairman Emmanuel Angeles earlier directed all colleges and universities in the country to postpone for one week, or from June 8 to June 15, the start of classes in the tertiary level to allow foreign exchange or Filipino students who have gone abroad to go on self-quarantine.

Angeles issued the directive on June 8 after two foreign exchange students from De La Salle University (DSLU) campus in Manila tested positive of the H1N1 flu. Last Saturday, another DSLU student was found positive of the dreaded flu virus.

USC, one of the biggest universities in Cebu, decided to instead move to June 15 classes in all levels to give all its students, especially those who came from vacations abroad, more time to submit themselves to self-quarantine, according to a memorandum signed by the university's vice president for academic affairs, Fr. Felino Jabines, SVD.

The memorandum, distributed to all four USC campuses in Cebu, was received 4 p.m. Saturday by school?s department heads.

CIC High School Department Principal Marilou Villaflor yesterday said they decided to move as well to June 15 the opening of classes in their pre-school, elementary and high school levels as a preventive measure.

?We don't want students to suffer from this illness (H1N1 flu),? Villaflor said.

She said the officials and teachers of CIC have all gone through a seminar conducted by the school physician on how to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu, and the school would come out with a memorandum informing students on how to avoid the flu virus.

At the start of classes next Monday, all of the school?s students will go through an orientation and actual demonstration of the proper hand washing techniques, to be conducted by their respective class adviser, she said.

Villaflor said their health services officer had already been instructed to be ready in case there would be students or employees who would exhibit flu-like symptoms.

The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) has meanwhile decided to organize teams composed of teachers and students in each nursing school in Central Visayas that would be given the task of helping prevent the spread of Influenza A (H1N1.

?We asked the heads of nursing schools to create a speakers' bureau and organize an infection control team that would work within the college,? said Dr. Susana Madarieta, Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) director.

Madarieta said they already met with the deans of Nursing colleges in the region and gave them guidelines on what steps to take to prevent the spread of H1N1 infection.

She said DOH would help train school personnel who would be chosen to give lectures to the different sections and departments in the school.

?We can not do the lectures for all? So we told them to create the speakers' bureau,? said Madarieta.

Schools offering Nursing as one of its courses would be required to identify a room that would be used to isolate students exhibiting flu-like symptoms, she said.

She said school nurses have also been instructed to refer possible H1N1 cases to DOH 7, through its hotline: 418-7636.

?We will be replicating this in other colleges later on,? said Madarieta.

Health officials have explained that the Influenza A (H1N1) virus is a ?mix? of human, swine and avian flu virus found in pigs, but this is not transmitted by eating pork.

The virus is transmitted from human to human through airborne droplet transmission.

According to United States Centers for Disease Control, the symptoms of people infected with Influenza A(H1N1) virus are as follows:

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: fast breathing or troubled breathing, bluish or gray skin color, not drinking enough fluids, severe or persistent vomiting, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

For adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include: difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough.

The public has been regularly advised by the DOH to make it a habit to do hand washing 20 times a day, avoid crowded places and to practice proper respiratory hygiene by covering the mouth using a handkerchief or tissue paper when coughing.

Travelers are also advised to practice self-quarantine for at least 10 days after arrival and to immediately seek medical attention if one develops flu-like symptoms.

The DOH in Central Visayas has listed four confirmed H1N1 flu cases since May 4, 2009, three of whom had recovered and had been discharged from hospitals.

The last patient, a 33-year-old pregnant woman based in Bohol, was still waiting for the results of her second test.

Madarieta had said the patient was doing well and no longer has flu-like symptoms. The people who were in close contact with the patient had also been identified and given prophylaxis, or preventive medication. / With a report from editorial assistant Bernadette B. Parco

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