District Prepares for Flu Season
MRH Flu Updates
The MRH School District remained open during the fall 2009 flu season. Schools saw only minor disruptions in attendance at the height of the season. Officials credit an aggressive prevention campaign that saw hand sanitizers being placed throughout the school, extra cleaning detail in high traffic area, and an awareness boost through classroom instruction, signage and materials sent home to families.
MRH also administered H1N1 vaccines to students during November and December. Roughly 44% of the student body received the vaccines.
Additionally, MRH was one of five host sites as a community vaccination center on Nov. 7.
County Health Department Offering Free H1N1 Vaccinations
The Saint Louis County Department of Health will be offering free H1N1 flu vaccinations to county residents at five area high schools on Saturday, November 7.
“Although the vaccine supply is still far below what we need, we have now received enough to announce our first round of free H1N1 vaccination clinics for Saint Louis County residents,” said Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, Director of the Saint Louis County Health Department.
Added Dr. Gunn, “Because of the very limited supply we have at this time, we will only be able to vaccinate those falling into one of the five identified high priority groups."
Those five (5) high priority groups are:
- pregnant women;
- children from 6 months of age through 4 years of age;
- caregivers of and those who live with infants under the age of 6 months;
- youth from 5 years of age through 18 years of age with an underlying health condition that makes them more susceptible to flu complications; and
- emergency medical service personnel and healthcare workers.
Those wishing to be vaccinated will need to obtain a line ticket from one of the five clinic locations prior to being vaccinated. Line tickets will be available at each location starting at 7:00 a.m. The vaccinations will be administered between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
At least 10,000 doses of vaccine will be available for the Saturday clinics – 2,000 at each of the five sites. Because of the very limited number of doses available, proof of residency in Saint Louis County will be required, either in the form of a driver’s license or a utility bill.
A drive-through distribution area for handing out line tickets will be set up at each of the five locations. There will be two vaccination sessions and line tickets will designate admission to either a morning session or an afternoon session.
The five free H1N1 vaccination clinics on Saturday will be held at:
1) Hazelwood West High School
1 Wildcat Lane
Hazelwood, MO 63042
2) Jennings High School
(Parking for the Jennings location will be at 8850 Cozens Avenue 8960 Jennings Station Road; however, Jennings, MO 63136 participants will first need to pick up a line ticket at the high school.)
3) Lafayette High School
17050 Clayton Road
Wildwood, MO 63038
4) Lindbergh High School
4900 South Lindbergh Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63126
5) Maplewood-Richmond Heights
(Line ticket distribution and parking for the High School Maplewood location will be at the parking lot of the Sunnen Products Company, located at 16 Sunnen Drive, Maplewood, MO 63143.)
Dr. Gunn emphasized that the priority group restrictions will be eased once more vaccine has been received. “Everyone who wants to be vaccinated will be able to do so eventually,” said Dr. Gunn.
Future H1N1 vaccination clinics are being planned for December and January. In the interim, the County Health Department will continue to distribute vaccine to schools, OB/GYNs, pediatricians, hospitals, and clinics to address the needs of the CDC-identified priority groups.
For more information, please visit the Health Department’s flu website.
MRH will be offering the H1N1 for all students free of charge, starting around Oct. 21. The vaccines will be administered here at our schools by our nurses with help from nurses from Children’s Hospital.
Complete details about the vaccines and the process were mailed to families this week. Included with the mailing is a consent form. Parents who wish to have their child be vaccinated need to return the consent form by Friday, Oct. 16. Forms should go to school nurses. (If parents request additional forms, or if they did not get theirs in the mail, they can get forms from the nurses.)
Children through age 9 will need a second booster vaccine administered in November. Parents who wish to accompany their children for administration of the vaccine should contact their school nurse. A copy of the letter sent home to parents is here.
District Prepares for Flu Season
In light of the oncoming flu season, MRH has taken a number of steps to be best prepared for prevention, communications and vaccinations. Among the steps taken so far are:
- Establishing a flu alerts committee comprised of school nurses, administrators and custodial service,
- Placing free-standing hand sanitizers in each cafeteria,
- Placing hand sanitizers in classrooms,
- Posting hand washing signs in classrooms and all bathrooms,
- Amplifying cleaning procedures in high traffic areas,
- Alerting faculty and staff regarding the flu and what to watch for, and
- Meeting with county health officials to get the latest information about H1N1 and seasonal flus.
The flu alerts committee wishes to let the public know about the upcoming events:
- On Saturday, November 7, MRH will be one of five sites in the St. Louis County offering an H1N1 flu vaccine for high risk individuals in our community (complete details to be announced soon), and
- Sometime in October, MRH will be offering an H1N1 vaccine for all students (again, complete details will be announced soon).
The flu alerts committee also compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Earlier this year, a letter outlining MRH actions, as well as details on how to prevent the spread of flu, had also been sent home to families. (You can download a copy here.)
MRH pledges to keep families alerted with up-to-date information posted here.
For more information, visit the following sites:
Centers for Disease Control
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.