Swine flu outbreak won’t close Marion Earl Elementary School, officials say

When Vinnie Cervoni went to pick up his 6-year-old son, Giovanni, from Marion Earl Elementary School on Wednesday, he wasn’t sure whether he would take him back to school today.

Cervoni said a confirmed outbreak of swine flu there might cause him to keep his son home as a precaution.

Cervoni said he and his family were “going to talk it over.”

Nearly 200 children were absent from Earl on Wednesday, a day when public health and school officials said at a news conference there was no need to close the year-round school despite the fact that sample tests of six sick children determined four of them had swine flu.

The other two tests were negative for influenza.

John Middaugh, director of community health for the Southern Nevada Health District, said there is no need to close Earl Elementary because scientists have found that the H1N1 influenza A, or swine flu virus, has been found to be no more serious than the seasonal flu.

“We don’t close schools for the seasonal flu,” Middaugh said following the news conference.

Cervoni said he dropped off hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at his son’s first-grade classroom at 6650 W. Reno Ave., near Jones Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.

He was pleased to learn his son’s teacher already had did an “excellent job of wiping down the classroom.”

The sample testing of sick students by health district officials was done Tuesday, after more than 150 children students stayed home, to determine the cause of the absenteeism.

Middaugh noted that local officials were following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines that were revised in May. Those guidelines state, in part, that closing a school “is not advised unless there is a magnitude of faculty or student absenteeism that interferes with the school’s ability to function.”

Diana Taylor, the Clark County School District’s health services director, said the school, which has an enrollment of 614, is still able to function adequately.

At the news conference, Taylor would not say how many students or teachers would have to be absent to cause a school to shut down.

Middaugh, whose previous work in public health was in Alaska, said schools remained open there during one period when 70 percent of the students became ill.

In late April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised officials to close schools for up to two weeks if students were infected with swine flu, advice seconded by President Barack Obama in a televised plea.

Middaugh conceded that those earlier warnings could cause some parents to be concerned about sending their children to a school where swine flu has been detected.

But Middaugh said the earlier guidelines were an outgrowth of erroneous reports from Mexico that indicated that many previously healthy young people died of a virus that spread rapidly through communities.

Once American public health investigators went to Mexico, he said, they found that reports of the disease’s severity and spread were exaggerated.

That new information, coupled with the fact that swine flu has spread into communities throughout the United States, has made school closures largely ineffective in controlling the virus, Middaugh said.

“They closed schools in New York City, and it didn’t control it,” he said. “There is no public health reason to close schools. That’s why the guidelines for closing schools has changed.”

Dr. Mary Guinan, the state’s chief health officer, recently told the Review-Journal that school closures “should be based on science, not fear.”

Earl Elementary parent Ernest Danhieux is a construction foreman who has been out of work for nine months. Because he is busy looking for a job, Danhieux said he does not have the luxury of keeping his 8-year-old son home as a health precaution.

“He’s better off here,” he said. “He hasn’t shown any of the symptoms.”

Danhieux suggested the school take 10 minutes to teach students about washing their hands and covering their mouths when they cough.

“When we were in the second and third grade, we didn’t care about stuff like that,” he said.

Earl administrators sent home a note with children assuring families they were monitoring the situation.

The letter noted that testing is not necessary for the readmission of children to school or day cares. It also said “patients should manage their illness as they would seasonal influenza.”

Health district officials anticipate additional cases of swine flu at schools. They recently changed the district’s protocol in monitoring the disease.

Before, the district counted all cases of swine flu, but now it is only counting those cases in which a patient has been hospitalized.

The mildness of the illness caused that change.

All schools in the district continue to monitor student health office visits and symptoms of influenza.

Parents, students and staff are encouraged to check for updates at www.ccsd.net and www.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org. Parents also can contact the district’s Health Services Department at 799-7443.


Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908. Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@reviewjournal.com or 702-374-7917.

NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like