PARK CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Classes at all eight schools in the Park City School District are canceled at least through May 4 due to swine flu concerns after three children were identified as 'probable' virus patients. Students and faculty were told to stay home.
Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City also closed late Thursday after it was learned that a 'probable' swine flu patient came in contact with students and teachers at an awards ceremony earlier this week.
The Weber-Morgan Health District also confirmed that a 'probable' swine flu patient had been identified, and that they were waiting to receive test confirmation from the Centers of Disease Control.
The Utah Department of Health says the total number of 'probable' cases in Utah is now 5.
Park City School district consists of 4400 students and eight schools. Officials confirmed that they will be closing schools at least until Monday as a result of a possible swine flu outbreak.
All school events, including sporting events have been postponed or canceled. The senior prom at Park City High School has also been postponed.
ABC 4 News has confirmed that one of the students is the same patient announced as 'probable' by the Utah Department of Health on Wednesday.
Health officials say three students, elementary and junior high aged, could be contaminated. Park City’s superintendent says one of the students had been in Mexico a couple weeks ago for spring break. Officials said confirmation of the virus is still up in the air until lab testing at the CDC can be completed.
The school district expects to know results on at least one of the cases Friday afternoon at which point they will determine if they need to disinfect all their schools.
Park City Municipal Corporation also canceled all youth recreation and library programs through May 4. The cancellation included all youth soccer programs. In addition, youth programs at the Basin Recreation Field House were canceled until further notice, according to Matt Strader, Field House Manager. The facilities were to remain open for regularly scheduled adult classes, drop-in fitness, and library services.
According to the Summit County Health Department, there have been 12 cases that warranted further testing. 3 have been cleared, 3 have warranted further testing from the CDC, and 6 are still being looked at as cases that could be sent to the CDC later on Thursday.
Through a spokesperson, Executive Director for Utah's Department of Health David Sundwall told ABC 4, "We believe we will have confirmed cases of swine flu in Utah. We are planning for that contingency."
Below is the official press statement released early Thursday by the Park City School District:
PARK CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOL CLOSURE – EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
Dr. Ray Timothy, the Superintendent of Schools of the Park City School District, after consultation with the Park City Board of Education and health professionals throughout the state, has closed, effective immediately, all eight schools in the Park City School District. This action was taken as a proactive and precautionary measure after the identification of three students possibly infected with the Swine Flu. Confirmation of the virus is pending CDC laboratory testing.
All Park City School District facilities will remain closed at least through Monday, May 4. All school-related activities for this period are canceled. School Administrators are expected to be at their building to make sure no students are dropped off. Staff should not report to work.
“This decision was made after careful deliberation and with the best interests of our students, employees, and community in mind,” said Dr. Timothy. “We are putting the safety of our children first.”
Park City School District’s spring break was the week of April 13. A number of students and their families visited Mexico at that time where they may have been exposed to the H1N1 virus.
Local board members are supportive of Dr. Timothy’s decision. Five local health care providers joined in recommending the closure.
Updates and additional information will be posted to the Park City School District website as they become available. You can visit www.pcschools.us
ABC 4 News has also learned that many day care centers have closed. Parents are advised to call their individual day care providers to see if they are closed.
Also, ABC 4 has also learned that private schools in the area are following suit and closing as well.
To find out more, Park City residents can call 435-615-5989.
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