Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh has advised principals and teachers to encourage good hygiene among pupils to prevent the spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, commonly known as swine flu, in schools.
Gopeesingh said the ministry was distributing information to schools in practising good hygiene.
He was speaking to the media following the formal opening of the newly built Lengua Presbyterian Primary School in Barrackpore yesterday.
“As I left the Ministry of Education this morning, the permanent secretary and his technical team would have been meeting with the Ministry of Health’s technical team. Yesterday (Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan) and myself discussed it. As you heard last night, the Prime Minister has instructed that there is a purchase of close to 60,000 vaccines,” he said.
Gopeesingh said parents and teachers should be able to differentiate between a common cold and the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
“We are sending out information and literature to the various school principals on prevention by ensuring good personal hygiene and ensuring washing of hands and so on. You differentiate the common cold from the H1N1 virus by the rapidity and severity of the symptoms. So if you get severe body aches and severe headaches and severe lung problems, you know it is one of these major problems,” he said.
Gopeesingh also advised pupils with the common cold stay away from school.
“Stay away from the school during the viral stage, which is during the time of fever, cough and cold. All in all, it is going to be normal as ever and we are taking special precautions,” he said.
Gopeesingh said screening for swine flu at schools will be required if a pupil exhibits “more than exaggerated” symptoms of the virus.
Dr Rajendra Parag, head of the Paediatric Ward at San Fernando General Hospital, this week said there were no confirmed cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus among children.