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Parents Alarmed By School’s Swine Flu Call

LA QUINTA – A phone message went out to parents with children in Desert Sands Unified School District, informing them Indio High School is temporarily closed and one student may have the swine flu.

“We always try to let our families know what is going on,” says Sherry Johnstone, DSUSD assistant superintendent. “We wanted to let parents know right away.”

A glitch in the messaging system upset some parents who received messages late into the night and early Thursday morning. The wording also alarmed some. It originally said the case was confirmed, but the District corrected the error.

“We re-did the voice mail and changed it to say ‘probable’ which is about 99.9%,” says Johnstone.

While students at Indio High can’t go to school, some parents at other schools are choosing to keep their kids out of class.

“Parents need to do what they feel is best for their kids,” says Johnstone.

There’s an increase in absences around the Valley.

“Some parents are following our advice and keeping their kids home if they are sick,” says Patrick Walsh, Palm Desert High School Principal.”Some are concerned and want their kids safe.”

This all comes at a busy time for schools. Most are in the middle of state testing and advanced placement exams. Students will be able to make up tests, but there is a time limit to do so. At Indio High School, tests are on hold and the District is asking the state for an extension.

“We are going to call the state and ask for special assistance,” says Johnstone.

This is an important time in the school year, but educators say safety is always the top priority.

“We are not as concerned about testing as we are about the student’s safety,” says Walsh.

KESQ News Team

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