Indio High School and Della Lindley Elementary in Thousand Palms have extended their closures due to swine flu to two weeks following a government recommendation made Friday.
The two Coachella Valley schools, along with two others in Corona and Riverside, closed this past week after a student at each school were diagnosed with a “probable” case of the virus.
In all, the Education Department says more than 400 schools have closed in 17 states, leaving 245,000 students at home. The government is recommending the 14-day closures because children can be contagious for up to 10 days from when they are infected.
This means Indio High’s reopening date will change from May 7 toMay 14. Della Lindley Elementary will reopen on May 15.
Both schools will use the closure to thoroughly cleanse and disinfect the campus. Administrators at Indio High School urged students to stay home and not mix with other students outside of school during the closure, hoping to keep down the exposure rate to the virus.
Even though the number of closures represents a tiny fraction of the nation’s schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan is urging parents, students and teachers to be prepared in case of a shutdown.
President Barack Obama meanwhile says he’s “optimistic” the U.S. can handle the outbreak. He says he’s hopeful the virus will run its course “like ordinary flus.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are more than 140 confirmed cases in 19 states and that the virus still appears to be spreading.
On the Net:
Health and Human Services Department swine flu site: www.pandemicflu.gov