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Press Release

Press Release # 029-09
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jessica Scaperotti (DOHMH) - (212) 788-5290
Margie Feinberg (DOE) - (212) 374-5141

Health Commissioner Frieden and Schools Chancellor Klein Announce City Will Close Two More School Buildings in Response to Increased Flu-like Symptoms

Students will not return to I.S. 238 until Tuesday, May 26th

May 20, 2009 – Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that the City Health Department has recommended closing two more school buildings in Queens, for up to five school days after documenting unusually high number of influenza-like illness over a number of days. The two school buildings will be closed beginning Tuesday, May 21st. 

The two school buildings are:

  • P.S. 242 (Leonard P. Stavisky Early Childhood School, 370 students), in Flushing. A total of 10 students were documented with influenza-like illness during the three school days.
  • P. S. 130 (304 students), also includes part of P.S 993 (73 students), in Bayside. A total of 12 students and 23 staffers were documented with influenza-like illness during the last three school days.

*I.S. 238 was closed last Thursday and is scheduled to reopen on Friday, May 22, 2009 for teachers and staff. The school will remain closed to students until Tuesday, May 26, 2009.

During the last week , the city closed 17 schools in Queens (I.S. 238, P.S. 16, Q255, I.S. 5, JHS 74, P.S. 107, M.S. 158, Our Lady of Lourdes, I.S. 25, World Journalism Preparatory, Q233, P.S. 209, P9, P.S. 19, P.S. 32, P.S. 35, and the Merrick Academy Charter School), one in Brooklyn (I.S. 318) and one in Lower Manhattan (P.S. 130) after documenting confirmed cases of H1N1 at I.S. 238 in Queens, and unusually high levels of flu-like symptoms in the other schools.  The Health Department continues to work with the Department of Education to assess the situation daily and make decisions regarding school closures on a case by case basis.

The Health Department and the Department of Education are working to monitor flu-like illness in New York City schools. This information is collected daily from school administrators and evaluated by the City’s Office of School Health. If a school nurse reports a sudden or sustained increase in flu-like illness – documented fever accompanied by cough or sore throat – among students seen in a school’s medical room, the Health Department may recommend closing the school.  Some schools will experience temporary closures in the coming days and weeks. Rather than using a simple rule to close schools, the Health Department is carefully evaluating the circumstances at each one. High absenteeism, by itself, is not a basis for closure.