Schools Instructed to Quarantine Sick Kids

If a child shows symptoms of swine flu, his school should place him in a separate room until his parents can pick him up, the Education Ministry instructed schools in a leaflet yesterday.

This is part of its preparations to begin the school year in another two weeks amid the flu outbreak.

Schools also were told to close down if 45 percent of teachers and students catch swine flu.

Because children sit in closed classrooms, "schools could become hubs for spreading the flu virus," the leaflet says.

The leaflet says schools must instruct students on maintaining personal hygiene and other ways to avoid catching and passing on flu. Principles should tell sick children or adults not to come to school, and to return only after receiving permission from a doctor.

School principals have been instructed to handle rumors and fears among teachers, parents and students about the illness spreading.

Schools must make sure bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms and classrooms are clean, and to have a ready supply of soap, detergents, paper towels and tissues to limit the flu's spread.

Both teachers and students must "cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, not with their hand but a tissue, which must be discarded after use. If no tissue is readily available, they should cover their mouth with their arm or inner elbow."

Schools were told to appoint a staff member to coordinate flu preparations and to open Web sites for parents and teachers. The schools are further advised to consider letting students study online "in the case of mass absences."