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Swine flu schools reopen

PUBLISHED: 14:37 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:16 07 September 2010

Tan Parsons THREE schools where pupils had swine flu have reopened since last week - but the virus has now spread to Highgate. Channing School, on Highgate Hill, has had its first confirmed case of swine flu and the affected pupil has been sent home. A me

Tan Parsons

THREE schools where pupils had swine flu have reopened since last week - but the virus has now spread to Highgate.

Channing School, on Highgate Hill, has had its first confirmed case of swine flu and the affected pupil has been sent home.

A message on the school's website said: "Unfortunately the school has received notification that one of its pupils has swine flu. The pupil is showing mild symptoms and is expected to recover.

"The Health Protection Agency [HPA] has advised that the school should not close but that the advice previously produced by the school should be reinforced.

"Pupils with flu-like symptoms or who feel unwell should not come to school."

A spokeswoman said there were no plans to close the school and no further suspected cases among staff or pupils.

Meanwhile Beckford Primary School in West Hampstead has had 37 confirmed cases of the virus and was closed for a week, but reopened on Monday having been thoroughly disinfected.

Speaking to the Ham&High on Tuesday, headteacher Dilys Hoffman said: "We are having a normal day and a normal week. The kids who are here are very healthy. Their parents are making sure they finish their course of drugs and come back to class symptom-free.

"We understand the advice from the Health Protection Agency is that the virus is now out there in the community so it is unlikely any other schools will close from now on."

Although two members of staff have been off sick with the virus, she said contingency plans had been made so that there would be no need to close the school because of staff shortages.

"One of those staff members is back at work now - we're a pretty hardy lot here," she said.

Tempers flared at the school last week when the teachers were ordered to work despite the outbreak, but Camden Council bosses later reneged on the ruling.

Elsewhere, in Barnet, Garden Suburb Junior And Infants Schools were expected to reopen yesterday (Wednesday) following a week of closure after teachers and pupils fell sick with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday June 17.

The Hall School in Belsize Park remained open after 10 confirmed cases in the last week.

Headteacher Philip Lough said: "The HPA is certainly pretty overrun with cases, but I think they have recognised the symptoms are fairly mild - at least compared with what was feared initially.

"All the advice given to us is that we should remain open and keep normal life going, and just live with it."

Other schools in Camden have had confirmed cases. A pupil at Acland Burghley School tested positive for the H1N1 virus over the weekend and is recovering at home.

Others with confirmed cases include Torriano Infants in Kentish Town, South Camden Community School in Somers Town, and Parliament Hill and Christchurch in Hampstead.

In Haringey, up to 71 children and staff at the nursery of the Campsbourne School and Children's Centre have been diagnosed with swine flu leading to the school's week-long closure.

As the Ham&High went to press the total number of confirmed cases in the UK stood at 2,773, with the figure for London at 528. A 38-year-old Scottish woman with underlying health problems is the only person to have died of the virus in Britain.

But experts have warned the strain could become more dangerous and spread in the autumn, when children return to school following the summer holidays.

Anyone with suspected symptoms should call the information line on 0800 1 513 513, their GP, or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

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