Press release: State departments see no reason to close schools for flu concerns

For Immediate Release
Contact: Deborah Busemeyer
Cell: 505-470-2290
or Beverly Friedman, Public Education Dept.Cell: 795-0180

Health,
Public Education Departments Advise No Reason to Close Schools for
Health Reasons Local Schools Districts to Decide How, When to Reopen 16
Closed Schools

(Santa Fe) – Based on new guidance from the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the New Mexico Department
of Health and the New Mexico Public Education Department announced
today that school closures in New Mexico are no longer necessary for
health reasons. Local school districts will need to decide when and how
to best reopen the 16 schools previously closed in Socorro, Deming,
Carlsbad, Lordsburg and Veguita due to probable cases of H1N1.
“We
are providing the best guidance we can with current information from
CDC,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil. “The national investigation
into H1N1 is evolving daily. We know it’s challenging for families and
schools to change plans, and we are doing our best to give the public
information as soon as we have it.”
CDC had previously recommended
closing schools based on probable cases, which the Department of Health
decided to do in conjunction with the Public Education Department and
local school districts. CDC now recommends school closure is not
advised for a suspected or confirmed case of H1N1 and, in general, is
not advised unless there is significant faculty or student absenteeism
that interferes with the school’s ability to function. CDC based its
new guidance on a review of case reports that describe the severity of
H1N1 cases in the U.S. and the experience of other states closing
schools due to probable cases.
“The information around this illness
continues to evolve,” said Education Secretary Veronica C. Garc