Officials decide to reopen Spring Creek Elementary
Spring Creek Elementary School in Bonita Springs is set to reopen Thursday — two days earlier than expected — after being shuttered in hopes of containing an H1N1 flu outbreak.
The Lee County Health Department and Lee County School District decided to close the school for one week on Friday after a male Spring Creek student tested positive for H1N1.
Though a second child tested positive, and the results of a third test are still due, health and school officials said Tuesday that they feel comfortable reopening the school to students and faculty.
Their decision comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention re-evaluated the influenza strain’s threat level.
“We’ve gone through the first wave and seen our symptoms have been much milder (than the initial outbreaks in Mexico),” said Jennifer James-Mesloh, Lee County Health Department spokeswoman. “Based on that re-evaluation, the CDC has determined keeping the school open is safe … we’ve proved if we have an outbreak, we can keep it contained and deal with it.”
Though James-Mesloh predicts that the third case will “more than likely” test positive, officials are confident reopening the school is not a risk.
James-Mesloh added that if the test does return as positive, it will in no way affect Thursday’s reopening date.
Since April 28, 51 specimens of influenza A from Lee County have been sent to the state laboratory in Tampa. Fifteen have been ruled out as possible H1N1 cases, two have tested positive for H1N1, one is a probable case and 33 are pending.
State and county health officials are confident a major catastrophe has been avoided, but are advising that all hygienic measures be practiced adamantly.
Even though a full-fledged pandemic has yet to reach Lee County, the local health department does not want to downplay the danger still lurking.
“I don’t know if we missed a pandemic … we’re still in the midst of it. But we’re seeing a mild outbreak,” James-Mesloh said.