Crist warns of back to school danger of swine flu

08/14/09 Seán Kinane
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Governor Charlie Crist continued his state swine flu awareness tour this afternoon in Tampa.

Florida’s Surgeon General, Ana Viamonte Ros, and its Education Commissioner Eric Smith joined Crist at Pierce Middle School as the Governor warned of back-to-school-season precautions for swine flu.

Crist was flanked by the chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board, Carol Kurdell and Susan Valdes. The Governor says there are three ways to help stop the spread of the H1N1 virus.

The state’s first Surgeon General, Ana Viamonte Ros, says that the back-to-school season could be a time for parents and students to make a routine visit to the doctor.

On Tuesday, the Hillsborough County School Board suspended its attendance incentives in order to decrease the chance of a swine flu outbreak facilitated by sick students coming to school.

Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith recommends that people donate hand sanitizers to schools. He says the state is providing tips to parents for reducing virus transmission because “health and education go hand-in-hand.”

Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros says the voluntary swine flu vaccine will be available by October.

The decision of whether to close schools in the case of an H1N1 outbreak will be at the discretion of local school districts, according to Governor Crist.

The Governor’s office says a toll-free swine flu information hotline will be set up by August 24th. That’s the first day all school districts will have started the academic year.

Florida Department of Health flu information

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