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Swine Flu Closing Fort Worth Schools

Workers sanitize recently closed Arlington Heights High School

By FWISD Media Statement

Fort Worth – Notice from Fort Worth ISD-

The Fort Worth Independent School District will temporarily close all schools until further notice, effective Thursday, April 30, 2009. Schools will likely not reopen any sooner than Monday, May 11.

This follows the official confirmation of one case of swine flu at one campus -- previously reported as a probable case --and the announcement that there are three other probable cases at three other schools.

Superintendent Melody Johnson, Mrs. Lou Brewer, director of the Tarrant County Public Health Department, and Dr. Sandra Parker, medical director of the Tarrant County Public Health Department, jointly made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday evening.

"We have been diligently following the recommendations of our local public health authorities since this crisis first began," said Dr. Johnson. "We will continue to work with the senior-most staff of the local health department."

Dr. Parker additionally urged parents not to send their children to day care or any venue where groups of children may gather. Dr. Johnson and Dr. Parker both said they realized this measure will cause a hardship, but praised the community spirit of Fort Worth in responding to this crisis.

"Mayor Moncrief often talks about the Fort Worth way' and this is indeed an example of how the community can rally to support the health and well-being of students, their families and the District," Dr. Johnson told reporters.

Only essential FWISD staff will report for duty. For Thursday included in that essential employee group are: bus drivers, custodial workers, and maintenance and operation employees. Essential duty personnel also include Division of Technology and ERP employees. Employees should check with supervisors with any questions.

Solutions about missed work days are being discussed and will be communicated.

The District has established a hotline to answer parents' questions about this measure. That number is 817-871-2222 and will be operational between 8 .am. and 5 p.m. weekdays, starting Thursday morning. April 30. Also, essential offices will be open and can answer any questions regarding the effects of this closure. Those offices include Communications, School Leadership, Human Resources, Parent and Public Engagement, Curriculum and Instruction, Business and Finance and District Operations.

Additional details will be added to the District Web site and broadcast on the District TV Channels/Charter Cable 30 and AT&T U-verse 99 as they become available.