Awareness, says doctors, is the best bet against the HIN1 virus.
But the schools in Delhi are finding the going tough. Parents, they complain, are not informing them about a child testing positive, making it difficult to track the students who could have contracted the virus.
Schools also want better communication from the Delhi government’s health department.
“Unless parents tell us or there is an official communication, there is no way we can know if a child has swine flu or not,” said Dr V.K. Williams, principal, Mt Carmel School, Anand Niketan in south Delhi.
The health department says Mt Carmel has reported one case so far, but the school doesn’t know who the student is.
The school has been sending home students showing flu symptoms.
Though none of the students or staff at Ahlcon International School in Mayur Vihar in east Delhi has tested positive, the school will remain closed for rest of the week.
The decision was taken on Tuesday after a Nursery and a class III student at sister institute — Ahlcon Public School, Mayur Vihar (Phase I) — tested positive late Monday.
"We haven't had any cases. Since parents are worried, the management decided to shut the school," said Ashok Pandey, principal, Ahlcon International.
Heritage School in Rohini, too, will now open on Monday. A student tested positive for the flu.
Suraj Prakash, principal of CRPF Public School in Rohini got to know that one of his students had tested positive through newspaper. “We got to know about it through a Hindustan Times report.”
As the report had mentioned the hospital where the child tested positive, he was able to identify the student.
“The parents had not bothered to inform us,” he said. The school gave a week off to class VIII B after the parents’ confirmed the report.
The health department, he said, should get in touch with schools with details of the affected students.
Delhi’s principal secretary, health, J.P. Singh said once their officers identify the child, schools are informed. “... It’s because of the help we get from schools that we can reach children who have come in contact with H1N1 positive child.”
Some schools are being more pro-active. The Gurgaon branches of the Shri Ram School, for instance, call up parents if a child misses school.
Last week, its Aravalli Branch failed to identify two cases reported by the media.
The school turned to parents, but heard nothing. A communication from the health department would have helped, said Mark Parkinson, director, Shri Ram School.