The New York City Health Department also recommended closing three more school buildings in Queens for up to five school days after documenting unusually high and sustained number of influenza-like illness over a number of days.
The New York Department of Education has put a guide on its Web site for parents whose kids are home because their schools are closed. The link includes homework packets. CLICK HERE for the DOE guide.
The three school buildings will be closed beginning Tuesday, May 19th.
That brings the total number of schools in New York City to 16.
City health officials had announced Sunday that four Queens public schools and one Catholic school would close beginning Monday.
Each of the schools had students with flu-like illness last week.
Meanwhile, St. David's School, a Catholic boys school at 12 East 89th Street on the Upper East Side, also decided to close Monday.
They had not been asked to close by Health Department, but decided to make the move as a preventative measure.
School officials sent the following letter to parents:
"We have decided to close school for tomorrow, Monday, May 18, 2009 due to continuing cases of flu like symptoms being reported late today, Sunday. We are requesting all those with flu like symptoms to contact the school tomorrow so that we make get a good sense of where we stand before further decisions are made. We have not been asked to close by the NYC Department of Health, but prefer to be as proactive as possible in preventing the spread of this virus. We will seek further advise from relevant authorities tomorrow as for the best next steps, and as always, we will keep you informed.
Six schools were closed last week after hundreds of students became ill with suspected swine flu symptoms. An assistant principal at one school remained critically ill Sunday.
Those six schools are:
New York City's first outbreak of swine flu occurred about three weeks ago, when more than 1,000 teenagers at a Catholic high school in Queens began falling ill following the return of several students from vacations in Mexico.
"We are now seeing a rising tide of flu in many parts of New York City," New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said. "With the virus spreading widely, closing these and other individual schools will make little difference in transmission throughout New York City, but we hope will help slow transmission within the individual school communities. Given the large number of cases, it is entirely possible that in the coming days there will be people with severe illness from flu, particularly among people who have underlying health problems."
In addition to suspending some schools with unusual clusters of illness, the Health Department advises any New Yorker who has flu symptoms and also has an underlying health condition such as asthma, pregnancy, emphysema or other lung disease or diabetes; a compromised immune system or cancer; to seek medical treatment. In addition, if an individual with such a medical condition has household or other close contact with someone with influenza, they should see their doctor to determine whether preventive medicine is needed. For students, staff and household members of affected students and staff at schools which have been closed, those who have an underlying medical condition as stated above should also see their doctors to discuss the need for preventive medicine. ---
For facts about influenza, and more information about swine flu, please visit the Health Department and CDC websites. Some specific resources:
From New York City Health Department
Facts about flu
From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
General information about swine flu
Swine Flu Case Definitions
Swine Flu Infection Control and Patient Care
Preventing the Flu