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Public Schools Mired in Confusion Over Fever Checks

Posted August. 28, 2009 03:40,   


Public schools nationwide yesterday performed checks on students’ body temperatures from early in the morning.

As part of efforts to curb the spread of the H1N1 flu virus that causes swine flu, the government ordered the checks at all schools.

Certain schools checked students for fever before letting them on school grounds, but most were mired in confusion over how to conduct the checks due to lack of government instructions.

Sungdong Elementary School in Seoul’s Gwangjin district took temperatures for an hour from 8 a.m. before the day began in front of the school gate. Ten teachers took an hour to check all 650 students with five electronic thermometers.

No student, however, was found to have a fever exceeding 37.8 degrees Celsius. A high temperature is one of the symptoms of influenza infection.

Sungdong Vice Principal Choi Dong-yoon said, “After watching an evening news program at 9 p.m., I hurriedly went out to buy thermometers with the school nurse,” adding, “Five thermometers are not enough to cover all 24 classes. More are needed so we’re waiting further instructions from the government.”

Daehyun Elementary School in Seoul’s Gangnam district since Wednesday has taken the temperatures of all 900 of its students. Along with teachers, parents of students also volunteered for the work.

At Shinyongsan Elementary School in Seoul’s Yongsan district, teachers had the school’s 2,000-plus students form two lines to take temperatures one by one.

Universities also checked the body temperatures of professors and students before classes began.

Most schools did not check student temperatures yesterday because of lack of detailed instructions from educational offices. In addition, they had an inadequate supply of thermometers.

Geumhwa Elementary School in Seoul’s Mapo district decided to send any student showing abnormal symptoms to the school nurse instead of taking temperatures.

One school official said, “A training session for nurses held the previous day gave no instructions. Nor did we get an official note from the government,” adding, “We learned through news programs that certain schools were checking students’ temperatures.”

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