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Stories Added - October 2009
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Tabler pleads guilty in cell phone smuggling
Polk County Enterprise - October 2009
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — While other Texas public schools are having to cancel classes due to a large number of absences from flu-like illnesses, Livingston Independent School District officials reported attendance is improving on its campuses. Huntsville school officials cancelled classes Tuesday and Wednesday after 12 percent of its students were out sick. The closure prompted football coaches to reschedule a junior high football game between Livingston and Huntsville that was originally set for Tuesday. Officials were planning to play that game in Livingston Thursday. All campuses in LISD are reporting attendance well above the 90 percent mark. The high school had the greatest number of absences, but 93.4 percent of its students were in class this week.
The junior high had 96.1 percent in class; the intermediate campus was at 95 percent; Timber Creek Elementary 96.5 percent and Pine Ridge Elementary 94.1 percent. “Overall, we are holding steady with attendance up from two weeks ago,” LISD spokesman Gregg Faith said Wednesday. At a meeting of LISD’s board of trustees held Sept. 21, Livingston High School Principal Barbara Shaw said attendance at her campus was at 92.7 percent. Attendance has rebounded from a peak of 126 absences, dropping the attendance rate to 89 percent. There are 1,144 students at the high school campus. “I think what we’re doing is working,” Faith said. Faith said LISD is fogging all its buildings with a germicide once a week. They are also encouraging students and staff to use alcohol based hand sanitizer many times throughout the day. School nurses are sending home any student with a fever and advising parents not to have the student return to campus until they have gone 24 hours without fever or fever-reducing medications.
In North Texas, a 16-year-old girl died of the H1N1 virus over the weekend, although health officials are saying her illness was complicated by a pre-existing condition. Lana Trinh attended Richardson Berkner High School where she was taught by specialists in a “self-contained” special education environment. The unnamed medical condition that kept her out of mainstream classes also put her at a higher risk of severe complications from the flu, school officials told media outlets in Dallas. Trinh was the fifth flu death in Dallas County this year. In Fort Worth, a 14-year-old middle school student died Sunday after first exhibiting flu symptoms Wednesday, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services. A 12-year-old girl in Corpus Christi died Tuesday after the H1N1 flu caused her brain to swell.
Health District officials said she stayed home from school Friday and was hospitalized Saturday. An initial brain scan Saturday was normal, but within hours she had to be placed on a ventilator due to the swelling. Texas has had 41 deaths associated with H1N1 flu, reports from the Texas Department of State Health Service said. For the week ending Sept. 19, the Texas Department of State Health Services said flu levels are “widespread.”. Of 906 specimens that tested positive for Influenza A, 32.5 percent of those were the H1N1 subtype.