For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Zandra Lee, PIO, Public Health Division, (510) 981-5356

City Health Officer and Superintendent Bill Huyett agree to reopen Malcolm X Elementary

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, May 05, 2009) - The City of Berkeley’s Acting Health Officer, Dr. Janet Berreman MD, MPH, announced today that Malcolm X Elementary School will resume classes Wednesday morning. Dr. Berreman and Berkeley Unified School District  Superintendent Bill Huyett agreed to resume classes based on newly released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on closing schools and childcare facilities in response to the H1N1 flu virus.

“These guidances are evolving rapidly and we are adjusting our policies to reflect these recommendations,” said Dr. Berreman. “We are now reducing the spread of the virus by advising students, faculty and staff with flu symptoms to stay at home while they are ill and recovering. Control of the disease at this time depends on the responsible actions of all members of our community.”

A revision of the school closure guidance was issued by the CDC today because the U.S. cases of H1N1 have been less severe than we feared with few people needing hospitalization and only one death to date. The new guidance reflects the most current understanding of the scientific and medical facts.

Students at Malcolm X Elementary were dismissed from class Monday May 4th based on interim CDC guidance in effect at that time. Public Health efforts continue to focus on slowing the spread of this disease. Our thinking about how best to do that continues to evolve.

With classes resuming, the Berkeley Public Health Division and the CDC recommends that all students, faculty, staff and volunteers with flu like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat) stay home and not attend school or go into the community except to seek medical care for at least 7 days after the onset of their illness.

The City of Berkeley Public Health Division recommends reducing the spread of the H1N1 flu generally by:

The Acting Health Officer is in close communication with the Berkeley Unified School District. Parents and children have been notified of these changes.

 The City’s Public Health Division advises residents to check the City’s website and regularly for additional and updated information.