At Home: Federal government urges schools and daycares to prepare for H1N1
As Canada’s schools and daycares get ready for the September rush, the federal government is urging them to be prepared for a possible second outbreak of the swine flu, also known as H1N1.
Among other recommendations, the government is advising school officials to be diligent about cleaning practices and to “promptly isolate children who fall ill with flu-like symptoms,” as the National Post reports.
The Public Health Agency of Canada issued the guidelines this week. Although the first wave of H1N1 infections has faded from the headlines there are concerns that, like past pandemics, a second, stronger wave of cases may be waiting to strike.
The guidelines are aimed primarily at schools and daycare centres because, as Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq told reporters, they ?are known settings for influenza transmission.
“However,” she added, “these institutions also have the ability to identify potential H1N1 activity and with the help of these documents, can implement measures to limit transmission.”
The swine flu pandemic first hit Canada at the end of the school year, so only time will tell whether the protocols will be effective in limiting the spread of the illness. Along with an increased focus on cleaning practices, the government recommends “identifying sick students or staff as early as possible” and removing them from the classroom. The Public Health Agency of Canada isn’t recommending any school closures, and a vaccine is expected to be available by the end of November.
In Foreign News: UK grant will aid 600,000 Bangladesh school children
In Bangladesh, where 67 million adults are illiterate and three million children have no access to education at all, a British government grant will ensure that at least some students can continue their schooling. The UK’s Department for International Development (Dfid) has committed over $30 million in emergency funding for pre-school and primary education.
As the BBC reports, the funds will ensure primary education for some 600,000 poverty-stricken children. UK officials say that 65 percent of the pupils who will benefit are girls.
With a shortfall in education funding, some 25,000 non-formal schools in Bangladesh were in danger of closing. Along with keeping classrooms open for thousands of primary students, the Dfid grant “will also help older children by making sure 2,500 after-school clubs for teenagers, 100 community centres and 150 secondary schools stay open.”
Mike Foster, Britain’s International Development Minister, notes that “the UK’s grant will guarantee that hundreds of thousands of boys and girls will continue to get the decent education they deserve and give them the chance of a brighter future.” The funds will be distributed through BRAC, a long-established Bangladeshi non-governmental organization.