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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

School's in for Osaka students quarantined with flu at Narita


Staff writer

OSAKA — The Osaka prefectural board of education said Monday it will open an office to deal with the study needs of high school students from Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture, being quarantined at Narita airport because they have swine flu.

The office will open at the end of the month, about 20 days after the first students became infected. Details about the office remain unclear.

"The students are concerned that being quarantined and away from school so long will cause them to fall behind in class when they return. We're considering what actions to take to ensure they get caught up," said Akio Mukaiazechi, a prefectural education official.

On Sunday, Masato Nakanishi, head of the board of education, said the office will coordinate information with the health ministry and health officials at Narita airport and the hotels where other students are being quarantined. Prefectural officials are discussing what kinds of care to provide the affected students after their 10-day quarantine ends.

"This has been a tough time for the school, but reports are that the four who have been infected are in relatively good health," Nakanishi said.

Three students and a teacher from the school were quarantined after they arrived Friday on a flight from Canada with high fevers and were found to have contracted the H1N1 virus. Another 49 people on the flight were initially put up at a nearby hotel and will undergo monitoring until May 18.

Seven of the 49 developed flulike symptoms and were transferred to nearby hospitals, but six of these people had recovered as of Sunday and were transferred back to their hotels Monday for further observation, according to prefectural education officials.

Neyagawa school and Osaka prefectural officials received complaints from angry parents and worried local residents.

Some parents are demanding to know why the school allowed the students to remain in Canada after it became apparent the flu was spreading.



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