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Woodmont Elementary to re-open early after swine flu scare

Woodmont Elementary School will re-open at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, earlier than expected after the health department closed the school April 30.

H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, had prompted health officials to close Woodmont; the school underwent a thorough cleaning.

School officials found out Thursday afternoon just before school let out that one student had a highly probable case of swine flu.

The school was automatically shut down for seven days, putting students back in the classroom on May 8. However, since May 8 was already scheduled to be a non-student day, the first day students were scheduled to be back was May 11.

However, King County Public Health Department announced Monday morning that due to the spread of swine flu, closing all schools with a suspected case for seven days is no longer reasonable — and scrapped the policy.

Federal Way Public Schools announced later on Monday that the school would reopen at 10:15 a.m. May 5.

There will be no morning kindergarten, however.

The new policy is to send sick staff and students home, but not close the school.

As of Monday, no cases in Washington state have been confirmed. However, tests are still pending. There are 22 suspected cases in King County.

Although located in Des Moines, is in the Federal Way School District. Until students return, the school is getting a cleaning from facilities staff, spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

"The district is reminding students and parents about prevention," Turner said. "We have sent a letter home to alert them to the situation and the three best ways to keep kids safe."

The district is still looking into how or whether students would make up the missed days.

The threat of swine flu is affecting more than just schools.

The health department has announced that the symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people with swine flu also reported diarrhea and vomiting. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Similar to seasonal flu, swine flu may make chronic medical conditions worse.

However, unless symptoms are worse than what you would typically expect for a flu, do not seek medical attention, the health department said.

Learn more

For more information, call the Seattle King County Public Health Department at (206) 296-4949 or visit www.kingcounty.gov/health or visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site: www.cdc.gov. Also contact FWPS Health Services Coordinator Sue Overton at (253) 945-4575.

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