East Otero School District R-1

La Junta, Colorado

School Cancellation - October 14th - 16th

October 13, 2009

Parents/Guardians and Community Members:

In an attempt to be proactive against the outbreak of influenza, East Otero School District will be canceling school on Wednesday, October 14th through Friday, October 16, 2009.  Classes will resume on Monday, October 19th.

This decision has been based on discussions with Mr. Rick Ritter, Otero County Health Department Director.  Our situation has not only been discussed with Mr. Ritter, but he has also had discussions with the state health department and Dr. Ned Calonge, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Colorado.  We have seen a spike in the numbers of students and staff who are exhibiting the flu-like symptoms and have been sent home in accordance with the guidelines and protocols that we have been given by the state and federal health departments.  This is not a health department closure:  It is a district closure with input from the health departments.  We feel that this closure will allow students and staff the opportunity to begin recovering from their flu-like symptoms and also help prevent any further spreading of the illness.  Although this illness is in the mild to moderate stage, this preemptive school closure is an attempt to slow, or even stop, further spread.  Due to the high number of student and staff absences, we do not feel that the educational setting is currently conducive to learning.
The Otero County Health Department has asked us to remind you as parents/guardians to not allow your children to be out and about if they are exhibiting any of the symptoms of influenza (fever over 100 degrees, cough, and sore throat).  Please use good hygiene practices including hand-washing and shielding mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
If you have any questions, please contact either one of us.

Thank you,

Jim Sullivan

Rick Ritter
Health Department Director