Grand Island Central School District

1100 Ranson Road

Grand Island, New York 14072

Telephone (716) 773-8800

Fax (716) 773-8843


October 21, 2009

 Dear Parents,


Based on the number of phone calls our schools have received, we know that there are, understandably, concerns about the H1N1 influenza swine flu virus.  Please know that we continue to very carefully monitor the situation every day that our schools are in session.


Let me start with some information which may be helpful.  The Erie County Department of Health receives daily from every school district a report detailing the number of student and staff absences by school.  While I do not have today’s number as of yet, I can tell you that our absentee rate district wide has continued to climb more so at the Middle School and Kaegebein Elementary School.  In three schools we are running at an absence rate of 10% while our annual rate is typically 5%.  In the Middle School and Kaegebein it was 25% on Monday, a big increase over Friday in those buildings.  These numbers, we are told, are lower than most of our neighboring districts.  The Erie County Department of Health will initiate an action plan for any school when the number of absences becomes a concern for the Health Department.


We continue to communicate with Dr. Ehlenfield, our school district physician and Grand Island resident.  He has been very helpful in our planning process of how to respond properly to changing medical conditions.  Guidelines on procedures to lower the risk of contacting any type of flu were included in our letter last week. Further information can be found on our website including a link to the Erie County Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control.  We are communicating closely with Town of Grand Island officials on our becoming a vaccination site.  Those details should be forthcoming in the days ahead depending on availability of vaccinations.


Since health data remains confidential and can only be released by a parent should he or she chose to do so, we cannot say for certain that we have any confirmed cases of H1N1.  The Erie County Department of Health advises all school districts not to be overly concerned about differentiating between students affected by the seasonal flu as opposed to the H1N1 virus.   Keeping our students healthy and preventing the spread of all flu symptoms is our main concern, especially when absentee rates are on the rise.  As a parent, if you suspect your child has the flu, a visit to the physician, and as soon as possible, should help to reassure parents about the health condition of their child.


I am sure that all of you have seen information on how widespread the flu is expected to spread this season.  There have been daily reports from television, newspaper and online sources.  We are very fortunate to have an Erie County Department of Health that has been so responsive to the questions and concerns of school districts and parents.  We appreciate their guidance and follow their suggestions.  Whatever they believe is best, along with the advice of our own school district physician, we will do.  Absence rates will be higher than normal for months to come.  As parents, follow the prevention guidelines and seek medical advice, we will make it through the 2009-2010 flu season.  Any new developments will be shared with you as quickly as they come to our attention.  Do not hesitate to call a school or the District Office for information.



Robert W. Christmann

Superintendent of Schools