Child’s Death Spurs More Flu Fears

The Brooklyn Paper
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By Michèle De Meglio

The death of a Brooklyn public school student has reinforced parents’ fears about swine flu.

“Parents are more concerned than ever to say the least,” said Doreen Daly, president of School District 20’s Presidents’ Council and mother of two children at P.S./I.S. 180 in Borough Park.

Last week, the city confirmed the death of 11-year-old Sarah Michel. According to published reports, an underlying heart problem may have contributed to Michel’s death. Michel was a sixth-grader at the Urban Assembly School of Criminal Justice in Borough Park. She is the 15th New Yorker to die of the H1N1 virus.

Custodians cleaned the Urban Assembly School building, located at 4200 16th Avenue, over the weekend and classes resumed this week.

Michel’s death is making Brooklyn parents take a look at their children’s schools and wondering, “Are they safei”

Tenise Stucker recently participated in a rally to have her daughter’s school, P.S. 99 in Midwood, closed due to swine flu concerns. Parents had said that 42 kids called in sick with flu-like symptoms.

“I think it’s calmed down but I’m still wary about sending her to school,” Stucker said.

City Councilmember Bill de Blasio offered an idea for how to calm parents’ fears and make schools safe — put hand sanitizer in all classrooms.

He hopes his proposal will become reality thanks to a new influx of federal dollars meant to fight swine flu.

“In light of this generous support, the city now has no excuse not to act on my proposal to install hand sanitizers in all school classrooms, a move that would help keep children safe and cost under one million dollars,”de Blasio said.

The city Education Department says school staffers tell students about “the importance of washing their hands with soap and water. And that’s what we provide.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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