I was doing some swine flu reporting for The New York Times yesterday, focusing on the school closings in Ft. Worth. It was the first district to shut down all of its 144 schools, keeping 80,000 kids at home until May 11.
The decision has caught a little heat from people who think it was extreme, some infectious disease physicians, for example, who don’t live in Ft. Worth. The Superintendent told me that after four different schools had cases, with affected kids having siblings in other district schools, the four could jump to twelve overnight. So, as a precaution, everybody stays home. It was not an easy decision, as this is state testing week in Texas, something taken seriously here as schools are ranked on their students’ performance. Knowing this, the parents I spoke to seemed to appreciate the caution taken. And, they were doing what they needed to do to modify work schedules, sensing that employers would be flexible. There was a community spirit about the whole thing, not a panic.
To me, fifty miles away, I appreciate the caution taken, too.