By James “Buffalo” Saint Amour ’10
Rumors of Brophy having to close due to the swine flu were shot down by Principal Mr. Bob Ryan who says that while we might not have seen the worst of the flu “we weathered it pretty well.”
But this is not to say the school is taking the H1N1 swine flu lightly. Mr. Ryan said that he has even found himself washing his hands and using the school provided hand sanitizer more frequently.
Mr. Ryan also said that because Brophy’s population spans much of the valley, the idea of closing and letting the flu “run its course” in the community is not as feasible as smaller schools with much smaller communities might be doing at this point in time.
According to Mr. Ryan, Brophy currently has approximately 20 confirmed cases of swine flu, but he stressed this is not an exact number because it can be assumed that some students who have flu like symptoms have H1N1 but are not being specifically tested for it.
Even with the low number of confirmed cases, Brophy has seen a spike in its absence rate, which at one point in September flew to about 140 students, when it is normally somewhere from 30 to 40 students absent on any given day.
This year there are 1,270 students enrolled in Brophy. This means on one day Brophy was missing 11 percent of its student population.
However not all of these absences are due to H1N1 swine flu.
Mr. Ryan explained Brophy’s currently seeing cases of strep throat, colds and other common flu season illnesses.
This is not the first time that Brophy has dealt with a disease that has caused a sense of hysteria over its effects, the most recent being the Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bug a few years back.
Brophy’s head Athletic Trainer Mr. Chris White, who stressed he is not a medical professional, commented on the comparison of the two ailments, saying there is always going to be a lot of drama over any widespread illness due to its media coverage.
Mr. White added it is important to separate fact from media hype, and not to be led on by fear and paranoia.
He also said it is important to wash your hands and cover your mouth when you cough, and to stay home when you are sick.