Flu the Coop

There is a fair amount of swine flu activity going on here in Texas, where there have been 26 confirmed cases (Google map here). Closures have started to occur. One such move was to suspend all interscholastic activities (sports, music, etc) in Texas for about 2 weeks. There have also been several school closures, including the Fort Worth district.

It's hard to say what closures are appropriate, and which are over-reactions. The low mortality of the disease is one factor to consider, as well as level of inconvenience and economic cost. As Coyote Blog points out, politicians have every incentive to over-react and no incentive to consider costs vs. benefits of actions. This applies to the current situation as well as in scenarios such as hurricanes when deciding whether to order evacuations.

That being said, I think the move to suspend school activities is a good one. These activities can be made up, and preventing busloads of kids from traveling around the state seems like a good precaution. When schools close, though, the important thing is what kids do instead. If they go hang out at the mall like young hoodlums, the quarantine effect is lost. Some schools are closing despite the fact that they have no cases, some just for one day to disinfect. That seems excessive, and disinfecting a school sounds like trying to bail water out of a sinking boat. Since the flu lasts for several days, and kids get their grubby hands on everything, I don't think a one-day disinfect would make much difference.

What do you think? Is this a legitimate threat, or is it overblown?

1 comment :

  1. I agree that disinfecting won't help. Kids are germ factories and wiping down my computer keyboards one time wouldn't help much.

    I'm on board with canceling UIL activities. My main concern when schools shut down, though, is how many kids will be without food or supervision during the day. I'm with you in thinking most of them won't sit at home and play educational games.

    Almost all of my kids are on free or reduced lunch, and almost all partake of the free breakfast in the classroom every day. I know there are many students in that same position in FWISD.