EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

National News

May 4, 2009

Students back at NYC school after swine flu scare

NEW YORK (AP) — Students streamed into St. Francis Preparatory School on Monday morning, happy to return after an outbreak of swine flu but wary of close contact, and some equipped with hand sanitizer in their backpacks.

Swine flu sickened perhaps as many as 1,000 people associated with the Queens high school, according to the city health department. The school had 45 confirmed cases.

"I'm feeling great now," said Ivy Buchelli, 16, who said swine flu was confirmed as the reason she had a fever, chills and body aches. "After the long break, I'm glad to see everyone else and how they're doing."

"I'm just hoping the school's clean," she added.

Fellow junior Paulina Janowiec, 17, said she had swine flu.

"It's a little nerve-racking, being back in school, knowing that there was a swine flu outbreak in school," she said. "But it's good to be back."

Both girls kept up with homework through the school's Web site.

Green signs on the school's doors welcomed the students back and reminded them what schedule to follow.

The city has 73 confirmed cases of swine flu and six probable ones, said Thomas Frieden, health commissioner. Of those 79, three have no link to Mexico or St. Francis, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who welcomed the students back.

P.S. 177, a nearby public school that closed last week after some students came down with suspected swine flu, will remain closed until Wednesday, Bloomberg said.

St. Francis' principal, Brother Leonard Conway, said the children "have a lot of work to do" and were "excited about doing it." The students have Advanced Placement and Regents exams coming up.

"I'm just delighted and thank God that we're getting back to normal," he said.

Even as St. Francis reopened, newly confirmed infections and school closures were reported around New York and in other states.

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