As four schools are reopening today after large numbers of students (and teacher) have come down with swine flu-like symptoms, six more schools—four in Queens, two in Brooklyn—are closing. The Department of Education has finally put a list of closed schools as well as open schools with their attendance rates online— the third letter in the code represents the borough (M for Manhattan, X for the Bronx, K for Brooklyn, Q for Queens and R for Staten Island). For instance, Louis Brandeis High School in Manhattan has an attendance rate of 64% and Richmond Hill High School in Queens has one of 65%.
All told, 56 people in NYC are hospitalized due to swine flu and the Post says that one of them is on a ventilator (there are 240 cases citywide). Parents are still flocking to hospitals. The NY Times reports, "Is it a deadly scourge, a Stephen King novel come to life, or only a mild inconvenience? The emergency room is the place where public relations and public fears confront science, where families go to find peace of mind." And some doctors seem a little weary. One doctor said, "The overwhelming majority, you would look at them and say that they’re fine. You would be surprised that they’re here at all.” One mother said that a doctor told her, "I could look in your eyes and tell who’s really sick," to which she replied, "I’m glad you can, because I can’t."
United Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten took the city and Mayor Bloomberg to task for not doing more, like shutting down schools where 1.5% of the students have fever. One teacher at I.S. 227 told the Daily News, "I've never seen anything like this in my 26 years in the board of education. I don't care what the city says, this is nothing like the normal flu in winter."