Our environment is totally polluted - with chemical and biological contaminants. Currently, the more evidently threatening ones in Malaysia are the haze and the H1N1 flu virus. There is also some other non-H1N1 flu virus going around that is causing many people to fall sick. Fever is the symptom of the body's way of fighting infection.
Last week, more than half of one Year 6 class in Caitlin's school did not turn up on Monday due to fever. The school suspended lessons for that affected class for the entire week as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of whatever viral/bacterial infection among the children pending confirmation from the affected children's parents on whether they contracted the H1N1 virus or not. We kept Caitlin out of school for two days after hearing the news, just in case. The school later said that the Year 6 children reported viral and bacterial infection, including two with chicken pox. That class resumed lessons today.
Since Thursday, the school has been screening the temperature of all children as they enter the gates in the morning. Those detected with fever were sent home. Today, 43% of Year 1 students were absent. Nine were absent from Caitlin's Year 1class while 13 were absent from the other class, because of fever. At dismissal this afternoon, the school declared lessons suspended for the entire week for both Year 1 classes. I happened to be outside the class talking to a teacher when the vice principal stepped into Caitlin's class to make the announcement. Immediately I heard cheers of happiness from the kids. Caitlin came out happy and excited that she's getting a holiday the next four days.
As for me, I've to start wondering how to get her to do some things she should be doing while at home, like catch up on practising on her drums and piano, and polishing up her Malay language skills.
Hopefully, no kids in her class or the other class has contracted H1N1 flu.