Flu Fear Keeps Two Batavia Schools Closed; 96 Probable Cases in Illinois

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Byline: Russell Lissau rlissau@dailyherald.com

Two Batavia public schools shuttered because of the swine flu outbreak will remain closed a few days longer than originally planned, officials announced this weekend.

The bulletin came as state health officials increased the total number of confirmed or suspected cases in Illinois to 99.

Rotolo Middle School will remain off-limits until Thursday, May 7. Batavia High School wonEt reopen until Friday, May 8.

Both schools are in Batavia School District 101 and had been set to reopen Monday.

The announcement on the district Web site, bps101.net, said the closings were being extended based on a recommendation from the Kane County Health Department.

All student activities, practices and meetings planned for these buildings are canceled. That includes all home and away athletic competitions and practices and all extracurricular activities.

Community events or meetings planned for the two buildings until the quarantine lifts are canceled, too.

Additionally, health officials said students and staffers from the two schools should not gather in groups. That would defeat the goal of disrupting disease transmission, according to the announcement on the district Web site.

"The ongoing cooperation of student, staff and community is essential to ensure the safety of our children," Superintendent Jack Barshinger said in the online statement. "Our goal is to have our schools open as soon as possible. In order to accomplish that goal, it will take the cooperation of everyone."

Eleven probable cases of swine flu have been discovered in Kane County, but none has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Test results were expected over weekend but hadnEt come in as of Sunday afternoon.

A probable case is one thatEs been tested by state health department labs and is highly probable for having H1N1, state health department spokeswoman Kelly Jakubek said. A case is listed as confirmed when it tests positive with the CDC.

The most recent Kane County cases were reported Saturday.

County Health Department spokesman Tom Schlueter called waiting for the results frustrating but said the county is following the CDCEs recommendations to prevent the spread of the disease "as best we can."

Other Kane County schools have been shut down because of the outbreak. Haines Middle in St. Charles is closed indefinitely, while Marmion Academy in Aurora closed late last week but is scheduled to reopen Monday. …