Leader Blues

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TOP STORY >> Beebe to get swine flu shots

By JEFFREY SMITH
Leader staff writer

The Beebe School Board learned Monday night that the H1N1 influenza vaccine and the seasonal flu shots will be available for students and staff members at the end of the month.

Rick Duff, director of student services, told the board that the H1N1 vaccine will be limited to students in pre-K through fourth grade.

“The state is not sure how many vaccines will be available from what I understand,” Duff said.

The H1N1 vaccine is given as nasal mist. The seasonal flu vaccine is an injection and will be available to everyone. School nurses and volunteer nurses will administer the vaccines.

Students went home Tuesday with permission forms for their parents to fill out. The Health Department, which is sponsoring the immunization clinic, will bill parents’ insurance for the vaccines, but no child will be turned away if the forms are not completed.

The following two-day schedule will be used:

Oct. 27

– Early Childhood Building for kindergarten and first grade.

– Middle school for fifth and sixth grade.

– Junior high and high school for seventh through 12th-grade.

Oct. 28

– Beebe Elementary for Pre-K and second through fourth grade.

– Badger Elementary for second through fourth grade.

To limit the spread of viruses, Duff said students have been reminded to cough into their elbow and to wash their hands regularly. Hand sanitizers have been placed in classrooms, computer labs and cafeterias, he said.

So far, the number of reported flu cases has been low. Duff said of the nearly 3,300 students enrolled, fewer than 10 a day have been absent because of the flu.

In other business:

The board approved the purchase of 1.9 acres in McRae adjacent to the Beebe Middle School gym parking lot. Known as the McAfee-French property, it cost the district $15,000.

The board also approved the construction of a $27,984 wrought iron fence around the Badger Elementary playground using money left over from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus money.

The district had stimulus money remaining after replacing the doors at the middle school, ROTC building and the junior high.

The board discussed but took no action on the purchase of seven acres and an old house on West Center Street that has been offered to the district for $210,000.

Dr. Belinda Shook, school superintendent, told the board that the property will be auctioned Nov. 14. The district frequently buys property for future expansion. But the board would take no action until the property is appraised.

School board officers change every year by a vote of the board. The 2009-2010 officers for the Beebe School Board are Robert Jenkins, president; Brenda McKown, vice president; and Tommy Vanaman, secretary. Harold Davis and Lucy Mahoney complete the five-member board.