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Many students absent from Gregory and Snipes amidst H1N1 concerns

Gregory Elementary School and Snipes Academy are still on high alert after four students were confirmed to have the H1N1 virus. The cases were confirmed yesterday by the New Hanover County Health Department. Today, dozens of concerned parents kept their children home from school. Snipes and Gregory each had more than 100 students absent from class. The four students with H1N1 have been required to stay home for a minimum of seven days, but officials could not pin point just how long those students have already been out of school. As of last night, classrooms and buses had all been cleaned with disinfectant. The health department says there is no need right now to close Gregory or Snipes, unless more cases are discovered. "We feel very confident that our health department would tell us that they would want us to close the schools, since they have not done so we want to abide by that and we certainly want our children to be in school. We understand parents who say they don't want their child in school and who are afraid and we don't want to penalize those parents and those children,” said Dr. Rick Holliday, the assistant superintendent for support services. Administrators are still working to determine who else might have been exposed to H1N1. There is no word yet as to how the four students contracted the virus. Administrators will be holding a parent informational meeting at Gregory Elementary School next week. Parents of Snipes students are invited to attend as well. Health department officials will be on hand to answer any questions or concerns parents may have regarding the flu cases. The meeting is at 6 p.m. on Monday.

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