Swine Flu Panic Paralyzes Horace Mann

Horace Mann, New York's most Gossip Girl-esque private school, is closing due to SWINE FLU fears. If there's one way to revive the city's panic, it's getting private school parents involved! Update: Read the memo.

This morning the school sent an e-mail out to parents and students, saying that the closure was due to "an unusually-high number of student absences, the majority of which have been related to flu-like symptoms, including several confirmed cases of Influenza A, but not Swine Flu."

Just when you think the Great Swine Flu Panic of '09 is dead, it rears its porky head again. One NYC school employee has already died from the disease. But he was a public school assistant principal. Now that one of our fair city's most expensive bastions of trust fundee sequestering has fallen prey to the Panic, there is simply no telling how many calls to the mayor's office from corporate titans will result, or how many seeds of trauma for future book deals will be planted in fertile young minds. The nightmare has returned.

Here is the full email Thomas Kelly, the head of the school, sent out to now fully panicking parents:

Dear Horace Mann Parents,

After a great deal of thought and a thorough review of the information, following regular dismissal today, all divisions will be closed for the remainder of the week: from Wednesday, May 20th through Monday, May 25th. We have been monitoring an unusually-high number of student absences, the majority of which have been related to flu-like symptoms, including several confirmed cases of Influenza A, but none of Swine Flu.

In consultation with the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, we determined that it is in our best interest to temporarily close School and reopen on Tuesday, May 26th.

As of this afternoon, all after-school and evening activities are canceled, and there will be no late buses. All campuses will be closed to students, parents and employees while our Maintenance and Cleaning Departments work to ready to the School for next week. We will share additional information pertaining to our decision to close and the implementation of our virtual school plan in a special issue of Across the Divisions you will receive this evening.

While some of you may be inclined to pick up your child(ren) immediately upon reading this email, as a parent and Head of School I respectfully request that you allow the day to conclude in a normal fashion. Administration, faculty, and staff are prepared to discuss this matter with the student body in developmentally-appropriate ways prior to today's dismissal.

Your support at this time is greatly appreciated, and I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus next Tuesday.

Sincerely,

Tom

[Riverdale Ramblings, NYT]