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D.C. Catholic School Closes for Swine Flu

Our Lady of VIctory School in Northwest Washington has joined the ranks of local schools closed because of the swine flu outbreak, D.C. officials announced early this morning.

A staff member at the school was identified late Monday as a "probable" flu victim, the D.C. Health Department said in a statement. School officials cancelled classes for the rest of the week, with plans to reopen May 11.

Officials said the employee, who lives in Maryland, was experiencing flu-like symptoms Friday while working at the school, which serves 190 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the 4700 block of Whitehaven Parkway NW.

Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington, said no one else at the school has shown symptoms but "we thought we'd better be cautious."

Our Lady is the first school in the District closed because of the virus, which has sparked worldwide concern but so far has resulted in few serious cases outside of Mexico.

Maryland officials said yesterday that they were closing a third school in Prince George's county because of the outbreak; there is also one school closed in Montgomery County, one in Anne Arundel and one in Baltimore County.

In Montgomery, schools Superintendent Jerry Weast yesterday questioned the continued closure of Rockville High School, saying there did not appear to be a "compelling reason" to continue the shutdown.

In a letter supporting the closing, Maryland Health Secretary John M. Colmers said there were "several suspected cases" of students and staff who were "still sick." That had not been reported previously.

-- Debbi Wilgoren, Jaqueline Salmon

By Washington Post Editor  |  May 5, 2009; 5:28 AM ET
Categories:  New Cases , Schools  
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