Last week, the division issued information packets to parents during the annual back-to-school “open house” event. The assortment of documents contained usual and predictable items: general school information, emergency forms, etc. But, in addition to the mundane, each bundle enclosed an odd letter from the division, attributed to Dr. Bruce Benson, Assistant Superintendent, which begins:
August 25, 2009
Dear Parent or Guardian,
Several cases of flu-like illness have been identified in this first week of school. While it is unusual to see flu this time of year, this is not unexpected. The new flu strain, novel H1N1, that was first identified in April has continued to spread in Virginia throughout the summer. The H1N1 flu virus has caused the same type of symptoms and the same severity of illness as the other seasonal flu strains that we see every winter.
Houston, we have a problem. The letter is dated August 25, 2009, but it was distributed on August 20—the week before school began. So:
- How could “several cases of flu-like illness” in Albemarle County Schools “have been identified in this first week of school” when school was not yet in session?
- Why was the letter post-dated five days beyond its actual distribution date?
- Why would the division knowingly disseminate inaccurate or misleading information?
Further inquiry by concerned parents yielded the following information:
- The letter (and its early distribution) was prompted by the health department
- The schools have not yet finalized a vaccination plan
- Once available, the schools plan to put the vaccine in “as many places as possible”
- The schools do not mandate the “regular” flu vaccine, but they were non-responsive about whether the H1N1 vaccine would be mandated
Given the controversy over the safety of the H1N1 vaccine,+ parents are justifiably concerned about a lack of forthrightness from the Albemarle County School Division regarding the distribution of this+ letter and about the delusive circumstances conveyed within it.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive! Could it be the echos of Marmion we hear ringing through the halls of Albemarle County schools?
See the controversial letter: