Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Swine flu case leads Hillsborough officials to shut down two Dover area schools

DOVER — The school year ended early Friday for some families in eastern Hillsborough, after officials closed two schools due to a confirmed case of swine flu.

Dover Elementary and the neighboring Willis Peters Exceptional Student Education Center were closed at the recommendation of the county health department, after one case of H1N1 virus was found at Dover, said district spokesman Stephen Hegarty.

Officials had kept schools open amid reports of possible cases, after the most recent guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But once a case was confirmed, the county Health Department advised closing both schools due to the potential risk for students at the Willis Peters center, which serves around 115 students with cognitive or physical disabilities. Around a third of those students are considered medically fragile and at particular risk of health complications from exposure to the H1N1 virus, Hegarty said.

Last week, the school district notified parents at the Dover schools of a possible H1N1 case, advising them to take normal hygiene precautions, Hegarty said.

But no one at the schools heard they'd be closing until Friday afternoon.

Dover Elementary teacher Karen Jackson said she left school early to attend a graduation, not knowing she would never see her third-grade class again.

"I understand the students were very upset and crying and had no closure to the year as they usually do," she said. "We usually have a fifth-grade graduate softball game, and they go around to get signatures from their old teachers, since they're going off to middle school."

For teachers, too, missing those final days of class is a little heartbreaking, she said.

"I had a very good class, a good mix of students," Jackson said. "They worked real well together, good chemistry. When I told them I was leaving today, they said, 'Where you going?'

"I told them I'll see you Monday. I didn't get to say goodbye."

This month, the district closed three schools after finding two suspected cases at Freedom High and Wilson Middle.

But officials reopened them after three days, once the CDC relaxed its initial guidance to immediately close such schools.

Florida counted around 165 confirmed and probable cases this week, based on information from the CDC. There were 8,975 cases reported nationally, with 15 deaths. So far, no one has died from swine flu in Florida.

The virus continues to spread, but appears to be about as severe as the seasonal flu. Every year, about 36,000 people die in the United States from seasonal flu.

Times staff writer Letitia Stein contributed to this report. Tom Marshall can be reached at or (813) 226-3400.

Swine flu case leads Hillsborough officials to shut down two Dover area schools 05/29/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 29, 2009 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump's lawyers seek to undercut Mueller's Russia investigation


    Some of President Donald Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardons, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar …

    President Donald Trump is said to be irritated by the notion that the special counsel's investigation could reach into his and his family's finances. [Associated Press]
  2. North Tampa shooting leaves one man dead


    Times staff

    TAMPA — A man was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after an argument with another man escalated, police said.

  3. St. Pete City Council tightens building rules in historic areas

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — There's a battle being waged over the soul of the city's historic neighborhoods.

    A new larger home sits next to a smaller one in the Kenwood neighborhood in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  4. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  5. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.