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Willmar schools vigilant, no change in plans with suspected Rocori case

WILLMAR - Willmar school officials are on watch as they follow developments in the spread of H1N1 novel influenza, commonly called swine flu.

However, a suspected case associated with the Rocori School District has not prompted them to change their plans at this time.

"We are continuing on the way we have," Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said Wednesday. "We don't have any indication that there's a danger to our students."

School officials are receiving regular updates from the state Department of Health, the state Department of Education and from local public health officials, he said.

So far, none of the Willmar principals has reported absentee rates that are out of the ordinary, Kjergaard said.

"Right now, we have not seen anything that would indicate we have the novel flu," he said, although there may still be some seasonal flu occurring in the area.

If there is a suspected infection, it will be handled according to the guidelines set out by local and state officials, he said.

The person suspected of having the H1N1 flu is affiliated with Rocori Middle School, which was closed voluntarily Wednesday by school officials. A nearby parochial school was also closed as a precaution, as the two schools share some facilities.

Willmar and Rocori athletic teams are in the same conference and the high school teams have competed this spring in baseball, softball and golf. Most of the competitions were a week ago or longer.

The boys golf teams both participated in an invitational meet in St. Cloud on Monday. New London-Spicer boys also competed. The girls golf team participated in a conference meet Monday, but Rocori did not compete in that.

Junior High Principal Mark Miley said he was not aware of recent contact between Willmar and Rocori junior high teams.

Right now, school officials are trying to "keep people calm and stay informed," he said.