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Any pregnant teachers out there facing swine flu at school? Opinions/advice needed.

(10 Posts)
Gizboss Thu 24-Sep-09 13:47:48

So, my school has had its first confirmed case of swine flu today. I've got 2 and half weeks left to work before I go on maternity leave. The school have been brilliant about my pregnancy all the way through and have really tried to accommodate me when I've felt sick etc... I don't know what to do now as I don't really want to be in an environment where there is confirmed swine flu and it is likely to be spreading but at the same time I don't want to over react. I don't want to take the vaccination as there is no precedent. Do I go and talk to the headteacher? Do I have any rights at all here in terms of working from home instead of at school - it's difficult given the nature of my job. I don't have much of a timetable to cover at the moment but I wouldn't then be there to support my staff - I'm a head of department. Is anyone else dealing with this? Any thoughts?

katster37 Thu 24-Sep-09 14:35:09

I don't really have much advice, but just want to sympathise. I am also a teacher, and am due in Nov. We had swine flu confirmed before the summer holidays but none since, so far. I am also wondering what to do. I have been given a class and so far they have not worked out what they will do when I go on maternity leave. I am finding work hard enough without having to worry about swine flu - I really am regretting saying I would work until 38 weeks. If I were you, I would go and speak to the Head, who seems v supportive. If you don't have much of a timetable, could you do something from home? Atleast for a few days and see how the spread of it goes? Also, what has your midwife said? Mine was not great, and just said 'it's no worse than normal flu blah blah'. I might be tempted, if I only had two more weeks, to go early to be honest... Or sign myself off sick for a week and see how things are looking at the end of next week.

corblimeymadam Thu 24-Sep-09 14:44:02

Message withdrawn

katster37 Thu 24-Sep-09 14:57:36

I agree with BelgianBun - since they are not swabbing, anyone who rings up with a sore throat/temp etc will automatcally be diagnosed with swine flu, so could be that actual figures are much lower. Definitely still worrying though, and if it breaks out in our school, I would def consider signing myself off.

BelgianBun - wow, I want to work in your borough!! Would LOVE to have finished now. Sigh. Yes, we met up, was really nice. You should come along next time if you can!

julietbat Thu 24-Sep-09 15:13:30

We had two confirmed cases at school in the last week of the summer term. Our head advised the three pregnant staff to avoid coming in for the week. Does your head have a policy for 'high risk' people like you?

In terms of 'letting people down' and not wanting to make a fuss I totally understand but this is not the time to play martyr. I did with my first pregnancy and worked up to 38 weeks with a full timetable and extra responsibility. With hindsight I should've gone earlier and given myself more time to relax and prepare myself for the birth.

This time around I'm completely knackered (might have something to do with having an 18 month old dd running me ragged!) and when I went to see my head to request starting my mat leave a week earlier (I should have finished tomorrow) she was brilliant. I felt really bad going early because although I wasn't actually teaching many classes I had promised my HoD that I'd rework some SoW and I'd already had to take the second week of term off because of being ill (bad cold not swine flu!). But he, and all other colleagues who I talked to were completely supportive. Don't forget most of your colleagues will either have been through this or have wives who have.

Don't forget, we teachers always think we're indispensable - but we're actually notgrin.

I would go and see your head. If there is work you can do at home suggest some days doing that. But otherwise I would see about going early. You're only talking about 2 and a half weeks for them but those 2 and a half weeks could be vital for you in keeping you away from a possibly infectious situation. You might find all this is a moot point anyway because your head might suggest the same thing to you very soon.

Best of luck with the rest of the pregnancy and the birth!

katster37 Thu 24-Sep-09 15:20:00

JulieBat that is interesting about your Head advising 'high risk' people to stay off. We had 4 cases before the summer, and Head said that as from a certain date (I think end of June-ish) they had been told pregnant women had to come in, as the risk was in the community and not just at school (!?). TBH I had thought at the time that she should have let me work from home but didn't insist as there was only a week or so left. I think some Heads are much more supportive/caring/understanding than others. Hmm.

stressheaderic Thu 24-Sep-09 17:04:32

My Head too is of the "it's no worse than normal flu" opinion, but I'm a little worried. A close colleague of mine has Swine flu and there were a number of cases of it just before the summer hols.
I have a very heavy cold this week, have been in work all week but came home early today as was finding it just too difficult to teach (full timetable). I'm 18 weeks, not showing yet, and thought I'd just be able to get on with it - daft really, like the above poster said, no point playing the martyr, I have realised this now.

xfingerscrossedx Thu 24-Sep-09 17:53:13

What is it about us teachers? We have so musch pressure on us we don't allow any time for ourselves! I'm a HoD too and finding things hugely difficult. I'm 21 weeks and still not had any info on maternity or a risk assessment - wonderfully organised!

We've had staff and students off with swine flu - I've been antibaccing everytime I've touched anything, but no one is very sympathetic to the fact that swine flu is more dangerous for pregnant women. I have heard that a risk assessment should include a clause for infectious disease - don't know if swine flu would count in that. Personally, I'd be tempted not to go in if it got really bad.

Am also sick of people telling me how they worked until they dropped and were back in a couple of months... well I don't want to leave my baby after two months! (Sorry - ranting now)

Hope everything goes ok for you and your baby.

x

Gizboss Thu 24-Sep-09 17:54:48

Thanks Ladies, it is good to know I'm not alone with this. I'm going to consider finishing early - I'm 33 weeks now and wanted to get to 36 weeks - but still have such a lot I wanted to do for the department before I went (not to mention the financial implication) and am damned if I will work once finished - the maternity leave package is such a pittance anyway! I've decided to go and talk to the head tomorrow anyway and see what his thoughts are though I reckon he will follow the official line which in my borough is that it's ok for pregnant women to 'care for' /teach anyone who has a confirmed swine case in their family but should contact their GP if they have prolonged close contact (within 1 metre for more than 1 hour). Not very clear is it?!

daisy71 Thu 24-Sep-09 17:58:59

Hi, I teach in a primary school, and we went through the swine flu rigmarole the last time around (end of term). To be honest advice changed so quickly, it was difficult to know whether I was coming or going. In the end I had 14 children in my class go down with it and I was in really close proximity to them day after day. I did develop a flu like illness and stayed in bed for a couple of days, whether it was mild swine flu or not, I don't know, but I was about 6 and half months preg then and was ok otherwise. I don't think that there's much point in worrying personally, but I wouldn't take the vaccine. I'm now 37 weeks preg and still working (I must be mad) but no swine flu that I know of so far.......

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