Eighth-grader OK’d for Washington trip

HUDSON – A Memorial School eighth-grader is on the way to Washington, D.C., with roughly 250 classmates this morning after school officials reversed an earlier decision to keep the student home out of concerns he or she may have been exposed to the H1N1 virus last week.

Superintendent Randy Bell said at Monday night’s School Board meeting that the unidentified student was originally excluded from the Washington trip because he or she had traveled to Mexico during last week’s school vacation.

Over the weekend, he said, state health officials advised, in one of several conference calls with Hudson officials, that the student stay home because the virus, commonly called swine flu, was especially prevalent in Mexico and was likely being spread by travelers.

But Monday afternoon’s conference call bore some good news: Officials determined that the outbreak isn’t “a travel-related virus,” Bell said, clearing the way for the student to start packing.

Bell also said health officials have lifted their seven-day shutdown order for schools where a student is diagnosed with swine flu.

“I’m relieved we’re at the place we are now,” Bell said. “The guidelines changed dramatically today.

“We’ve spent so much time with it over the last few days,” he added, telling the board that school nurses were collectively inundated with visits by more than 400 students Monday.