Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell: Assembly Saves Schools from State Aid Cuts Due to Swine Flu Outbreak

June 22, 2009

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced Assembly passage of legislation she supported exempting schools affected by the H1N1 virus outbreak from the state-mandated 180-day school year, an eligibility requirement for full state aid (A.8710). The bill would ensure that several New York schools forced to temporarily close in order to stem the spread of the deadly virus do not suffer financially for following proper health protocol, Russell said.

“After confirmation that one student tested positive for H1N1, that District’s Board of Education did the right thing and shut down the school for two days,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “We cannot punish the students and taxpayers for looking out for the health and well-being of their children and staff. Moments after they announced the closure, a second case was confirmed within that school. Now, between St. Lawrence and Jefferson Counties several dozen cases have been reported, at least 12 of which in school age children. This is obviously a unique circumstance, and this legislation saves affected districts potentially devastating funding cuts.”

With nearly 30,000 cases spanning 74 countries, the World Health Organization declared H1N1 a pandemic – the first global flu epidemic in over 40 years. The state Department of Health put the number of confirmed H1N1 cases at 1,406 in New York.

“I commend all the area schools for working with the state Health Department and closely monitoring this situation,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “With this road block removed, officials can better focus on the matter at hand. I urge the Senate and governor to follow the Assembly’s lead and place the health and safety of New Yorkers above all else and make this legislation law.”

1 Chan, Margaret. “World Now at the Start of 2009 Influenza Pandemic.” World Health Organization, 11 June 2009. Accessed 16 June 2009

2 “Confirmed Cases of H1N1 Influenza Infection in New York State.” New York State Department of Health, 16 June 2009. Accessed 16 June 2009