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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.


Flu jitters shut schools, spread concern and mobilize health officials

Swine flu is a global story with local impact. Find coverage of how it affects your community and state.
Reports on health, nutrition and fitness appear regularly. Look for a feature of interest (not involving flu) and see if it has useful information for you or someone you know.
Some people think media flu updates are excessive. Search for an editorial, column, letter or reader forum comment about the amount of coverage.

Coughs and sneezes are scary signs these days. We're on edge about the spread of a new virus that began in pigs and is called swine flu. The outbreaks could be more harmful than ordinary flu because we haven't yet developed natural immunity (disease resistance), so the federal government declared a health emergency and reminds us about basic precautions we should follow all the time anyway.

At least 226 U.S. cases had been reported as of last weekend, with at least one death. Federal health officials recommend that schools and child care facilities with confirmed cases close for up to 14 days. All schools were shut last week in Fort Worth, Texas, and other districts closed some buildings for sanitizing. In all, about 250,000 students nationwide had a sudden day off Friday.
Adults and pupils who feel ill advised to stay home. Thorough, frequent hand-washing and use of alcohol-based gels such as Purell is urged. Some people wear face masks in public, though it's unclear if that helps.

In Mexico, where the outbreak began last month, more than 500 cases were reported at over 100 people have died. The government ordered a five-day partial shutdown of nonessential government offices and businesses until the middle of this week.
U.S. precautions include shipping millions of doses of anti-flu drugs to states. Stricter steps to prevent the illness's spread could include discouraging or banning public gatherings. Globally, the World Health Organization warns of an imminent pandemic (epidemic over a wide area) because scientists don't know what this new virus might do and how long it will keep spreading.

Symptoms: Virtually the same as from regular flu - fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

President Obama says: "The White House has launched pages in Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to support the ongoing efforts . . .to update the public as quickly and effectively." -- May 2 broadcast address

Homeland Security secretary says: "We go through flu cycles every year . . . and we do have 35,000 to 36,000 deaths in the United States [annually]." -- Janet Napolitano

Front Page Talking Points is written by Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2016
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