Parents to Keep Kids Home Due to Teacher's China Trip

Fearing the SARS virus, parents say they will keep at least 10 elementary school children home starting Monday when a teacher plans to return from a trip to China.

Bayview Elementary media specialist Gayle Grossman was due home Saturday night, and school officials said they planned to tell her about the parents' decision Sunday. Grossman checked with her doctor before taking her long-planned spring-break trip to the country where the SARS (search) outbreak originated.

Health officials encourage visitors to areas with SARS to continue their normal activities unless symptoms are spotted.

The parents who planned to keep their children out of the Fort Lauderdale school said they would stay out for the 10-day incubation period recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search) rather than risk their children's contact with Grossman. One parent said it doesn't matter if Grossman is sick or not.

"I just don't want to take a chance," said Virginia Gabriel. "If we wait until she develops symptoms it could be too late."

Grossman will not be asked to stay home if she feels healthy, said South Central Area Superintendent Verda Farrow. Grossman has an unlisted phone number and could not be reached for comment.

"We still take the position that she has every right to come back," Farrow said.

PTA president Tricia Blume's three children attend Bayview. She said Grossman got a mask and saw a doctor about precautions she should take before she left.

Worldwide, SARS has killed more than 290 people and sickened more than 4,600. In the United States, there have been 41 probable cases but no deaths. Florida has two probable cases.