Langford shuts down City Hall due to H1N1, schools stay open

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford is shutting down city hall because of 1 case of swine flu, but Jefferson County Schools say they're staying open despite several cases already reported.

Jefferson county schools have had confirmed swine flu cases, but superintendent Phil Hammonds says the system hasn't even thought about shutting any of those locations down and currently has a 94% attendance rate.

"The recommendations given to us is if someone is ill, make sure they stay home until they can come back well instead of closing your building," Hammonds said. "So right now, we're going by that premise."

Dr. Hammonds says if a majority of teachers at a single school were out with H1N1, that could present a problem they would deal with on a case by case basis. But he doesn't fault any business leader for their approach.

"These are all new issues we're dealing with dealing with flu so early in the season," Hammonds said. "So I think everyone's making the best decisions they can."

Mayor Langford says he would rather be safe than sorry.

"If I'm going to err I'm going to err on the side of caution," Langford said. "I would rather take one day and prevent it on the front end rather than respond to it on the back end."

FOX6 News contacted the city to see how much it will cost taxpayers tomorrow in payroll for the off day, but the payroll department was unable to make that calculation by the close of business today.