School's H1N1 Strategy - No Touching

Linda Wadsworth of the University of Maryland, left, draws blood from Ethan Houley, 11, of Annapolis, Md., right, as Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Julia Hutter, second from left, and Gina Parsons of the University of Maryland, second from right, look on at Annapolis Pediatrics in Annapolis, Aug. 27, 2009. Ethan was administered the trial swine flu vaccine the previous week.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
A New York school district has some ideas for limiting the spread of the H1N1 flu virus during the upcoming school year. One of their suggestions - keep your hands to yourself.

School officials from Nassau County on Long Island are urging kids to limit typical forms of contact with their friends, reports WCBS correspondent Jennifer McLogan. That means cutting back on chest bumps, high fives and hugs.

The H1N1 virus is expected to reemerge this fall and the government health experts are rushing to prepare for a worst-case scenario that could see up 30 to 50 percent of Americans infected and 90,000 deaths, though Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said those predictions were .

Still, the figures are frightening, so it's important to put them in context, said CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. Special Report: H1N1

The H1N1 virus has largely been benign to this point, so the real risk is in the formation of a new strain resistant to current treatments.

A vaccine for the current strain expected to be available in October, but doses will likely be limited at first.

Around the world, officials are as schools reopen. But in Nassau, some students think the effort to limit contact among classmates is an impractical measure.

"I don't really think it's such a big deal, if you wash your hands after -- I think it's just you really can't avoid it," Glen Cove high school student Erica Cohen told WCBS-TV.

Some parents also think it's an unrealistic policy but many applaud any measure to keep their kids safe from the virus.

"Less contact would mean less germs and less illnesses and I think it's a good recommendation," said parent Donna Sita.

WCBS' Dr. Holly Phillips said officials are doing the right thing in raising H1N1 awareness, but a no-contact policy is hardly a guarantee on safeguarding students' health.

"Hysteria should be avoided, but it's good that the school district is emphasizing keeping kids safe. Not touching won't prevent transmission. The virus can live on surfaces and be transmitted via coughs and sneezes," Phillips said.

And another challenge for the policy - kids being kids, especially after coming back from a long summer vacation.

"It will [be hard] because you really like your friends and you didn't get to see them," said Middle School student Hannah Seltzer.