Flu Pandemic Planning For
The Concrete School District: Points to Consider by M. McGoffin, April 17, 2006
Mitigation: ways to minimize or prevent the impact of flu pandemic
On-going education through newsletters, bulletins, monthly superintendent letter with paychecks, e-mails from school nurse
Cross-train employees so that vital services can be maintained for as long as possible. This includes administration, classified and certified.
Designate an employee for example, the district secretary or school nurse to receive and send communication with the health department, OSPI and other districts.
Maintaining essential functions of the school:
What will you do when a high number of your workforce are out ill? Move employees between buildings? Combine classes?
What will you do when bus drivers are sick? Limit routes? Combine routes? Create hubs? Some parents will need to drive their students to school.
What are the critical functions required to stay open? Enough teachers? Food services? Secretarial help? Administrators to lead?
What functions could be suspended for up to 2 months? Sports? Specialistís services? Again, cross training could prove crucial to keeping the school open.
Teach staff how to recognize signs and symptoms of this kind of flu:
Fever, chills, cough, lasting longer and more severe than seasonal flu. If there is a documented case of Pandemic flu in the area, then people should take these symptoms more seriously and stay home.
EVERYONE needs to practice good hand washing throughout the day, covering coughs with sleeve and sanitizing common work areas (phones, lounges, workrooms)
Advise staff to prepare by keeping emergence supplies (food, water, medicine, cash) at home to last several weeks. If someone is sick, they should have food supplies delivered to their home rather than sending someone out to the store.
Encourage vaccination of employees against seasonal human influenza. One of the ways the avian flu could spread is by combining with a seasonal flu variety. The fewer people who get the seasonal flu will lessen the likelihood of this happening.
Monitor: Ask secretaries to notify school nurse of number of cases of flu symptoms from students and staff.
Communication: How will information be given to parents during a crisis? A crisis may last weeks and may occur in waves over months. The post office system may be impacted too. Suggestions: phone trees? Reader boards on Hwy 20? Neighborhood networks? Apartment managers? Notices at public places like stores? Restaurants?
Please contact me with suggestions. Thank you.