WHAT IS A PANDEMIC?
A “pandemic” occurs when a strain of the flu virus
mutates to become readily transmitted person to person and is
resistant to the common flu vaccines. In 1968 such a mutated variant
called the Hong Kong Flu accounted for an additional 34,000 deaths.
The most notorious pandemic was the 1918 Spanish Flu that killed
50-100 Million people world wide. The World health Organization has
declared that another pandemic can be expected within the next few
years. Because schools put more people together than any other agency
or industry in any community, it is prudent for schools to be
proactive and develop plans for handling an out break that could be
pandemic. Hopefully all schools have adopted the “all hazards”
approach in developing their Crisis Response Plans which will make
those plans easily adapted to a Pandemic Action Plan.
HOW IS THE FLU TRANSMITTED FROM PERSON TO PERSON?
The Principle means for spreading the flu virus is through
spray, that is, coughs and
sneezes. The Principle gateways for any flu
virus are mouth, nose and eyes. To some degree, people are infected by
directly receiving droplets from an infected person and breathing them
in or absorbing them through the eyes. However, the more common means
of infection is touching an infected surface (door knob, water
fountain, toilet handle or other person) then touching one’s own
mouth, nose or eyes.
HOW IS THE SPREAD OF THE FLU VIRUS CONTROLLED?
Those who potentially contact the most students should be vaccinated
as soon as vaccine is made available. Students with other health
problems should also receive priority in being vaccinated. Use
antiviral disinfectants before, during, after and whenever suspected
contamination may exist. Use barriers such as gloves and masks.
Restrict visitors and curtail unnecessary student movement and
extracurricular activities. Educate students, staff and parents on
prevention protocols. See more specifics below.
WILL THERE BE ANY WARNING?
The World Health Organization has developed a global influenza
preparedness plan, which defines the stages of a pandemic, outlines
the role of W.H.O, and makes recommendations for national
measures before and during a pandemic. The phases are:
Phase 1: No new influenza virus subtypes have been detected in
Phase 2: No new influenza virus subtypes have been detected in
humans, but an animal variant threatens human disease.
Pandemic alert period
Phase 3: Human infection(s) with a new subtype but no human-to-human
Small cluster(s) with limited localized human-to-human
Phase 5: Larger cluster(s) but human-to-human spread still
The world is presently at Phase 3. The Avian Flu or Bird Flu
which is a virus specific to birds has been found in over 100 human
subjects. Half of those infected have died. There is no evidence as of
yet that this virus has mutated or evolved to point that it can be
transmitted from human to human.
1. Pre-incident Planning and Procedures:
Identify the state and local agencies responsible for declaring
health advisories or emergencies and for officially activating the
district's pandemic influenza response plan.
Identify for all community stakeholders involved with the
operational plan. Give special care to identify those who will be
responsible for or help with:
Designate specific member of the School District to serve on the
Crisis Response Team for both planning and execution. These are
responsible for ordering, storing, inventory and placement of
Emergency Supplies and overseeing their use during an emergency. This
should include both
Crisis Kits and
Train the Crisis Response Team on the Incident Command System and
conduct periodic drills to insure proficiency in working with Command
Conduct Table Top, Command Post and District drills.
Coordinate all plans with the local Health Department and Office of
Emergency Management to insure that District Plans are both
Comprehensive and Fully Integrated.
Plan to have all agencies respond; prepare
to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours.
Plan on two waves of 6-8 weeks each over a period of several
Develop alternate plans for students who are on the free or reduced
breakfast/lunch plans as the school may be their only source of meals.
It will be important to continue providing proper nutrition even if
the school is closed.
Participate in exercises of the community's pandemic plan.
Develop a plan for alerting the local health department to a
substantial increase in absenteeism among students.
Publish and share lessons learned in doing drills so that Private
School and Home Schoolers can be better prepared and reduce the
overall community impact.
Perhaps the most important consideration is:
Keep the school going as long as possible and return to normal
operations as soon as practical.
For more details or to engage an Expert Consultant
call or email Keys today.
If your school needs help in establishing
policy or implementing procedures for a Crisis/Emergency Response Plan
and Team contact
Safer Schools.com today for assistance from the
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