Top

What to do in the event of an H1N1 outbreak

With the media’s  attention focused on the spread of the H1N1 Virus as schools  open I thought  I would direct my attention to how schools should deliver instruction in the event of 100’s of students being absent or the need to close individual schools for an extended period of time.

Before anything happens, school leaders need to examine their emergency plans and to see how they are equipped to deliver instruction through the use of technology and what methods will be used to keep open lines of communication to students, staff and parents.  Next, staff should be made aware of this plan.

Schools should order a supply of Purell or other antibacterial gels for every classroom, the cafeteria and every office.  Machines dispensing these gels, similar to the one’s found on ships, should be placed in the halls.  Students should be instructed on the proper way to wash hands.  Signs should be placed in student and staff restrooms.  Tissues to cover sneezes should be supplied to every classroom.

Be proactive about disseminating information as it becomes available.  Establish “phone trees” with staff and with parents and students to quell rumors about school closings and numbers of students and staff that have been taken ill.

Post information about the school website in local churches and supermarkets.

The United States Department of Education has a list of resources for teachers and parents (www.ed.gov) including subject-matter lessons that are aligned with state standards.

Encourage students to set up “study chains” through text messaging to send questions back and forth to one another about material.

Some districts have encouraged teachers to remain in contact with their students through the Internet in case of flu-related closings.

Resources:

Centers for Disease Control; http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/k12

US Department of Education H1N1 Flu and U.S. Schools Answers to Frequently asked Questions: http;//www.ed.gov/adminis/lead/safety/emergencyplan/pandemic/guidance/flu-faqs.pdf

Talking to Children About H1N1: A Parent Resource: Produced by the National PTA National Association  of School Nurses and National Association of School Psychologists) http;//www.nasponline.org/resources/Talking_With_Children_About_Flu_Final_pdf

Share