Schools Urged To Prepare for Flu Pandemic
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell on Wednesday released a new checklist to help schools prepare for a flu pandemic and urged them to work with local health officials to develop plans for an outbreak, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The checklist includes tips like supplying each classroom with soap, water and paper towels or hand sanitizer and creating a "backup chain of command" in case employees become sick, according to the Times. The checklist also recommends establishing a "sick room" in the event of a pandemic where ill children can wait for their parents to pick them up.
According to Howard Backer, director of immunization for the Department of Health Services, schools play a major role in epidemics because infectious diseases can spread easily among schoolchildren and might spread to family members.
Schools might remain open during a moderate pandemic, but they could close for weeks or months in the event of a serious outbreak (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 9/14).