Local health authorities and school administrators continue to respond to a difficult situation with the emergence of Swine Flu.
Dismissal and Childcare Facilities: Interim CDC Guidance in Response to
Human Infections with the 2009 Influenza A H1N1 Virus
Late Friday afternoon, May 1, the Center for Disease Control
posted a new page for school district closing.
Click here for the site
The CDC states, "If a school dismisses students or a
childcare facility closes, schools and childcare facilities should close for up
to 14 days depending on the extent and severity of the illness and in close
consultation with local and state public health officials (additional guidance
on duration of school closures will be provided no later than May 8)."
CDC also states, "To reiterate an important point, decisions
regarding school dismissal within these communities are being left to the
appropriate authorities but must involve consultation with local and State
public health officials, taking into account the extent and severity of H1N1
disease in the community. Schools (K - 12) and childcare facilities should also
consult with their local or State health departments for guidance on re-opening
The CDC noted, "The authority for decisions regarding school
dismissal and childcare closure may vary and resides in different sectors of
State and local government including School Superintendents, Mayors, Governors,
emergency management officials, and public health officials."
Resources of Brokers and Others
School District Continuity Planning
Referring to the current emergence of the H1N1 virus, a
major international insurance broker has the following comments posted on its
"A pandemic could escalate
quickly, last for months, and infect 25% or more of the world's population,
according to public health experts. Many organizations believe that at the peak
of a severe pandemic, up to 75% of the workforce may be absent from work."
These statements suggest that school districts face a
contingent disruption risk to their operations if large businesses that supply
services decide to temporarily suspend operations. A business continuity decision by a major
contractor for food service, transportation, fuel or energy systems could
impact numerous schools and force closure even though local health officials
have not recommended such action.
Steps School Districts Should Take
School districts should try to identify their weakest links - the critical points in their operations where staff back-up is limited or illness to key person may disrupt the supply chain.
These are some other steps that should be taken
based on recommendations of a leading business continuity services
business continuity management (BCM) plans include pandemic scenarios and
exercise the plans where possible.
district policies on travel, on hygiene, and on anti-viral medications and
health care support to ensure they are consistent with guidance from the
Centers for Disease Control and similar organizations.
highly populated areas, ensure the BCM plans allow for staff to work at
home where appropriate.
if there are any vital processes that must be maintained in a pandemic,
such as call centers, health services, and services vital to those most
what other core functions need to be kept running if the organization
becomes short staffed.
ceremonies may be in jeopardy if the H1N1 virus becomes widespread. Schools may face unexpected costs, depending
on rental contract agreements and availability of event cancellation insurance.
Summer travel plans
for teachers and performing groups may also be in jeopardy. Communication with staff and union officials is very important. The health and wellness of school faculty and staff health is a vital concern in this situation. The Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) provides guidance for workplace pandemic preparation.
Click here for the OSHA site on Pandemic Preparation