Educators share H1N1 preparedness plans


“Our H1N1 planning is aligned with our previous plans,” said Sheryl Abshire, chief technology officer of Louisiana’s Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, which suffered much damage and saw its schools close as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“The first line of defense is accurate information,” Abshire said. The district’s web site displays an H1N1 status for each school, including suspected and confirmed cases. School leaders and key district administrators attend regular training with a district risk manager, and staff are in contact with regional health services personnel.

“Staff confidence in being able to handle something like this has really gone a long way in the district,” Abshire said.

In case of prolonged H1N1 absences or school closures, the district has developed plans both for students who do and students who do not have home-internet access.

Students with internet access will be able to stay on track through an “emergency assignments” link on the district’s Blackboard portal. Those who do not have internet access will be able to obtain assignments through the district’s call-in system.

“It’s important to make sure that networks and end communication systems are operational” in the event of a school emergency, said Linda Sharp, CoSN’s project director for Crisis Preparedness.

Sharp said documenting your district’s actions in an emergency can be valuable for future planning, and it can be especially helpful for other districts that might be able to learn from your experience.

“Schools need comprehensive plans for any type of emergency or crisis that they could possibly experience,” Sharp said.

Links:

Consortium for School Networking

U.S. Department of Education H1N1 page

Discovery Education H1N1 information

Note to readers:

Don’t forget to visit the Preparing for a Pandemic resource center. With fears about the H1N1 virus, commonly known as “swine flu,” putting school leaders on high alert, we’ve compiled this collection of news stories and additional resources to keep you up to date on the latest developments in this critical story–and to help you deal with the crisis in your own schools. Go to: Preparing for a Pandemic