Communicable Disease Notification/Contagious Disease Outbreak

Due to the nature of how a pandemic flu would start, its spread could possibly be tracked. With this said, there may be warning signs that the pandemic is getting nearer. In order to accurately time the proper action steps for a pandemic, it is imperative that the school district work closely with the local health department to determine if a pandemic flu has reached our area. It is possible that a pandemic flu could initially be mistaken for some other type of illness or it could hit our area in the first wave. In any case, it is important that any notification of a communicable disease be responded to and evaluated by proper authorities in order to determine the proper course of action relative to the disease.

 

The following checklist should be used whenever a notification is received from any source regarding a communicable disease outbreak:

 

Contagious Disease Outbreak

SEQUENTIAL RESPONSE ACTIONS:

This checklist is to be used to assist school officials to respond to a notification of a communicable disease. (If notified by the Orange County Department of Health about a pandemic outbreak in the area utilize the district’s “Pandemic Flu Outbreak Plan” outlined in this section.)

  1. Upon notification of a communicable disease from any source, confirm the report with the:
    • Orange County Department of Health (845) 291-2332
    • The physicians’ office or hospital (If written notice is delivered by student or parent.)
  2. If confirmed by the physician or hospital, contact the Orange County Department of Health.
  3. Notify the following district officials:
    • Superintendent
    • Director of Pupil Personnel & Special Services
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Building principals or designees (see Emergency Telephone List)
  4. Assemble a team to evaluate the situation and determine plan of action. Team should include; Building Administrator, School Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, and Orange County Health Dept. Official. (Based on the scope and nature of the disease, a Health Department Official may not be able to physically attend a meeting and will provide guidance via telephone.) The team will identify:
  • Source of contagion
    • Airborne or direct contact spread.
    • How contagious is the disease?
    • How many people are affected at this time?
    • What is the incubation period?
    • Will there be more cases expected?
  • This will determine if:
    • School will remain open during this period.
    • School will be closed until contagion is identified or still at risk of spreading.
    • If mass vaccination or testing will be performed on students/faculty/staff.
  1. Letters to parents/faculty and staff that identify the contagious condition of a student or students at the school should be distributed. Indicate that direction is taken from the County Health Department, and give an outline of the school district’s plan. Provide telephone numbers and web sites to families regarding further information related to the communicable disease. Include an information sheet on the applicable communicable disease. This information can be found at http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/index.htm
  2. Give clear concise directions to the custodial staff in the affected building. Take direction from the county regarding disinfection efforts. Make sure efforts for cleaning is throughout the entire building and not targeted to one classroom or location.
  3. Prepare a press release and anticipate calls or visits from news agencies. Ensure a single point of information release is maintained, preferably through the designated district PIO (Public Information Officer).
  4. If deemed necessary, schedule community meetings to answer questions and update information as needed.
  5. It may be necessary to activate the critical incident counseling team in response to loss of life or other trauma brought on by the incident.
  6. Upon conclusion of the incident a debriefing should be conducted and the checklist reviewed and revised as needed.