Pandemic Response Actions

Planning & Preparation Level

  • Monitor national situation through communication with County of Orange and NYS Departments of Health.
  • Communicate with other districts, BOCES, police, health services, media relations and other departments for planning efforts.
  • Brief the superintendent on a regular basis and identify essential staff that can maintain the district’s facilities operations during an emergency.
  • Meet and coordinate activities with County of Orange DOH Public Health Officials.
  • Review the plan for the districts response to Pandemic Influenza outbreak.
  • Develop a policy for suspension of classes due to a Pandemic Influenza outbreak.
  • Determine the roles and the responsibilities of faculty and staff to prevent the spread of influenza.
  • Decide how and when to encourage or require students, faculty & staff to stay home when they are mildly ill.
  • Ensure that standardized surveillance/disease recognition procedures are in place and implemented.
  • Educate students, faculty and staff on how and why it is important to improve personal hygiene. Use simple non-medical ways to reduce the spread of influenza such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands and staying home if you’re sick.
  • Work with County of Orange DOH Public Health Officials to determine whether the schools should be cleaned differently or more often if a pandemic occurs.
  • Consider alternate learning strategies such as collaborative agreements with public television or local cable access stations, teleconferencing, lessons on CDs or online for children with Internet access at home.
  • Review the health needs of students. Some students may have a greater risk of infection. Encourage those families to talk to their health care provider. Some may need to be more cautious in keeping children at home.
  • Acquire HEPA Air Filter Units and N-95 respirators for Health Offices and School Nurses, surgical masks, disinfecting wipes for B&G staff to sanitize door knobs and other surfaces and waterless hand sanitizer systems for faculty, staff, students and visitors.
  • Train nurses, faculty and staff in flu-symptom recognition.
  • Remember that a person who is infected doesn’t show symptoms right away. Children who are getting ill may exhibit different behavior than usual, such as eating less or being irritable.
  • Educate staff, students and parents about the differences between annual/seasonal flu, bird flu or any flu- like illness, and what could occur in a pandemic.

 

Level 1: Anywhere inside North America (Except New York)

  • Essential Health Office staff will receive N-95 respiratory protection training and fit testing.
  • Provide updates to the BOE on a periodic basis and discuss what information is being given to District Wide Health and Safety Committee.
  • Meet to discuss methods to provide regular updates to staff, students and parents on preparedness and response activities. The team should meet approximately once a month.
  • District Wide Health and Safety Committee will meet with BOCES Risk Management to be informed of the provisions of New York State Executive Law 2-B and NYS Public Health Laws which authorize officials to order certain actions (i.e. The County Commissioner of Health has the authority to suspend mass gatherings or to order schools to close for a specific period of time).
  • Begin Heightened Surveillance Reporting.
  • Send out Parent Letter #3 initial Outbreak, informing parents that schools remain open; include tip sheets and informational resource list.
  • Work with County of Orange DOH Public Health Officials to issue a press release announcing that schools remain open but parents need to prepare.
  • Post flu prevention signs throughout school facilities and administrative offices.
  • Encourage all students, faculty and staff to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after bathroom use and after sneezing and coughing. When hand washing is not possible, school should consider providing hand sanitizing rubs that contain at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol- based sanitizers cause skin dryness, irritation and rashes so provide an emollient, lotion or cream for moisturizing.
  • Make sure any additional cleaning is carried out throughout the building and not targeted to one classroom or site.

 

Level 2 Anywhere in New York (In addition to Level 1 actions)

  • Distribute N-95 respirators and surgical masks to Health Offices for issuing to district community as specified by the Orange County Commissioner of Health.
  • Consider possible restrictions to athletic events, vendors, visitors and conferences/group activities.
  • BOCES Risk Management will review the situation with the Orange County Health Department as the pandemic progresses (or at least weekly) and provide updates to the BOE and superintendent.
  • Prepare for calls to the schools from parents seeking information. Be prepared to direct parents to the proper source for more information. All schools should have information on a variety of pandemic, educational, and health resources.

 

Level 3: In Orange County (In addition to Level 2 actions)

  • BOCES Risk Management, after consultation with the Orange County Department of Health, will explain details to the BOE of the suspension of certain activities, including sporting events, field trips, fine art performances and other large group activities as specified by the Orange County Commissioner of Health.
  • BOCES Risk Management, after consultation with the Orange County Department of Health, will explain details to the BOE that activities at district cafeterias, dining and other rooms i.e. (faculty rooms) be suspended as ordered by the O. C. Commissioner of Health.
  • BOCES Risk Management, after consultation with the Orange County Department of Health, will explain details of the order to BOE to close school as a means to prevent the further spread of pandemic influenza. Issue parent letter #4
  • BOCES Risk Management, after consultation with the Orange County Department of Health, will explain details to the BOE of the order to re-open schools. Issue parent letter # 5.
  • Return to Heightened Surveillance Reporting.
  • Continue monitoring the national situation through communication with County of Orange and NYS Departments of Health.
  • If students show signs of illness start Level 3 procedures again.