Operation Continuity

Buildings & Grounds Operational Continuity:

An inherent part of planning for the effects of a pandemic flu outbreak is to consider the operational aspects of the district during normal operations and periods of mandated school closures. This section will provide general information related to buildings & grounds activities and operations.

 

Normal Operations (Planning and Preparation Level)

  • Acquire training as outlined under the Pandemic Awareness Education section on page 128.
  • Ensure surface areas are cleaned regularly. Utilize disinfectant hand wipes on heavily used areas such as door knobs and light switches.
  • Maintain appropriate staffing levels in all buildings and respond to increased influenza outbreaks by increasing frequency of surface disinfection.
  • Acquire stockpiles of hand sanitizers, surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and non-latex examination gloves. Keep additional stores of disinfectant on hand in order to respond to increased outbreaks.
  • Meet with Orange County Health Department officials to determine proper cleaning and disinfection protocols during increased pandemic alert levels.

 

Normal Operations (Level 1 Alert) 

  • Continue normal disinfection and cleaning protocols and increase frequency based on local outbreaks.
  • Maintain stockpiles of items identified above.

 

Normal Operations & School Closures (Level 2 Alert)   

  • NOTE: School may be closed at this stage.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection frequency.
  • Distribute stockpiled material to schools as needed and or directed.
  • School Closures:
    • Assign custodial staff to their normal locations.
    • As staffing levels fall due to illness, redistribute staff as appropriate. If needed redistribute buildings & grounds staff based on needs not job title.
    • Ensure adequate staff is available to maintain facility mechanical systems.

 

Normal Operations & School Closures (Level 3 Alert)   

  • NOTE: School may be closed at this stage.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection frequency.
  • School Closures:
    • Assign custodial staff to their normal locations.
    • As staffing levels fall due to illness, redistribute staff as appropriate. If needed redistribute buildings & grounds staff based on needs not job title.
    • Ensure adequate staff is available to maintain facility mechanical systems.

 

Food Service Operational Continuity

Although food service operations are not needed during periods of school closure, there may be times during a pandemic when schools remain open. During these times it is important for food service to develop contingency plans.

  • Food service department should prepare for periods of staff shortages.
    • Consider reducing the number of items being served.
    • Serve cold lunches only.
    • Redistribute staff based on shortages.
  • Food service department must plan for minimizing exposure of students to illness.
    • Consider distributing packed bag lunches for eating in classrooms rather than cafeteria.
    • Consider serving food bulk style to classrooms.
    • Consider providing bottled water for use in the schools in order to minimize use of fountains.
    • Consider the use of masks for servers.

 

Nursing Operational Continuity:

During certain phases of a pandemic flu, school nurses play an integral part in helping to reduce its effects by identifying infection in students and staff, tracking and reporting influenza cases, and providing care for the sick until they can be turned over to the appropriate care taker. In order to operate effectively under the adverse conditions of a pandemic, school nurses must implement certain measures.

 

Normal Operations (Planning and Preparation Level)

  • Implement and or review procedures for the standardized surveillance/disease recognition.
  • 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.
  • Be prepared to answer general questions from parents/guardians regarding pandemic flu, bird flu, and seasonal flu.
  • Identify additional rooms for use as auxiliary health offices. If large enough, consider using as the main health office.
  • Identify areas that must be handled by a registered nurse and train other staff to perform certain medical support tasks. (Building Response Team personnel should be the first choice.)
  • Coordinate methods of communication between the nurses’ office and attendance in order to track illnesses. Include methods for both staff and student attendance information.

 

Normal Operations (Level 1 Alert)

  • Continue standardized surveillance/disease recognition. Begin heightened reporting.
  • Ensure N-95 respirators and additional supplies of surgical masks, non-latex examination gloves and hand sanitizer have been received. (Stored by Buildings & Grounds in district warehouse.)

 

Normal Operations & School Closures (Level 2 Alert)

  • NOTE: School may be closed at this stage.
  • Continue surveillance/disease recognition and heightened reporting.
  • Prepare to issue N-95 respirators and surgical masks as directed by health department officials.
  • Prepare for increased phone calls from parents/guardians. Have additional resource information available.
  • Communicate with the district Nurse Practitioner’s office regarding nursing shortages for your facility.
  • Open auxiliary health office or move operations to the auxiliary office as needed.
  • Consider the use of the Building Response Team for additional support if overwhelmed with sick students. (The building administrator must activate this team.)
  • School Closures:
    • Report to work if directed.

 

Normal Operations & School Closures (Level 3 Alert)   

  • NOTE: School may be closed at this stage.
  • Continue surveillance/disease recognition and heightened reporting.
  • Prepare for increased phone calls from parents/guardians. Have additional resource information available.
  • Communicate with the district Nurse Practitioner’s office regarding nursing shortages for your facility.
  • Open auxiliary health office or move operations to the auxiliary office as needed.
  • Consider the use of the Building Response Team for additional support if overwhelmed with sick students. (The building administrator must activate this team.)
  • School Closures:
    • Report to work if directed.
    • As school reopens, prepare to continue level 3 alert protocols. In particular, attention should be paid to surveillance in order to identify additional response actions.

 

 

Surveillance and Reporting Protocols

In order to assist in determining the size and scope of a pandemic flu as it finds its way into the local area, it is important that Orange County Health Department officials are provided with the latest information on flu-like illnesses. A component of this early detection and notification are the school nurses. The Middletown School District will work closely with the Orange County Health Department to track the progress of pandemic flu and its impact on the attendance of students and staff.

 

School Level Monitoring & Reporting: (Nurses)

  • Teach students, staff and parents healthy habits to prevent illness.
  • Teach procedures of care to provide for those who are ill.
  • Teach staff, students and parents, measures to limit the spread of the flu.
    • Hand, cough and sneeze hygiene
    • Social distancing
  • School Nurses will continue to send completed Monthly Report Forms to the Nurse Practitioner as per current district procedure. This report provides an accounting of monthly activity in the Health Office, including number of students seen for illness and communicable disease and number of students sent home for illness (fever, new cough, rash, vomiting).
  • School Nurses will report any flu-like illnesses and absences to the Nurse Practitioner. This includes any fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and cough and/or sore throat (in the absence of a known cause). Other symptoms may include nasal congestion, muscle aches and fatigue.
  • In the event that there is an increased risk of pandemic flu (District Pandemic Alert Level 1), the monthly monitoring will change to weekly. Weekly monitoring of staff attendance will also begin. If the Orange County Health Department determines that there is person-to person transmission of the new virus within New York State (District Pandemic Alert Level 2), heightened surveillance monitoring will be changed to daily reports of flu-like illness and absences for both staff and students.

 

District Level Monitoring & Reporting:  (Nurse Practitioner)

  • Conduct training for district nurses on contagious disease recognition/surveillance procedure.
  • Teach students, staff and parents healthy habits to prevent illness.
  • Teach procedures of care to provide for those who are ill.
  • Teaching staff, students and parents measures to limit the spread of the flu.
    • Hand, cough and sneeze hygiene
    • Social distancing
  • Staff or students with any flu-like illness (fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and cough and/or sore throat (in the absence of a known cause) will be required to stay home. If symptoms occur while at work or school, they will be excluded and referred for appropriate medical care.
  • Monthly Report Forms from each district building will be reviewed and compiled, noting any significant increase in student illness or absences.
  • At District Pandemic Alert Level 1 (person to person transmission of new virus anywhere inside North America, but none within New York), weekly monitoring reports of students and staff illness and attendance will be reviewed and shared with the Superintendent of Schools and the Nurse Practitioner. The information will also be forwarded to the Orange County Health Department who will monitor it along with the statistics for the entire county.
  • If the District Pandemic Alert Level rises to level 2, heightened surveillance monitoring will be changed to daily reports and this information will be forwarded to the Superintendent of Schools, the Nurse Practitioner and the Orange County Department of Health.

 

Bus Service Operational Continuity:

Normal Operations (Planning and Preparation Level)

  • Acquire training material from the district outlined under the Pandemic Awareness Education section on page 128.
  • Ensure buses are cleaned regularly. Utilize disinfectant hand wipes on heavily used areas such as door knobs and hand rails.
  • Provide Pandemic Awareness training material to employees.
  • Consider training additional office staff as drivers in order to cover shortages due to illness.

 

Normal Operations (Level 1 Alert) 

  • Continue normal bus disinfection and cleaning protocols and increase frequency based on local outbreaks.
  • Post informational flu prevention signs throughout the offices and garages.
  • Track driver call outs (sick) and review list of on call drivers.
  • Be prepared to use back up drivers, such as qualified office staff, if call outs effect student transportation.
  • Notify the district if call outs will impede student transportation.

 

Normal Operations & School Closures (Level 2 Alert)   

  • NOTE: School may be closed at this stage.
  • Increase bus cleaning and disinfection frequency.
  • Use back up drivers as warranted due to call outs.
  • Inform the district if driver illness may effect student transportation.
  • School Closures:
    • Communicate with district officials to determine length of closure.
    • Maintain adequate staffing levels and vehicle maintenance levels to ensure school re-opening is conducted in a timely manner.

 

Normal Operations & School Closures (Level 3 Alert)

  • NOTE: School may be closed at this stage.
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection frequency.
  • Use back up drivers as warranted due to call outs.
  • Inform the district if driver illness may effect student transportation
  • School Closures:
    • Communicate with district officials to determine length of closure.
    • Maintain adequate staffing levels and vehicle maintenance levels to ensure school re-opening is conducted in a timely manner.

 

 

Administrative Operational Continuity:

The continuity of administrative services could be greatly impacted during a pandemic. However, there are typical administrative functions that must be considered critical and plans developed to ensure important tasks are performed.

In the event of mandatory (Department of Health ordered) school closure, and or the number of illnesses in the district become burdensome, the following functions of the district must remain operative in order to perform critical services or tasks:

  • Payroll/Finance
    • In preparation for a pandemic, the business office should encourage all staff members to sign up for direct deposit.
    • The Business Office should determine the minimal number of personnel required to perform critical tasks and arrange for adequate coverage.
    • In the event of a pandemic it will be vitally important for staff, whether working, ill or home due to school closure, to receive a paycheck. Additionally, district generated bills for materials and services must continue to be paid in a timely fashion.

 

  • Buildings & Grounds
    • See Buildings & Grounds section for tasks and responsibilities.
    • The Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds will designate work locations and redistribute staff based on the progress of the outbreak.

 

  • Personnel
    • In the event of a pandemic there may be a variety of administrative tasks that are time sensitive and or regulatory in nature. Additionally, there may be employee benefit related tasks as a result of the outbreak.
    • The Director for Personnel should determine the minimal number of personnel required to perform critical tasks and arrange for adequate coverage.

 

  • Technology
    • In the event of a pandemic flu, the technology department will need to provide a variety of services in order to keep the district operational. Some of these may include:
    • Maintaining technology infrastructure.
    • Updating information on the district web site.
    • Updating and maintaining channel 20 broadcasts.
    • Maintaining critical communications infrastructure.
    • Preparing informational handouts for distribution.
    • The Director of Technology should determine the minimal number of personnel required to perform critical tasks and arrange for adequate coverage.

 

  • District Command and Control
    • During a pandemic when schools are closed and a high volume of staff members are ill, it is not unreasonable to assume that this will also effect key leadership positions in the district.
    • It is imperative that the district maintain effective leadership throughout the duration of a pandemic.
    • For command and control purposes during a pandemic outbreak, the chain of command is:
      • Superintendent of Schools: Dr. Kenneth Eastwood
      • Asst Supt for Administration: Mrs. Elizabeth McKean
      • Asst Supt for Instruction: Mr. Richard Del Moro

 

Resources for Distribution:

A comprehensive assortment of information related to hygiene, pandemic flu, bird flu and other related topics is stored with the district reproduction center. This information will be maintained at that location until it is needed based on the current Pandemic Alert Level. This information will be reproduced and distributed as directed in accordance with this plan.