4:180-AP1 School Action Steps for Pandemic Influenza or Other Virus/Disease

Building a strong relationship with the local health department and emergency medical agencies is critical for developing a meaningful school action plan to address pandemic influenza (flu) or other virus/disease.  The key planning activities in this checklist should build upon the School District’s existing contingency plans.

The following is a list of important step-by-step actions school officials should take before a pandemic flu or other virus/disease  outbreak.  This list needs to be repeated when an outbreak has several cycles or waves.

Prior to Outbreak/Preparedness and Planning Phase

Actor Action
Superintendent or designee Identify Pandemic Planning Team to operate as a Superintendent Committee and includes one or two School Board members, administrators, and staff members.
Superintendent and School Board Identify, modify, and monitor relevant policies that a pandemic may possibly affect, including but not limited to:

1:020 District Organization, Operations, and Cooperative Agreements

2:020 Powers and Duties of the School Board:  Indemnification

2:070 Vacancies on the School Board – Filling Vacancies

2:200  Types of School Board Meetings

2:220 School Board Meeting Procedure

3:070  Succession of Authority 

4:130  Free and Reduced-Price Food Services

4:180, Pandemic Preparedness; Management; and Recovery

5:035  Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act

5:040  Communicable and Chronic Infectious Disease

5:180  Temporary Illness or Incapacity

5:185  Family and Medical Leave

5:200  Terms and Conditions of Employment and Dismissal

5:270  Compensation and Assignment

5:300  Schedule and Employment Year

5:330  Sick Days, Vacation, Holidays and Leaves

6:020  School Year Calendar and Day

6:060 Curriculum Content

6:120  Education of Children with Disabilities

6:150  Home and Hospital Instruction

7:070  Attendance and Truancy

7:280  Communicable and Chronic Infectious Disease

8:100  Relations with Other Organizations and Agencies.

Superintendent or designee and Pandemic Planning Team Begin review and use of the following publications:

For flu season

School District (K-12) Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist, at:

www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_checklist.pdf

For COVID-19:

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs at:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html

Pandemic COVID-19 Checklist: K-12 School Administrators at:

www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/COVID-19%20Schools%20Checklist%20030420.pdf

IDPH’s How should schools prepare for and respond to COVID-19? School decision Tree at:

www.cdc.gov/cornavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html#schools-prepare.

Review and ensure a succession of authority plan exists in case Board members, administrators, and/or others are unable to fulfill duties during the pandemic. Succession plans for Board members unable to fulfill duties during the pandemic may create a vacancy on the Board. Discuss the issues of succession plans for elected officials with the Board Attorney. See Board policies 2:070, Vacancies on the School Board – Filling Vacancies, and 3:070, Succession of Authority.

Work with local health and emergency preparedness officials. They may want to use the schools to disseminate information to families about a crisis.

Train employees about FLSA, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements necessary to work during a pandemic while the District is closed.

Open communications with employee unions regarding “wages, hours and terms and conditions of employment” during a pandemic.

Address policies for employee absenteeism, identifying critical job functions, plans for alternate coverage, and return-to-work policies as well as disease symptom recognition.

Ensure resources for nurses and staff to receive training and personal protective equipment to identify flu or other pandemic disease symptoms. For flu reporting, see 4:180-AP2, Pandemic Influenza Surveillance and Reporting. Remember that a person who is infected does not show symptoms right away, but children becoming ill may show different behavior than usual, such as eating less or being irritable. Knowing the differences between seasonal and pandemic flu is also critical to pandemic preparedness. A fact sheet is available at: www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/basics/about.html.

Train staff to protect themselves from occupational exposure to flu or other disease through workplace social distancing based upon the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA), Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic, which may be found at: www.osha.gov/Publications/influenza_pandemic.html.

Ensure that Standard Surveillance disease recognition procedures are in place and implemented. See 4:180-AP2, Pandemic Influenza Surveillance and Reporting.

For flu, encourage the use of simple non-medical ways to reduce the spread of flu by cough and sneeze etiquette and cleansing of hands and work areas. For COVID-19, see the Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs, When there is no community transmission (preparedness phase) section at:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html#schools-prepare.

Decide to what extent the District will encourage or require students and staff to stay home when they are mildly ill. Some parents/guardians may need to be more cautious in keeping their students out of school.

Identify students who have a greater risk of infection and are most vulnerable to serious illness. Review their health needs and encourage those families to talk with their health care providers.

Assess nutritional assistance needs for students who receive free and reduced-price food programs. For more information about providing continuity of meal distribution for students eligible for reimbursable meals, see Q & A #5 at: www.isbe.net/Documents/usda_qa072309.pdf and ISBE’s nutrition page specific to managing COVID-19 issues at: www.isbe.net/nutrition.

Through consultation with the Regional Office of Education or Intermediate Service Center and local authorities, develop strategies for remote learning through collaborative agreements (television or other local cable stations, teleconferencing, electronic instructional resources, etc.). 105 ILCS 5/10-30, added by P.A. 101-643 and see 6:20-AP, Remote and/or Blended Remote Learning Day Plan(s).

Educate staff, students, and parents/guardians about the differences between the various types of flu, other viruses, and/or other diseases, best hygienic practices to prevent them, and what could occur in a pandemic. See Sample Parent Letter #1, Preparation and Planning at: www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_ltr_preparation.pdf.

Also see, Preparing for the Flu at: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/toolkit/pdf/schoolflutoolkit.pdf and www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/influenza#publications-publications-influenza.

Review Sections IV and V of School Guidance During an Influenza Pandemic at: www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/schoolguide.htm.

 

Outbreak of Flu of Other Virus/Disease

Actor Action
Superintendent or designee Depending upon the type of virus/disease:

For COVID-19, review the Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs at:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html.

For flu, consider issuing Sample Parent Letter # 2, First Bird Case at:

www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_ltr_bird.pdf.

Begin Heightened Surveillance responses. See 4:180-AP2, Pandemic Influenza Surveillance and Reporting.

Issue Sample Parent/Guardian Letter #3, Illinois/Regional Cases, informing parents/guardians that some students are sick but schools remain open, include tip sheets and information resource list. A sample is at: www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_il_cases.pdf

Pandemic Planning Team When a confirmed case has entered a school, regardless of community transmission, work with local health department regarding a press release announcing that schools will remain open, if applicable, and advising parents/guardians of their need to prepare.

A sample, titled Schools Open, is at: www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_media_open.pdf. Note: If this sample is used for COVID-19, amend it with those specifics.

Building Principal

Post flu or other virus/disease prevention signs on campuses. See Section V of School Guidance During an Influenza Pandemic at: www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/schoolguide.htm.

For COVID-19, see Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread subhead in the CDC’s Considerations for Schools at:

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html,

including a handwashing etiquette example at:

www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html.

Expansion of the Outbreak

Actor Action
Local Health Department Issue epidemic statement to general public.
Superintendent or designee For flu, begin Intensive Surveillance responses. See 4:180-AP2, Pandemic Influenza Surveillance and Reporting.

Continued Expansion of the Outbreak

Actor Action
Local Health Department Evacuate the need for school closure with local school officials.
Superintendent of designee In consultation with local health department, emergency management agencies, and Regional Office of Education, close school(s).

Issue press release. A sample, titled Schools Closed, is at:

www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_media_closed.pdf.

Note: If this sample is used for COVID-19, amend it with those specifics.

Issue Sample Parent Letter #4, School Closure. A sample is at:

www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_closures.pdf.

Note: If this sample is used for COVID-19, amend it with those specifics.

School Board and/or Superintendent Cancel any non-academic events.

Following the Outbreak

Actor Action
Local Health Department Evaluate the advisability of opening school(s) with school officials.
Superintendent or designee Issue press release that schools are open.

Issue Sample Parent Letter #5, Schools Reopen. A sample is at: www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/school_guide/sppg_reopening.pdf.

Note: If this sample is used for COVID-19, amend it with those specifics.

Pandemic Planning Team Continue communicating with local health department.
Superintendent or designee Return to Heightened Surveillance response.  See 4:180-AP2, Pandemic Influenza Surveillance and Reporting.

Begin checklist again if an outbreak recurs.

 

Local Health Department Local Health Department
Kane County Health Department

28 N. First Street

Geneva, IL  60134

630-208-3801

Regional Office of Education

28 N. First Street

Geneva, IL  60134

630-232-5955

Emergency Management Agencies  
Batavia Police Department

100 N. Island Avenue

Batavia, IL  60510

630-879-2840

 

Important Resources

The ISBE and IDPH released a publication titled School Guidance During an Influenza Pandemic, December 2006 at:

www.idph.state.il.us/pandemic_flu/schoolguide.htm.

The resource is meant to guide and supplement, not replace school districts’ existing plans.

Further information on pandemic flu can be found by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO or at the following websites:

www.pandemicflu.gov

www.cdc.gov/flu

www.redcross.org

www.cchealth.org

Further information on COVID-19 is subject to continual change. Follow the Dep. of Health and Human Services/CDC and IDPH websites or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Date Adopted:   May 52008

Date Amended:  September 22, 2020