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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health What Can Schools do to Prevent the Spread of Swine Flu ?

What Can Schools do to Prevent the Spread of Swine Flu ?

Swine flu is a viral disease caused by a new type of influenza virus (Novel H1N1) that has symptoms similar to seasonal flu. The severity of illness ranges from very mild symptoms to severe illnesses that can result in death. Schools and teachers can help prevent the spread of swine flu among students, teachers, and other staff by taking some simple preventive health measures.

 

The school administration can help prevent the spread of swine flu among students, teachers, and other staff by taking the following measures:

  • Ask teachers to conduct a short hygiene training in the classroom

Teachers should encourage children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. Also demonstrate sneezing or coughing in elbow fold instead of hands when a tissue or handkerchief is not available. Your school may be giving regular hygiene training to all children but reinforcing it now is important.

  • Encourage good hand hygiene

Provide ample tissues, running water, soaps and alcohol based hand rubs in school bathrooms and other common areas. Encourage teachers, and students and other staff to wash their hands often. 

  • Encourage teachers to be a good role model

Teachers should consciously try to be a good role model for the students by practicing

good hand hygiene and covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

 

  • Teachers to watch out for sick students in the classroom

 

Teachers should be able identify children showing symptoms of flu and arrange for them to be sent home without delay.

 

  • Ensure regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces

Train and ask the cleaning staff to wipe surfaces that are frequently touched by students such as desks, door knobs, and keyboards at regular intervals because the virus can survive on these surfaces for up to 8 hours and can spread to others.

  • Do not let sick students and staff attend school

Advise students and teachers that have flu symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, and sore throat) to stay at home until they have been free of fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine. If a student or staff member develops flu symptom while in school, move them to a separate room and arrange for them to be sent home.

  • Have a good supply of masks available at the school

A student or staff may become sick while in school. The sick person and all people coming in contact with them before they are sent home such as the school nurse should be provided a mask.

  • Carry out active flu screening in school

If swine flu cases have recently been reported in your town you should consider active screening of students, teachers, and staff upon arrival at school. Any person showing symptoms of flu should be separated from others, provided a surgical mask, and sent home.

  • Increase spacing between people

If feasible, increase the distance between desks in the classroom as much as possible and postpone class trips or other activities that will cause extended close contact among students such as auditorium gatherings etc.

  • Develop backup plans for teachers and staff

Expect some teachers and staff to be on sick leave because of flu. Develop adequate back up plans without pressurizing sick staff to resume responsibility before fully recovering from their illness.

  • Temporarily cancel incentives or awards for high attendance

If there are perfect attendance awards given out at your school, cancel them temporarily and rather encourage students with flu symptoms to stay at home till they are fully recovered.

  • Stay in touch with the local health authorities

Schools should proactively stay in touch with appropriate public health authority in their area to be updated about the local swine flu condition and guidelines. They should consider assigning clear responsibility to one of the staff members so that regular communication is maintained.

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