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.