Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness for Schools

Leslie Heyden, Suzi Bouveron, and Rebeca Boyte. Immunization Branch, California Department of Public Health, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P, 2nd Floor, Richmond, CA, USA

Learning Objectives for this Presentation:
By the end of the presentation participants will be able to:
Explain how the three components of the training complement each other
Describe alternatives for continuity of education if schools close
List ways health departments can help schools and school districts prepare for an influenza pandemic

Schools require emergency plans, but not necessarily for pandemic influenza emergencies. Some school districts had developed innovative pandemic preparedness models. Many others had yet to begin.

The components were a broadcast, tabletop exercise, and website. Each was designed to stand alone to maximize participation in a variety of environments, yet also work together as an integrated training program.

The target audience included administrators from county offices of education, school districts, schools, and local health department staff involved in pandemic preparedness.

Project Description:
The broadcast featured public health and school officials, and school staff showcasing best practices. Topics included school closure, continuity of education, and incorporating pandemic planning into existing plans.
The tabletop exercise focused on a school closure scenario.
The website was created as a learning portal for participants and central point of contact during the train-the-trainer program.

Results/Lessons Learned:
The training received positive feedback, though lack of resources prevents many school districts from developing in-depth plans or alternative curricula.
The website played a key role, engaging both participants and facilitators. Participants especially appreciated connecting with key agencies in their jurisdictions during the tabletop exercises. Sites in 48 states registered to watch the broadcast; 38 California health departments participated.

Web Page: