• Pandemic Flu

    Emergency Preparations, Response, Recovery

    What is the flu?

    Flu, also called influenza, is a contagious disease of the lungs and airways. Usually influenza viruses are spread in droplets of cough and sneezes.

    Flu Symptoms:

    Fever Headache Runny Nose
    Body Aches Cough Stomach and Intestinal Discomfort
    Extreme Tiredness Sore Throat

    How does seasonal flu differ from Pandemic Flu?

    Seasonal Flu:                                                     Pandemic Flu:

    • Occurs every year usually in the winter.
    • For most people, it is an unpleasant but not life-threatening infection.
    • Affects up to about 10% of the population.
    • Annual vaccination is available for those at risk of serious illness.
    • Occurs rarely (three times in the 20th century).
    • It could be a more serious infection for everyone.
    • May affect around 25% of the population.
    • Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of the pandemic.
    According to the Washington State Department of Health, an epidemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs in one of several limited areas, like a city, state, or country. Once the disease spreads beyond the borders of several countries and affects many countries across the globe, it is called a pandemic. In the 20th century, several pandemics of influenza occurred – the biggest one in 1918. During that pandemic, at least 500,000 Americans died and it has been estimated that there were as many as 10 million deaths worldwide.
    For more information, please visit the U.S. Government official Pandemic Flu website.

    In the case of a pandemic flu event, the District will follow the District's Infectious Disease Policy, Board Policy No. 3414 and initiate the district planning, response, and recovery procedures as follows:

    Mary Walker School District No. 207
    Infectious Diseases Board Policy No. 3414
    In order to safeguard the school community from the spread of certain communicable diseases, the superintendent shall implement procedures assuring that all school buildings are in compliance with the state board of health rules and regulations regarding the presence of persons who have or have been exposed to infectious diseases deemed dangerous to the public health. Such procedures shall also prescribe the manner in which safeguards are taken to remove the danger to others.

    The district shall require that the parents or guardian shall complete a medical history form upon enrollment and as needed. The nurse may use such reports to advise the parent of the need for further medical attention and to plan for potential health problems in school.

    The board authorizes the school principals to exclude a student who has been diagnosed by a physician or is suspected of having an infections disease in accordance with the regulations within the Infections Disease Control Guide ( SPI 3-1997). The principal and/or school nurse shall report the presence of suspected case or cases of reportable communicable disease to the appropriate local health authority as required by the State Board of Health. Such information concerning a student's present and past health condition shall be treated as confidential. The principal shall cooperate with the local health officials to the investigation of the source of the disease.

    The fact that a student has been tested for a sexually transmitted disease, the test result, any information relating to the diagnosis or treatment of a sexually transmitted disease, and any information regarding drug or alcohol treatment for a student must be kept strictly confidential. If the district has a release, the information may be disclosed pursuant to the restrictions in the release.

    A school principal has the authority to send an ill child home with parent notification, without the concurrence of the local health officer, but if the disease is reportable, the local health officer must be notified. The local health officer is the primary resource in the identification and control of infectious disease in community and school.


    Planning committee reviewed the existing Infectious Diseases Policy 3414 and determined that the policy would apply to a Pandemic event. Revisions and/or additions were not necessary.

    To mitigate the effects of a Pandemic the following actions will be taken:


    Different forms of communication will be used to keep staff, students, and parents informed of announcements and plans from the Tri-County Health Department and plans for the district's response if the pandemic should affect Mary Walker School District No. 207.

    The district has in place the following communication procedures:

    Public Notification:

    District WEB page www.marywalker.org

    Local radio and TV announcements for school closures

    Student messenger service for direct phone calls to parents

    School Newsletters

    Staff Notification:

    District WEB page www.marywalker.org

    District e-mail

    District and individual school phone trees

    The District will take proactive procedures to educate staff and students regarding respiratory etiquette and “stop the spread of germs.”


    Posters, illustrating the proper procedures for “Covering Your Cough” were posted at school.


    For the purpose of training staff as role models for students, a reminder to wash your hands before eating was placed in each staff lounge along with a bottle of alcohol-based gel.


    Flyers “Stop the Spread of Germs” were distributed to each school. One flyer will be placed in each classroom as a reminder of respiratory etiquette and proper hand-washing techniques.


    Distribution of informational flyers from Health Department “Pandemic Influenza” and “Getting Ready for the Pandemic Flu Checklist”. Copies were sent home with each student.

    The Health Department also provided translation of the flyers in the following languages:

    Spanish, Russian, Korean, Cambodian, and Vietnamese. Flyers will be distributed to each school.


    Schools will encourage students to bring alcohol-based hand gel to be available for those rooms that do not have hand-washing facilities.


    Articles will be placed in the district “PRIDE” newspaper regarding signs and symptoms of flu and healthy habits techniques. Healthy habits include frequent and proper hand-washing, covering your cough with a tissue or cough into your arm, and staying home when you are sick.


    During new staff orientation, healthy habits procedures will be discussed with staff. Healthy habits include frequent and proper hand-washing, covering your cough with a tissue or coughing into your arm, and staying home when you are sick.


    School nurse and health clerk at each site will be responsible to educate students and staff about Pandemic Flu. They can use the existing posters and flyers for students. Building administrators should allow a few minutes at staff meetings to remind staff of healthy procedures and inform staff of any new updates on the Pandemic Flu.


    Information and healthy habits procedures will be posted on the District website.


    Post updates on the District website.


    Custodial staff will be responsible for ensuring that bathrooms are supplied with soap and towels for hand-washing.


    It is anticipated that Tri-County Health Department will make the determination when to close schools and businesses. The district will support their decision-making process by providing the same reporting of absences as stated in the Infectious Disease policy. Pandemic flu updates from the Tri-County Health Department will be distributed to the Superintendent, School Nurse, and Communications Director. Communication for school closure will be to the Superintendent, School Nurse, and Communications Director.

    Procedures for all schools up to the time of closure will include:

    Responsible Staff Area Description of Responsibility

    Jill Drew, RN, and Jackie Franks, RN, School Nurses

    Distribution of Information

    The district will continue to post flyers and posters as reminders of healthy habits during the late fall and early winter months. Articles will continue in the high school newspaper and on the district WEB page and schools will be encouraged to post reminders in the school newsletter.

    Administrator working with School Nurse/Health Clerk

    Health Room

    Because of limited space in most health rooms, schools need to identify another location to house ill students. Students suspected of having the flu should be kept separate from other students using the health room for medication distribution, etc. The conference room next to the Principals' offices.

    Schools should stock extra gloves, surgical masks and N95 respirators, if needed, along with appropriate cleaning supplies.

    Kevin Jacka

    Cheryl Henjum

    Matthew Cobb

    Administrative Absence

    District Office and schools will follow their Incident Command emergency chain of command to fill administrative positions due to illness. For example, when the principal is gone, who is the Incident Commander?

    Valorie Hunter

    Administrative Training

    Information will be sent out to staff to review symptoms of flu and what to look for in order to identify ill students and staff.

    Cheryl Henjum

    Matthew Cobb

    Scott Schell

    Potential Absences

    Schools will identify staff that due to health condition or pregnancy will not be able to be present at school once the flu has been identified. Information will be shared with Human Resources to be considered along with the absences called in due to illness.

    School Administrator

    Staff Illness

    Schools need to be sure staff emergency contact lists are up-to-date. Staff need to identify someone that will check on them in case of an illness.

    Critical Incident Team

    Review of available

    Suzanne Killings and Jerry Dyar will review and identify resources available for grief services including the district critical incident team.

    Critical Incident Team

    Administrative Training

    Additional training for all administrators will be provided in the Fall of 2006.


    Nurse/Health Clerk

    Care of students with flu like symptoms

    Students exhibiting flu symptoms will be kept in a separate location away from other health room users.

    Parents or emergency contact will be called immediately. Student will be required to wear surgical mask until picked up.

    Area or bed that student occupied will be cleaned after each use as per current procedure.

    Jill Drew, RN, and Jackie Franks, RN, school

    Reporting of Illness

    Flu symptoms

    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Sore Throat
    • Body Aches
    • Cough
    • Runny nose
    • Stomach and intestinal discomfort
    • Extreme tiredness

    Nurse/Health Clerk will keep a record of students and staff exhibiting flu symptoms who are sent home. When absences are called in, health clerk will note those that are home due to flu like symptoms. Report will be called into ???

    ?? will report absences to the Tri-County Health Department.

    Alternate for reporting absences will be???

    School Administrator
    working with Director of Communications and
    Lead Nurse

    Communications to Staff

    Updates will be given to staff on the extent of infection at school site and potential changes that may take place.

    Jill Drew, RN, and Jackie Franks, RN, school
    Communications to

    Will provide information to parents on prevention procedures, and provide information as to the school status – open or closed and if closed when reopening.

    Check with Health Department for translations on information.

    Kevin Jacka

    Cheryl Henjum

    Matthew Cobb


    Senior staff will conduct timely debriefings to identify lessons learned and make necessary changes to the response plan.


    Cheryl Henjum

    Matthew Cobb

    Critical Incident Team services

    If necessary, the building administrator will contact either Jerry Dyar or Suzanne Killings for assistance in grief counseling as per Critical Incident procedures.

    Valorie Hunter

    General Information

    Provide information on extent of pandemic flu in the community and activities that may assist students; signs and symptoms to look for and safe room function and location at each school. Also announce counseling support services available to faculty and staff.

    Jill Drew, RN, and Jackie Franks, RN, school nurses

    On-going assessments

    The school nurse will provide physical assessments or make appropriate community health referrals.

    Director of Communications working with Critical Incident Team

    Family and Staff Information

    Make educational materials available to families and staff on topics such as how to support your student with their recovery from pandemic flu, common symptoms of loss and grief, and constructive ways to cope with stress.

    Urge staff to use Employee Assistance Program for assistance with coping with loss and stress.

    School Nurse working with Special Services Director

    Long-term assistance

    Identify students, families, and staff who may need long-term physical and mental health support or intervention and develop school and community resources to provide these services.

    Cheryl Henjum

    Matthew Cobb

    Staff well-being

    Monitor the effects of cumulative stress on caregivers such as office staff, school nurses, teachers, aids, school counselors, and other crisis team members.

    Work with Human Resources and the Critical Incident Team to provide support.

    Administrative Team

    Staff Assistance

    Modify work roles and responsibilities or add volunteer or support staff as needed.

    Critical Incident Team

    Student Follow-Up

    Follow-up with student referrals made to community agencies.

    Safety Committee

    Incident de-briefing

    Conduct debriefing meeting(s) to document “lessons learned” and incorporate them into revisions and trainings.

Last Modified on December 1, 2008