Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan
By Annette Satterly, Certified School Risk Manager
In the last few years, as Harry and I have been reviewing and assisting with emergency operation plans (EOPs), many of the districts have been removing the sections on Pandemic Diseases. This was considered practical at the time, as doing so focused attention on hazards that were believed to be more likely to take place. Surprise! Now we have been learning first-hand about living with a pandemic.
Not surprisingly, we have developed a section for the EOPs. Written to meet the current CDC guidelines for COVID-19, this addendum is general enough to help guide responses to as-yet-unknown diseases that may arise in the future. This new section can be adapted to fit the specific needs of a district while meeting the procedures and policies adopted and developed by the Board of Trustees and Administrative team.
The template is roughly two and a half pages long and broken into three sections: (1) Before or Early on in an Outbreak, (2) Height of the Illness, and, (3) Recovering from the Illness.
As we prepare to return to school, a number of the most important point of the pandemic-focused guidelines are as follows:
- Avoid using/sharing other people’s equipment, such as their phones, desks, tools, etc.
- Follow the directions on the proper use of disinfecting products.
- Properly use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- During cleaning procedures, pay close attention to items that are touched routinely, such as:
- Doorknobs, handles, faucets, etc. on all doors, lockers, bathroom and kitchen facilities, and any other area where there is high contact.
- Handles on carts, hand trucks, furniture movers, car doors, steering wheels, light switches, and other surfaces that may be used by more than one person.
- Athletic equipment such as balls, jump rope handles, uniforms, nets, bleachers, mats, weights, and any other item that may be touched routinely or come into contact with perspiration.
- Kitchens, food and consumer science rooms, concession areas and other places where food is consumed.
- Keyboards, mice, remote controls, and other surfaces that may be touched by more than one person throughout the day.
- Playthings for recess playground equipment.
- Determine whether high-efficiency filters or increased ventilation may be beneficial.
- Limit and monitor the number and type of items brought from home.
- As face masks are used, the district will wish to readdress intruder policies/procedures, as recognition will be more difficult. Also, people who speak softly may be more difficult to understand and those who read lips may need additional assistance.
To see the template in its entirety, please look for it under the Safety Resources tab on the MSGIA website. Under the tab, there is a section titled “Plans and Checklists.” The plan can be found under this header.
As always, Harry and I and the MTSBA staff are available to answer questions and provide assistance. Return to newsletter