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|H1N1 Guidance for Schools|
|September 28, 2009: Issues in Reporting Absenteeism|
The MN Dept. of Education and MN Dept. of Health are collecting reports from schools that have 5% or more absenteeism due to ILI. As they collect the data, it becomes public and will be shared with media upon request. If your schools are reporting to MDE/MDH, be sure your schools are also communicating with parents directly. Parents like to hear news from their school before they hear it on the news. Click here for more about MDE reporting from a letter to superintendents.
Sept. 15, 2009: FROM MN SCHOOL NURSE ORG.
Schools and the entire community are facing a difficult influenza season this fall due to the H1N1 Novel Influenza. H1N1 is a new virus for which the seasonal flu shot does not provide protection. In addition, influenza like illness (ILI) is already in the community which is very unusual for this time of year. It is expected, that with school back in session, there will be many cases in the next few weeks prior to the projected late October arrival of the vaccine for the H1N1 Novel influenza.
Your school nurse can help you plan for how your school will respond to the challenge of influenza. School Nurses have the background knowledge, expertise and resources to address influenza. Scroll to the document below (Principals' Information from School Nurses) for information on: Education and Prevention, Identification of Illness, Exclusion Criteria, Reporting Requirements, Vaccine, and Resources.
August 21, 2009: GET READY FOR H1N1
This fall/winter we will be dealing with both seasonal influenza and the H1N1 strain. Both forms of influenza are highly contagious, mostly spread by coughing and sneezing.
- H1N1 is different than seasonal flu in that largest number of hospitalized cases of H1N1 has been in people between ages 5 – 24 (school-age children); for seasonal flu most hospitalized cases are among older people.
- All children and adults are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza vaccine, which is different than the H1N1 vaccine.
- H1N1 Vaccine (once available) will be a two-shot series and is recommended for the following:
--pregnant women, The best source of information is the Web site of the Minnesota Department of Health: http://www.health.state.mn.us . There was a good summary article in the August 23 issue of the Star Tribune by Norman Draper and Sarah Hemagie, Star Tribune staff writers: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/54186867.html?elr=KArksUUUU.
--parents/caregivers of children younger than 6 months,
--children (6 mos – 18 years),
--young adults (19 – 24 years),
--persons aged 25 – 64 who have health conditions associated with high-risk complications from influenza (i.e. asthma, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency).
NOTE: Adults over the age of 25 who are not among the above categories are not recommended for the H1N1 vaccine at this time.
REPORTING PROTOCOL FOR FLU IN 2009-2010:
The health department is developing a case report form for schools to complete electronically:
The CDC recommends those with flu-like illness (see above) stay home for 24 hours after the fever is gone without fever-reducing medication, which is likely five to seven days. Parents will need to prepare for alternative childcare. The same CDC recommendations also pertain to staff, which could be a significant issue for staffing our schools. It is a local decision to close schools, if deemed appropriate.
- When the numbers of students with flu-like illness (a fever of 100.0 degrees or greater and cough or sore throat) who are absent or sent home reaches five percent of the total school enrollment; or
- Three or more students with flu-like illness from the same classrooms are absent or sent home on a given day.
SCHOOL LOCATED IMMUNIZATIONS
We encourage schools to collaborate if space is available. These would be school supported, not school run clinics. Onsite immunizations can be arranged for students and staff. NOTE THAT IMMUNIZATIONS AREA VOLUNTARY and require parent permission.
August 7, 2009 -- in Minnesota Department of Education Learning Matters Online (Issue 11, Volume 5)
H1N1 (Influenza) Federal Guidance for Schools: The federal government has released its most recent H1N1 guidance for the nation’s schools. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will be reviewing the new federal guidelines to see how they fit with the planning we have already been doing at the state level. They will be adapting and revising them as necessary to meet our unique needs and circumstances here in Minnesota.
Over the next few weeks, MDH and MDE will continue to consult with schools regarding Minnesota’s guidance for schools. Additionally, we need to be prepared on a number of fronts for a possible “second wave” of novel H1N1 – and the possibility that the virus will cause a much more severe form of the illness the second time around. One of our highest priorities right now is individual preparedness for a second round of novel H1N1 flu – and the steps people can take to protect themselves and others. Those steps are simple, but can’t be repeated often enough:
- Wash your hands, thoroughly and frequently. Use soap and water or an
- Cover your face with a sleeve or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- If you’re sick, stay home from work, school, or other places where you may
expose others to the virus.
H1N1 Information from the School Nurse Organization of MN: Your school nurse can help you plan for how your school will respond to the challenge of influenza. School Nurses have the background knowledge, expertise and resources to address influenza.
Action sheets for teachers and school staff. Take the prescribed prevention steps ALL the time and not only during a flu pandemic to help keep your students and yourself from getting sick with flu.
Preparing for the Flu, communication tool kit for schools prepared by the Center for Disease Control.
Preparing for the Flu, a tool kit for employers prepared by the Center for Disease Control. Schools not only need to be planning in our roles with children, but also in our roles as employers. The CDC business planning toolkit places more emphasis on a two-stage plan: mild flu outbreak; severe flu outbreak. School Districts may need to have liberal leave policies, especially for pregnant women who should develop a plan with their doctor if they exhibit influenza like symptoms.
Proper Sneezing Technique
Elementary students educating the public on the proper way to sneeze -- in a well-done, light-hearted Public Service Announcement from the Virginia State Health Department. The two-minute video
is posted on YouTube.
Resources for schools
The Center for Disease Control provides three communication tools for schools' to copy and print as needed:
- Action Steps for Teachers (fact sheet)
- Preparing for the Flu, a toolkit for schools
- Preparing for the Flu, a toolkit for employers
Scroll to PDF documents below.
Key messages for parents
Hand hygiene, cough etiquette, parents screen children each morning for influenza-like-illness.
Individuals who are sick need to stay home; while this may be a hardship, by staying home you are helping to prevent that same hardship for classmates’ families.
Individual family preparedness – if your child gets sick with influenza like illness, he/she will likely be sick for 5 - 7 days from the onset on symptoms. What childcare plans do you have in place?
Children need to stay home 24 hours after fever is gone without fever-reducing medications (children may still be shedding the virus during this time.)
School surveillance, reporting, dismissal
School surveillance and reporting
: Schools should be tracking Influenza-like-illnesses (ILI) distinctly from other absences for reporting purposes. School Health Professionals will need to file a report with MDH if either of the following thresholds of ILI is met: (Reporting form will be available on MDH Web site.)
The number of students with ILI who are absent or sent home reaches 5% of the total school enrollment.
Three (3) or more students from the same classroom are absent or sent home on a given day with ILI.
NOTE: ILI is defined as fever of 100 degrees or greater and cough or sore
throat, in the absence of a known disease other than influenza.School dismissal
(defined as sending students home, but staying open for staff) will be a local decision based on the percentage of students or staff who are absent from school. (At what point in your district does it not make sense operationally to stay open?) If decision is made to close school due to ILI; schools must report directly to CDC at www.cdc.gov/fluschooldismissal.