This document published by the Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ECRM) Technical Assistance Center discusses the need for schools and school districts to develop a comprehensive emergency response plan against infectious diseases. "Every year, schools confront a range of infectious diseases such as chicken pox, lice, ringworm and seasonal influenza. In response, faculty and staff work together to control the outbreak, quell fears and dispel rumors. For example, school administrators may educate faculty about the disease, send notices home to parents to warn about the dangers of an outbreak and work collaboratively with the school nurse and other trained staff to accurately identify and treat sick children. However, a new strain of influenza--such as a mutation of the avian influenza virus (N5H1)--that spreads easily from person to person and triggers a pandemic, or global outbreak, would pose incredible challenges not only to health care providers, but also to schools and school districts. Now is the time for the education community to begin planning for an emergency health care response that will protect the health and well-being of students and staff. [...] Schools tend to be affected by outbreaks more than other settings because their occupants--primarily children--easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of their close proximity and their inefficiency at containing the droplets issued by their coughs and sneezes. Compared to seasonal influenza outbreaks that are usually short-lived and more easily managed (e.g., instruction can proceed with substitute teachers and assignments can be sent home to ill students), an influenza pandemic could seriously disrupt the daily operations of a school."
U.S. Department of Education: http://rems.ed.gov/
Emergency Response and Crisis Management Technical Assistance Center (2006), v.2., iss.7