5.4 NAG 5.4 Pandemic Planning

P&P No: 5.4

Pandemic Planning

Rationale:

It is essential that schools take all practical steps to protect students, staff and their families from a possible pandemic outbreak.

Guidelines:

  • The Pandemic Manager for Arahunga Special School will be the Principal, the Second in Charge will be the nominated Regional Manager. These people will delegate responsibilities as necessary.
  • In the event of the Principal being incapacitated or absent the nominated Regional Manager will become the Pandemic Manager, Second in Charge will be the other Regional Managers.
  • The pandemic action plan (see below) will be shared with our Host Schools and where necessary with schools accessing our Outreach Service.

Pandemic Action Plan

This pandemic action plan deals with the following issues:

  • protocol for dealing with sick staff / students.
  • Cleaning requirements and practices in case of a pandemic outbreak.
  • Consultation procedures to be used in each stage of a pandemic.

Stage 1 Activation

Goals:

  • The pandemic plan is activated and the school is ready for the subsequent phases, should the pandemic enter New Zealand.
  • All staff, board of trustees, students and parents are informed, understand their roles and responsibilities, and have confidence in the school’s preparedness.

Actions:

  • Update and activate student, staff and Board communication tree.
  • Check all contact details are correct for students, staff and BOT Members.
  • Ensure MOE local office has updated BOT / Principal Contact details.
  • Brief staff on roles and responsibilities including:
  • Local emergency status.
  • Actions to be undertaken with students, including closing school and sending children home where necessary.
  • Outline to parents possible methods of future communications, e.g. national and local media and school website.
  • With students, implement programmes to limit spread of influenza, e.g. hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, not spitting, staying at home when sick. Resources to assist with this are available through the education.govt.nz website.
  • Advise cleaners of need to implement Pandemic Cleaning Procedure. The procedures in such an event will be to use detergent and/or bleach to clean all surfaces as advised by the MOH public health.
  • Review school’s resources to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of cleaning materials.

Stage 2 Communication

Goals:

  • Schools inside cluster area are closed.
  • Schools outside cluster areas are on heightened alert.
  • Students, staff and parents are informed, understand their roles and responsibilities, and have confidence in their school’s preparedness. The school endeavours to keep their community well informed and supported.

Actions:

  • Through consultation with local DHB emergency planner, local MOE, local Principals and, where possible the BOT Chairperson, the Principal will make the decision for the need to close the school.
  • Regional teams will communicate the decision to the school community.
  • Take care of students showing influenza symptoms by:
  • Setting up an isolation area in co-operation with local health and emergency management officials.
  • Arrange to send children home if; parents can collect them from school or parents have given permission via phone or email that they are students are to go home.
  • Notify any pandemic cases to health authorities as requested or required.
  • Children staying at school are to be kept in classes where possible (dependent on number of staff available) until children are collected or until end of school day.
  • Cancel all extra curricular activities and planned class / school trips.
  • Introduce extra cleaning as per outlined schedule. This will be determined by the nature of the pandemic and will be advised by local and national health and emergency officials.

Stage 3 Management

Goals:

School successfully activates closure procedures in response to multiple cluster or nationwide outbreak.

Actions:

  • Close school to students.
  • Advise all staff of closure and inform them of where they are required to perform their employment duties during this time.
  • Post notices of closure on entry points, such as: Base gates and entrances, satellite class entrances, etc.
  • Through communication tree keep all interested groups (such as parents, MoE, MoH and other relevant groups) informed.
  • Collaborate with local agencies in making school facilities available to pandemic response efforts.

Stage 4 Recovery

Goals:

School ensures continuing wellbeing of students and staff, and education services are fully restored.

Actions:

  • Through communication telephone tree.
  • If necessary arrange for trauma / grief counselling – contact M.O.E Group Special Education.
  • With BOT and Senior Management undertake debrief of procedures undertaken.
  • Staff revisits importance of keeping safe guidelines with students.

Procedures for Teachers

The protocol for dealing with sick/staff and students is:

  • Be aware of the need to take care of students and staff showing influenza symptoms and reduce the risk of disease spread.
  • Set up isolation area.
  • Get approval by Senior Management to send children home if; parents can collect them from school or parents have given permission via phone or email that they are students are to go home.
  • Notify any pandemic cases to health authorities as requested or required.
  • Children staying at school are to be kept in classes where possible (dependent on number of staff available) until children are collected or until end of school day. Students must remain supervised at all times.
  • Cancel all extra curricular activities and planned class / school trips.
  • Cleaner to be provided with procedures for the extra cleaning pandemic requires (see above).
  • Ensure cleaners follow advice from MOH Public Health as to suitable agent to clean all services (detergents and /or bleach).
  • Gain permission from Senior Management to send the attached letter. This is to be distributed to all parents/caregivers in the event of a pandemic. If possible these letters will be in several languages.

Pandemic Notification Letter

Please note: The below letter is not currently active, there are no current pandemics.

Dear Whanau,

We have been advised by the Ministry of Health of a serious pandemic outbreak.

In order to ensure the health and safety of your children, we are advising you of the closure of the school until further notice.

Please ensure that your children are kept at home until this closure has been lifted. Regular updates on the situation can be ascertained from local and national media. You will be informed through our school communication tree when it is safe to return to school.

Yours sincerely,

(insert Principal’s name here), Principal.

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