SWINE FLU (INFLUENZA H1N1)
Broad guidelines for schools / educational institutions
- Schools are advised to avoid any large gathering of students during the course of the day in the school. This would reduce the possibility of the spread of the infection, if any, to a much larger number of students who would be in close contact with each other in such a gathering.
- It should be made mandatory by the school authorities that all class teachers should begin their class with active screening of each student in the class so as to detect any student who is having symptoms of flu (mild fever with cough/ sore throat with or without body ache, headache, diarrhea and vomiting). If such student is detected, he/she should be referred immediately to the medical facility of the school. He/She should be further advised to stay at home for 7 days and observe strict discipline of home isolation. The onus of observance of discipline of isolation henceforth is shifted to the parents and school authorities should accordingly write a letter to the parent. The parents should also be advised to keep other wards at home, in case they are found to be having flu like symptoms. There should be constant self-monitoring and if symptoms deteriorates, it should be reported to health authorities immediately.
- Students, teachers and other employees working in schools/educational institutions are advised to stay at home if they develop flu like symptoms. They should consult the medical doctor and take treatment as advised including the home isolation and drugs for treatment of the symptoms.
- Students, teachers and other employees working in schools/educational institutions are advised to continue to stay at home for at least 7 days if they are advised by the doctor to take Oseltamivir treatment and they should observe home isolation. There should be constant self-monitoring and if symptoms deteriorates, it should be reported to health authorities, immediately.
- School authorities should not insist on production of medical certificate from such preventive absentees.
- Students, teachers and other employees working in schools/educational institutions are advised to wash their hands frequently with soap and water.
- Students, teachers and other employees working in schools/educational institutions are advised to observe strict cough / sneeze etiquette i.e. use tissue while sneezing and coughing. The tissue paper so used should be kept in a separate plastic bag, so that it can be disposed of safely.
- If any student, teachers or other employees is at high risk (suffering from chronic diseases of lung/heart/kidney/neoroloigcal system or blood disorder) for H1N1 and he / she becomes sick with influenza like sickness, the school authories should immediately take him/her to the medical officer of the school and carry out further treatment strictly under advice of the doctor. Mostly such patients will be kept at Oseltamivir and home isolation.
- All the schools / educational institutions should observe regular cleaning of the area with cleaner they ordinarily use so that all the droplets and shredding from any unnoticed mildly infected students / employees are taken care of.
- Closure of schools has not been recommended by Centre for Disease Control, Atlanta, USA. Its value for prevention of spread of disease within school is outweighed by the possibility of community spread, which is more likely because the children will play and mix with public in various places and at social gathering and there will be nobody to advise them or prevent such incidents. On the other hand, in schools there will be a teacher who will be able to detect their symptoms everyday at the earliest. However, school authorities have to use their own judgement for any type of temporary closure in the event of wide spread H1N1 influenza in school. There should be constant self-monitoring and if symptoms deteriorates, it should be reported to health authorities, immediately.
- In case of students staying in hostels, the school authority should monitor the health status of students as well as the other ancillary staff in the hostel on regular basis.
- In case there are suspected cases in the hostel, the authorised local medical authority should be called for examination of all students and school authority should not close the hostel and send the students back to their home.
- School should discourage excursion of the students to the affected countries.
- However, if students go on tour to the affected countries, they should be thoroughly examined on return by medical doctor before permitting attendance in the class. If there is one suspect case of H1N1 then the whole group should be kept under isolation at home and their health status should be regularly watched.
- All the schools should display “DO’S AND DON’TS” for H1N1 infection at all important places
- All the schools should circulate pamphlets containing “DO’S AND DONT’S” for H1N1 infection and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) to the students.