WASHINGTON — If you thought your school was ready for another pandemic similar to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, think again, according to a press release.
A study published in the September 2012 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control has revealed that less than half of U.S. schools address pandemic preparedness in their school plan, and only 40 percent have updated their school plan since 2009, the release stated.
According to the release, a team of researchers from Saint Louis University collected and analyzed survey responses from approximately 2,000 school nurses serving primarily elementary, middle and high schools in 26 states to ascertain whether schools were prepared for another pandemic, particularly focusing on infectious disease disasters.
The team found that less than one-third of schools (29.7 percent) stockpile any personal protective equipment, and nearly a quarter (22.9 percent) have no staff members trained on the school’s disaster plan, the release noted.
"Findings from this study suggest that most schools are even less prepared for an infectious disease disaster, such as a pandemic, compared to a natural disaster or other type of event," said Terri Rebmann, PhD, RN, CIC, lead study author and associate professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health.
"Despite the recent H1N1 pandemic that disproportionately affected school-age children, many schools do not have plans to adequately address a future biological event," Rebmann added.