NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi was among about 15 national education and health leaders who met with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan yesterday to discuss how schools can effectively manage a potential large-scale spread of the H1NI virus.
Iannuzzi stressed the importance of communications and collaboration among all the key stakeholders in schools, and emphasized that if proper health protocols are followed, he is confident that schools could handle any new outbreaks of H1NI. Iannuzzi also noted the vital role that school nurses would play in helping to manage a potential outbreak and halt the spread of the virus.
The August 7, 2009 edition of USA Today reports on the event:
Schools may serve as swine flu immunization centers
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
Schools across the USA could serve as mass vaccination sites this fall if swine flu makes a strong comeback, officials briefed Thursday in Washington said. Federal officials are preparing to issue updated guidelines Friday on the troublesome new flu bug.
About two dozen officials representing education associations, unions and child care providers got an advance description of the guidance in a briefing at the U.S. Department of Education.
One of the officials, New York State United Teachers president Dick Iannuzzi, said it's "highly likely" that schools will be used for student vaccinations. "That would be the optimum place to have that happen," he said, noting that there was "consensus in the room" about the wisdom of using schools as vaccination sites.
It was less clear, he said, whether schools would serve the same function for wider communities nationwide.
Federal officials put "a much stronger emphasis - stronger than I've heard in years" - on encouraging school districts and local health departments to open schools as immunization centers, said Amy Garcia, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses. "If we're facing a difficult flu season, having this kind of conversation up front will help protect kids and will save lives."
The complete article is available online at http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-08-06-swine-flu-schools_N.htm with links to additional resources.