Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Spellings Report: Preparing For Pandemics

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings made a few remarks recently at a meeting in North Carolina about the need for schools to plan for the possibility of a flu pandemic:
Acknowledging that pandemics happen and require a strong local response, Governor Michael Easley, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt today addressed federal and local public health officials, business, education, and community leaders and the public about pandemic flu preparedness. Secretaries Leavitt and Spellings are in North Carolina as part of a national tour of states, as the federal government prepares the country for a potential influenza pandemic.

"Pandemics are global in nature but their effects are always local, so I am pleased that Governor Easley is taking a leadership role to prepare North Carolina for this threat," Secretary Leavitt said. "Pandemic planning needs to address how schools, businesses, public agencies, faith-based organizations and others participate in pandemic preparedness. With this meeting, local officials can identify needs specific to North Carolina communities and begin crucial coordination to assure readiness if a pandemic outbreak strikes."

At the summit, Secretary Leavitt and Secretary Spellings announced the release of three checklists to assist local schools in pandemic preparation; the checklists target child care and preschools, school districts (K-12), and colleges and universities. These checklists are the latest in a series of checklists that will help communities, businesses, and individuals prepare for a possible pandemic.

"At the federal level, we will do everything we can to make sure Americans have the resources and support they need in the event of a pandemic outbreak," said Secretary Spellings. "When it comes to preparing our school community—from pre-school all the way to college, there are three key steps to take: talk to health officials and work together to develop a plan; train staff to implement the plan and prepare; and teach students so that they know what to do in the event of a pandemic."
I actually think that the Secretary's planning for the unthinkable is a good thing. Though I also think it unlikely that the avian flu will strike during this flu season.

But what about Next Year?

Get more information about possible pandemics at this website.
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