Los Angeles County Office of Education
- 17 pages
- For Official Use Only
- August 2009
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACPDH) encourages schools, residents, community organizations and businesses to develop plans and policies in the event of a public health emergency, such as a pandemic or other large-scale disease outbreak. Preparedness is one of the best prevention techniques available. Many of the planning procedures and precautionary measures suggested are important to practice in everyday life—not only in the event of a public health emergency.
The purpose of this annex is to provide a functional tool for school administrators and staff to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a public health emergency. During the development and revision of this annex, LACDPH consulted with a variety of stakeholder groups within schools including special needs/education representatives, communications, risk managers, and school nurse administrators. This document was designed to be practical and concise and therefore suggests links to other repositories of information and resources, such as the Schools’ Public Health Emergency/Infectious Disease Toolkit developed in conjunction with LACDPH, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), and Medweb. While designed with the needs of small-to-medium sized school districts in mind, the annex does not represent a one-size-fits-all solution. This annex was conceived as a resource template to assist schools during their public health emergency planning efforts; however, each school has its own unique needs and therefore should tailor the annex accordingly.
PART V: SCHOOLS’ TOOLKIT LETTER BUILDER
The Schools’ Pandemic Influenza/Public Health Emergency Toolkit contains a customizable Letter Builder that guides school/school district representatives through a step-by-step process to develop tailored letters for staff, students and parents during the preparedness and response phases. The content of the letter for 15 diseases is pre-approved by LACDPH.
LACDPH highly encourages schools/districts to utilize the preparedness letters on a regular and ongoing basis. The best prevention is education, and the best way to prevent public fear and panic is the provision of regular and ongoing communication. It is highly recommended that school/district nursing be involved in any information campaign related to health/infectious diseases/public health emergencies.
During the response phase of a public health emergency, LACDPH recognizes that getting information into the hands of staff, students and parents promptly is critical to prevent any fear based responses and to prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, LACDPH urges schools/districts to use the Letter Builder’s Response Letter in the event of a confirmed infectious disease outbreak or a public health emergency. It is imperative that school/district administrators confer with their nursing offices prior to any release of information in the response phase. School Nurses/School District Nurse Administrators are a valuable resource during a public health emergency. The Schools’ Toolkit Letter Builder can be accessed by visiting: http://www.laschooltoolkit.com/letters.html
• Preparedness Letter – This letter has been designed to address the readiness of Los Angeles County schools to mitigate (prevent), prepare for, respond to, and recover from a pandemic or other public health emergency. It provides a step-by-step guide to assist in personalizing a letter for your school/school district, and ensures the appropriate supporting materials are included. The content of these letters and the supporting materials have been approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. As of August 2009, customized letters are available in English and Spanish.
• Response Letter – The response letter articulates the same healthy habits suggested in the preparedness letter, but should be utilized as a response to a particular disease threat or due to heightened media attention surrounding a particular disease. The health information found in this letter and the supporting materials have been approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In addition, this link provides a step-by-step guide to assist you in personalizing the letter for your school/school district, and ensures you have the appropriate supporting materials. The response letter is an excellent resource for schools and one that will help quickly disseminate the correct information to parents in the event of a disease outbreak or other public health emergency. As of August 2009, customized letters are available in English and Spanish.