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ERIC Number: ED504383
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Responding To Infectious Disease: Multiple Cases of Staph Infections in a Rural School District. Lessons Learned From School Crises and Emergencies, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2008
US Department of Education
"Lessons Learned" is a series of publications that are a brief recounting of actual school emergencies and crises. This "Lessons Learned" issue focuses on an incident involving several cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at a rural high school. MRSA is a specific strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (often called staph) that is resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat staph infections. About one-third of the population is a carrier for staph on the skin or in the nose; however, being a carrier does not equate with infection. Because a MRSA infection is hard to treat and often causes serious infection, it can sicken or even kill those it infects. MRSA infections are not new and have existed in the community for some time. The report emphasizes the need for districts and schools to create emergency management plans that address all potential hazards, including infectious disease. As part of these plans, schools should set attendance policies and protocols in the event of infectious disease. Schools should also be aware of privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and how these laws may apply during an emergency. Districts and schools should develop good relationships with key community members including the media, so that when an incident occurs, they can communicate quickly and accurately with staff, students, parents, and community members. Schools should also set aside sufficient resources in the event they will need to purchase supplies or equipment during an emergency incident. Reinforcement of good hygiene practices and school cleanliness can help to prevent or mitigate an infectious disease incident. Timely, regular, and accurate communication can help inform community partners, families, and media and thereby reduce panic caused by the spread of false rumor. (Contains 1 footnote.) [This publication was produced by the Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Technical Assistance (TA) Center and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS). For Volume 3, Issue 2 of this series, see ED504384.]
US Department of Education. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Tel: 877-433-7827; Fax: 301-470-1244; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (ED)
Authoring Institution: Emergency Response and Crisis Management Technical Assistance Center (ED)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A