A DHHS Department of Education memo to educators.

June 11, 2009
Page two
• Collaborate with your state and/or local health departments. Useful information,
including health department contacts, can be found at or
■ Consider ways to promote good hand hygiene (including teaching proper hand washing
technique, and providing opportunities and appropriate supplies for hand washing),
regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces in schools, and other infection control
measures. More information about controlling infectious diseases at schools can be
found at nlflu.
■ Develop response and communications plans to ensure that students or staff with fever or
flu-like symptoms do not come to school or are sent home; advise parents of these plans.
• Advise parents to develop contingency plans should their children become sick and need
to stay home or in the event their school is forced to close.
• Identify faith-based and community-based organizations that can assist with care and
supervision of non-infected children whose schools may be closed.
• Consider alternative mechanisms for delivery of education content, leveraging
community resources if appropriate and possible. See
■ Consider alternative mechanisms for delivery of school meals to at-risk children.
• Work with local and/or state health departments to collect real-time data on school
closures and rates of illness and absenteeism that will be shared with the Department of
Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We are also collaborating with mayors, governors, and state and local public health officials
about contingency plans. Our hope is that the summer months can be used to develop and share
a coordinated public health strategy that aims to protect our children and families and minimize
We face an uncertain situation. Nevertheless, there are measures we can all take to meet the
potential public health challenges that lie ahead, and your commitment to that end is critical to
the overall effort. We want to work closely with you to ensure you have the support you need to
provide a safe learning environment for our nation’s students. You may call on us and our staffs
at any time, and we will check in with you throughout the summer and the school year. In the
meantime, you may find helpful information at these Web sites: and
If you have questions for the Department of Education, feel free to send them to t1u(@,
Again, thank you for all your efforts. We look forward to continuing to work with you.
Arne Duncan
Secretary of Education
Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health &
Human Services

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