North America human Influenza A (H1N1) Information for Child Care Providers
For child care providers, it would be prudent to:
- First and most importantly, remind parents and enforce policies for having ill children stay at home during their illness.
- In addition, remind and inform workers not to come to work while ill.
- A child may be infectious for up to 10 days after illness onset with influenza while adults are generally infectious for 5-7 days.
- Review their plans for responding to a pandemic and make sure they are up to date.
- Know local/state plans for child care in the event of a mild or severe pandemic. This information may be available from state or local health authorities, child care licensing agencies or resource and referral agencies.
- Develop and implement a system to track illness and absence due to illness among children and staff if one is not already in place. The system should be simple and easy to maintain but should record the number of persons with various illnesses (e.g. respiratory, diarrhea, rash) by day or at least by week. (see Caring for Our Children Standards 3.001 and 3.002 for information on how to do this http://nrckids.org/CFOC/PDFVersion/Chapter%203.pdf )
- Review and implement CDC Guidelines and Recommendations for Preventing the Spread of Influenza (the Flu) in Child Care Settings: Guidance for Administrators, Care Providers, and Other Staff, (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/childcaresettings.htm)
- Make sure staff are familiar with the above guidelines and that they are being followed in your program. Remind child care staff to clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the facility.
- Provide information to parents on steps that they could take to prevent flu. (See attached fact sheet that could be distributed to each parent or posted on a door to the facilities with providers calling attention to the posted fact sheet).
- Monitor the postings on the CDC web site about this virus to see if child care facilities should begin preparing for possible closure or changes in operation (www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/).
- Contact your local public health department if you have questions or suspected cases.
- Review your facilities emergency preparedness plans and consult with state and/or local health department’s pandemic plans, particularly if the number of cases escalates dramatically.
Child care and preschool programs can help protect the health of their staff and the children and families they serve by calling attention to the every day preventive actions that parents can initiate to protect their children. (Please consider posting or distributing the attached message in your child care facility).
More information on preventing the spread of influenza can be found at: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/school/preschool.html. For generic information on disaster preparedness, see NACCRRA’s web site http://www.naccrra.org/for_parents/coping/disaster.php
Additional generic planning information for schools, including examples of state and local plans, can be found on the Department of Education's website at: http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/emergencyplan/pandemic/index.html