State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today announced a multiagency effort to distribute millions of protective masks and gloves to schools throughout California to help prevent and mitigate the spread of the H1N1 influenza virus and other influenza outbreaks.
Remember how, during the anthrax scare earlier this decade, people mocked the idea of duct-taping plastic over your windows? Yeah, that.
Oh, but these masks and gloves are only for those who get sick, or those who care for them. Are they expecting millions?
The guidance also recommends the use of personal protective equipment in situations when a student becomes ill while at school. The guidance states that students who appear to have influenza-like illness should be sent to a supervised sick room separate from others until they can leave the school campus. CDC recommends that the ill person wear a surgical mask, if they can tolerate it. The CDC guidance also recommends that school nurses or other school staff who are caring for ill students should wear gloves and a respirator face mask, commonly known as an N95 respirator.
A supervised sick room? School nurses? School nurses? How many schools still provide such services? The school at which I teach has a severely handicapped program, and in that program we have a nurse (not sure if she's there every day or not), so in that regard we're better off than many schools. We certainly don't have a nurse's office, though.
This is a typical bureaucratic non-solution. They can't do much more than this, but this is more theater than real solution. They just want to be seen as doing something.