The Uinta County School District No. 1 Emergency Management Plan consists of several components including the Base Plan, Appendixes, Emergency Support Functions, Support Annexes, and Incident Annexes. The Pandemic Influenza Management Plan is one of several Incident Annexes and therefore serves to augment the Base Plan and other components. In order to ensure efficient and effective emergency management, the UCSD Emergency Management Plan document must be implemented in its entirety.
One of the greatest and most likely threats to the public’s health is a naturally occurring event – an influenza pandemic. Influenza epidemics happen nearly every year (often called seasonal influenza), and cause an average of 36,000 deaths annually in the United States. Influenza epidemics are caused by a few known virus strains that circulate around the world. Over time, people develop immunities to these strains and vaccines are developed to protect people from serious illness.
Influenza viruses experience frequent, slight changes to their genetic structure. Occasionally, however, they undergo a major change in genetic composition. It is this major genetic shift that creates a “novel” virus and the potential for a pandemic – a global epidemic. The creation of a novel virus means that most, if not all, people in the world will have never been exposed to the new strain and have no immunities to the disease. It also means that new vaccines must be developed and therefore are not likely to be available for months, during which time many people could become infected and seriously ill.
During the 20th century, three pandemics occurred that spread worldwide within a year. The influenza pandemic of 1918 was especially virulent, killing a large number of young, otherwise healthy adults. The pandemic caused more than 500,000 deaths in the United States and more than 40 million deaths around the world Subsequent pandemics in 1957–58 and 1968-69 caused far fewer fatalities in the U.S., 70,000 and 34,000 deaths respectively, but caused significant illness and death around the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the U.S. alone, an influenza pandemic could infect up to 200 million people and cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. Scientists and health officials throughout the world believe that it is inevitable that more influenza pandemics will occur in the 21st century. Recent cases of human disease caused by a widespread and growing avian influenza outbreak suggest that a new pandemic could be developing at this time.
Table 1. Estimated number of Episodes of Illness, Healthcare Utilization and Deaths Associated with Pandemic Influenza Scenarios for US population and Wyoming.
Characteristic Moderate (1959/68) Severe (1918)
US Wyoming US Wyoming
Illness 90 Million No 90 Million 172,824
Outpatient Care 45 Million Figures 45 Million 76,648
Hospitalization 865,000 Available 9,900,000 15,926
Deaths 209,000 ------------ 1,903,000 3,603
There are several characteristics of influenza pandemic that differentiate it from other public health emergencies. First, it has the potential to suddenly cause illness in a very large number of people, who could easily overwhelm the health care system throughout the nation. A pandemic outbreak could also jeopardize essential community services by causing high levels of absenteeism in critical positions in every workforce. It is likely that vaccines against the new virus will not be available for six to eight months following the emergence of the virus. Basic services, such as health care, law enforcement, fire, emergency response, communications, transportation, public schools, and utilities, could be disrupted during a pandemic. The increased stress from a potential pandemic or actual pandemic will also increase the mental health service needs throughout the schools and community. Finally, the pandemic, unlike many other emergency events, could last for many weeks, if not months. School closures may last up to 2 months and the entire county must be prepared for such an event.
Schools tend to be affected by outbreaks more than other settings because their occupants—primarily children—easily transmit illnesses to one another as a result of their close proximity and their inefficiency at containing the droplets issued by their coughs and sneezes. High susceptibility of students and staff to exposure to a mutated virus as result of proximity and a longer duration of the outbreak due to lack of immunity and vaccines could result in lengthy and widespread absenteeism. In a worse-case scenario, the pandemic could force schools to close, potentially prompting administration to extend the academic year and expend additional resources for staff sick leave and substitute teachers.
Summary of Emergency Management Principles
Evanston Regional Hospital, Uinta County Public Health, Uinta County Emergency Management Agency, and Uinta County School District No. 1 will utilize their pandemic Influenza plan for their agencies to achieve the following goals:
The plan will be coordinated with the above listed agency Emergency Management plans and activities, and will be coordinated with the plans of our community, state and federal partners
The U.S. Health and Human Services Pandemic Influenza Plan contains the following information about pandemics, how they might affect school aged children, and how states and local agencies should plan for them:
Whether or not schools will be closed or for how long is impossible to say in advance, since all pandemics are different in their scope and severity. However, it is well established that infectious disease outbreaks most often start in schools and so the County Health Officer (CHO) may close schools early in an event. The duration of school closings can only be determined at the time of the event based on the characteristics of the pandemic. It is unlikely that schools will be closed for less than 2 weeks (based on the incubation period of the disease and the length of time people are contagious) and could be as long as 8 weeks. Other planning assumptions that are being used by the community include:
In Uinta County, various public officials have overlapping authorities with regard to protecting public health and safety. The Governor, the State Health Officer, and the County Health Officer each can implement authorities within the scope of their jurisdiction. During a pandemic, the presence of overlapping authorities will necessitate close communication and coordination between elected public officials and the general public to ensure decisions and response actions are clear and consistent. Local law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the orders issued by the State Health Officer within their jurisdiction.
A school district has the authority to close schools for emergency reasons.
The Superintendent of UCSD #1 has established the following definitions related to emergency school closures for the school district:
The World Health Organization (WHO), the medical arm of the United Nations, has developed a global influenza preparedness plan that includes a classification system for guiding planning and response activities for an influenza pandemic. This classification system is comprised of six phases of increasing public health risk associated with the emergence and spread of a new influenza virus subtype that may lead to a pandemic. The Director General of WHO formally declares the current global pandemic phase and adjusts the phase level to correspond with pandemic conditions around the world. For each phase, the global influenza preparedness plan identifies response measures WHO will take and recommends actions that countries around the world should implement.
Corresponding WHO Period WY Phase Description
Inter-pandemic (1&2) 1 No new influenza virus subtypes have been detected in humans.
Pandemic Alert (3) 2 Human infection(s) with a new subtype, but no human-to-human spread, or at most rare instances of spread to a close contact.
Pandemic Alert (4&5)
And Pandemic (6) 3 Human to human transmission occurring.
Limited transmission in other countries or US states (but not in WY) or widespread transmission in other countries.
4 Widespread transmission in US (but not in WY) and/or limited transmission in WY.
5 Increased and sustained transmission in WY population.
Mitigation activities are taken in advance of an influenza pandemic to prevent or temper its impact. Mitigation efforts will occur primarily during the early pandemic phases (WHO Phases 1-4).
The UCSD #1 pre-event mitigation activities include:
Social distancing strategies are non-medical measures intended to reduce the spread of disease from person-to-person by discouraging or preventing people from coming in close contact with each other. These strategies could include closing schools; closing non-essential agency functions; implementing emergency staffing plans; increased telecommuting, flex scheduling and other options; and closing all public assemblies or after school activities.
Isolation and Quarantine
Date of Implementation: 6 June 2008
Date of Review: 1 May 2009
BOCES 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services 1 (Evanston/Colleges)
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CHO County Health Officer
COOP Continuity Of Operations Plans
EOC Emergency Operation Center
EOP Emergency Operation Plan
ERH Evanston Regional Hospital
ICS Incident Command System
ILI Influenza Like Illness
JIC Joint Information Center
JOC Joint Operation Center
MAA Mutual Aid Agreement
MOA Memorandum of Agreement
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
PIO Public Information Officer
SHO State Health Officer
SNS Strategic National Stockpile (Anti-viral Vaccines)
USDHHS U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
UCEMA Uinta County Emergency Management Agency
UCPH Uinta County Public Health
UCSD NO. 1 Uinta County School District No. 1, Evanston, Wyoming
WDE Wyoming Department of Education
WHO World Health Organization
WOHS Wyoming Office of Homeland Security
WSDPH/WDH Wyoming State Department of Public Health/Wyoming Department of Health