6129 - Pandemic Illness

Should a communicable illness reach epidemic or pandemic proportion Avery County Board of Education has developed a protocol for the management of a communicable illness. The School Nurse will monitor pandemic illness activity in the school system by regularly checking with the local public health department and the website: www.pandemicflu.gov.

Individual Case Management

If a pandemic illness is present locally, the superintendent will be alerted and all principals in the school system will be instructed to notify students and staff regarding health risks and symptoms to report if traveling to or from affected areas. Travelers will be requested to monitor their health and report symptoms of illness that occur within 10 days of travel. Non-essential travel to pandemic affected locations will be discouraged.

A sign will be posted at each school entrance asking students, parents, and visitors with fever (per policy 6128 Students with Fever) and/or respiratory symptoms and recent travel to pandemic illness affected areas to call the office regarding their needs on campus.

Any staff member, student, sibling, parent, or other household member with a history of travel returning from an area with current pandemic illness activity having symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain) should be advised to report to their physician’s office, not to come to school until cleared by a physician, to use hand hygiene and to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing. If any individual presents to the school the above history the policy 6122 Communicable Disease Prevention and Control should be followed.

Once a student, staff member, or visitor meets the definition for pandemic illness, the nurse will follow the school communicable disease prevention and control policy. In order for a case to be considered suspect, the following criteria are considered: * Travel to an area with documented pandemic illness activity * Close contact with a pandemic illness patient * Fever of 100.5 degrees or higher with respiratory illness

Any individual returning from a pandemic illness affected area within the past 10 days that is asymptomatic may engage in normal activities.

Local Pandemic Illness

The term “local” is used to define any county in North Carolina or Tennessee that borders Avery County, or as defined by the superintendent, The Crisis Management Team which includes members from the Safe School Committee, Health Advisory Council, Avery County Health Department, school health team, superintendent and Emergency Management Services.

Care of Students/Staff

During the process of managing the situation, all students and staff arriving and leaving will be encouraged to wash hands liberally with soap and water and/or hand sanitizer. All asymptotic students/staff will be release through normal early dismissal procedures. Symptomatic staff will be directed to return home in private vehicles. Parents of symptomatic students will pick their students up to return home in private vehicles. Should the parent be unreachable, the student(s) will be isolated until the parents return. Students and staff should cover their mouth when sneezing/coughing and wash their hands with soap and water and/or hand sanitizer.

Students who are ill should be maintained in a designated area isolated from other students until the child is picked up by a parent or guardian.


The student should remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees), or signs of a fever without use of fever-reducing medications.


Avery County Schools will communicate the information regarding pandemic illness to the public via the phone system AlertNow , news media and the school website: https://averyschools.net. The school nurse will be in contact with the Avery County Health Department on a daily basis.


The Crisis Management Team will confer with Avery County Health Department, CDC, school nurses, the superintendent and the Health Advisory Team to determine the reopening of schools.

Adopted: 2008-09-08 Revised: 2009-09-14