From the Nurse: Zika Virus Information
Dear Chief State School Officers:
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) would like to refer you to information and resources for state and local leaders, schools, school-based health staff, and educators on steps that can be taken to guard against viruses spread by mosquitoes such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus disease (Zika). We continue to appreciate the work you do to foster a healthy environment in America’s schools and hope that these materials will support your efforts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed interim guidance, http://www.cdc.gov/z
Complete information about Zika and how to prevent it is given at http://www.cdc.gov/zika and at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/com
As with all health-related issues, districts and schools must maintain the privacy and identity of individual students and teachers consistent with all applicable privacy laws.
We hope that you will familiarize yourself with these resources and that you will share them through all of your available networks and communication vehicles to help ensure they reach the appropriate audiences. In the appendix to this letter you will find a checklist for district and school leaders that we hope will be a valuable resource.
Thanks for all you do every day to support the health, safety, and education of our students.
John B. King, Jr.
Mitigation Strategies Checklist for District and School Leaders
1. Inform the school community
- The risks of mosquito bites and how to protect themselves
- Symptoms of Zika
- How to apply insect repellent to children
- How to talk to children about Zika
- Sexual transmission of Zika
2. As appropriate, encourage the use of the following
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing one of these active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol
- Long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Clothing and gear treated with permethrin that will provide an added layer of protection
- Lightweight, loose fitting clothing during the warmer months. When wearing longer sleeves and pants, take additional steps to prevent heat-related illnesses (for example, drink additional water and take rest breaks)
3. Conduct routine mosquito control around school properties
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water where mosquitoes lay eggs
- Repair septic tanks and screens on windows and doors
- Treat standing water that cannot be removed and will not be used for drinking or swimming with larvicides
- Use outdoor and indoor insecticides according to label instructions to kill mosquitoes
- Contact your local mosquito control district for assistance with applying insecticides and conducting larval control in water that will not be used for drinking
4. Support members of the school community
- If requested, consider reassigning anyone who indicates she is or may become pregnant, or who is male and has a sexual partner who is or may become pregnant, to indoor tasks to reduce their risk of mosquito bites
- Ensure that staff and students receive prompt and appropriate medical evaluation and follow-up after a suspected exposure to Zika virus
- Provide resources specifically for parents and caregivers
- Provide resources for those traveling