New Study Finds Schools are Underprepared for Pandemics and Natural Disasters

11/17/15 By Jill Tilton

Missouri schools are no more prepared to respond to pandemics, natural disasters, and bioterrorism attacks than they were in 2011, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Missouri schools are no more prepared to respond to pandemics, natural disasters, and bioterrorism attacks than they were in 2011, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

A team of researchers from Saint Louis University found that on average, schools still reported having less than half of the measured indicators for preparedness. Although in general, schools were much better prepared for natural disasters than biological events, nurses agreed on the equal importance of being prepared for both.

Particular gaps were found in bioterrorism readiness—less than 10 percent of schools have a foodservice biosecurity plan and only 1.5 percent address the psychological needs that accompany a bioterrorism attack.

Pandemic preparedness is not only critical because of the threat of a future pandemic or an outbreak of an emerging infectious disease, but also because school preparedness for all types of disasters, including biological events, is mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

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