Officials from the New Albany-Plain Local School District, along with those from the village of New Albany and Plain Township, are trying to make sure the community is ready for the flu.

Officials from the New Albany-Plain Local School District, along with those from the village of New Albany and Plain Township, are trying to make sure the community is ready for the flu.

Jeff Warner, communications director for NA-PLS, said school officials met with representatives from the Franklin County Board of Health last week on plans for the first of three H1N1 flu vaccination clinics that will be held within the next couple of weeks.

Though the date hasn't been set for the clinic, Warner said it most likely would be held for 5 to 8 p.m. after school.

The first clinic will provide elementary students with the first of two rounds of the shot; the second would serve middle and high school students; and the third clinic would serve the second shot for elementary students.

Parents will be able to choose between the nasal spray, which contains a live virus, and the regular H1N1 flu shot, according to a districtwide e-mail earlier this week.

Warner said the district is waiting for word from the health board.

"We are really at the mercy of when they get their shipments," he said.

He said the district would conduct an online survey of parents to gauge the number of students that would opt for the vaccine. He also said the district is looking for about 70 volunteers to help with registration, materials and traffic flow for the clinics.

In addition to planning for the flu clinic, NA-PLS officials are spreading information about containing the spread of the flu.

Warner said the district hasn't been hit much harder than it normally is during the regular flu season.

On Oct. 21, about 220 students were absent -- that was fairly consistent throughout the week.

Warner said officials are promoting hand washing and have disinfected high-contact areas, such as doorknobs, desktops and restrooms, more often.

He also said staff members are disinfecting buses at the end of each school day and are circulating a video to teach students the proper way to sneeze and cough into their elbows.

"A lot of it is just awareness," he said. "What the (county) board of health and Columbus (Public) Health have said is (that) increasing awareness makes a big impact itself."

Scott McAfee, spokesman for the village, said New Albany-area officials are working together to form a plan. The three entities -- the district, village and township --already have met once and plan to meet again in early November.

He said the biggest concern is in handling staff illnesses and making sure services aren't affected.

Thus far, village employees haven't been hit all that hard and were even offered the regular flu shot last week, he said.

"Obviously, there are concerns about how staff is going to be impacted and how services are going to be impacted, as well," McAfee said. "The next time we are meeting, a representative from the local hospital will come and give us some different ideas for how we might be able to manage staff in a tough situation."

He said the police department has ordered face masks for officers but has yet to use them. Police haven't been offered the vaccine yet.

"If it does hit, we would be ready to start integrating them," he said.

McAfee said one of the questions the local governmental entities are facing is whether they should keep track of staff absences and how many of those absences are related to H1N1.

Jack Rupp, assistant chief of the Plain Township Fire Department, said the three entities are trying to support each other in the case of a widespread emergency.

"If we do get into issues where we have lost a large portion of our staff because of the flu, just what can we do to support each other and help each other?" he said.

Rupp also said about 30 PTFD employees, including him, received the H1N1 vaccine last week.

Employees picked up the materials from the county board of health, administered the shots at the fire department on Johnstown Road and returned the materials by the end of the day.

Rupp said PTFD employees were encouraged to get the shot.

Thus far, one employee has opted out of the vaccine, he said.

"It's for the protection of the public and the protection of the staff," Rupp said.