The Reynoldsburg school district has a plan in place to deal with an outbreak of H1N1 flu.

The Reynoldsburg school district has a plan in place to deal with an outbreak of H1N1 flu.

"We've been monitoring and preparing for this for several months," Superintendent Steve Dackin told the Reynoldsburg Board of Education last week.

He said actual preparations go back to his predecessor, former superintendent Richard Ross, who was concerned about the avian flu three or four years ago.

"We began a pandemic plan many, many years ago, and so we've brought that back out and modified it," Dackin said. "We're working closely with the Franklin County Health Department and we take our marching orders from them."

He said the district is monitoring daily absences among students and staff. Although there have been a couple of spikes in absenteeism, nothing has created a great deal of concern, he said.

Disposable thermometers have been handed out in all classrooms so if a student complains of a fever, staff members can take his or her temperature on the spot. A process is in place to isolate anyone with a fever and have the parents contacted so sick students can be removed from school.

"Our janitorial staff is working their collective tails off to scrub and cleanse and disinfect classrooms, and bus drivers are wiping down seats and frames and handrails," Dackin added.

Transportation supervisor Mike Rosenberger his fleet of 34 buses is sprayed down with an anti-microbial disinfectant in the mornings and afternoons.

If a student needs to be out for a prolonged period of time, or in the extreme event a building would need to be closed, the district is preparing online resources for students to get classwork completed.

Dackin said the decision to close any building will be made in collaboration with the health department.

"I'll take signals from them in terms of if we reach some indicators that may cause us to do have to do that we're not there yet," he said. "If it comes to that point, we'll make those announcements through our traditional ways, including our security voice system."

Business manager Ron Strussion said there is no "magic number" of how many people need to be out sick before the district closes a school.

"The bigger problem won't be the kids but the staff. I mean, with 40 percent of your staff out, you can't operate," Strussion said. "It's more likely we would close a building because of staff than it will be because of kids."

Although some students might be discouraged about staying home if they are sick, Dackin stresses to parents, "if your child is sick and running a fever, keep them home, don't send them to school."

He said the district will be setting up an H1N1 vaccine clinic at the high school's fieldhouse, through the Franklin County Board of Health, when and if the vaccine becomes available.

Strussion said vaccines will not be administered to students without a signed consent form from their parents.