Recently, the world was shocked with a disease spreading across countries suspected to have originated in Mexico City—the swine flu. The virus transmitted from swine and infects humans, which is now the suspected killer of hundred in Mexico and thousand others in other countries (VOA News, 2009). The outbreak caused fear and panic resulting to shut down of public offices including museums, parks, and even most specially schools. The National Education Association (NEA), the largest organization of professionals in United States committed for the improvement of public education, is also combating the potential hazards of swine flu.
In the United States, more than 100 schools have already closed down to prevent further spread of the virus. NEA addressed the problem immediately by coordination the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Education, and other agencies. Guidelines about symptoms and preventive measures are disseminated in schools, agencies, newspapers, and websites but the outbreak has continuously affected academic activities that NEA has no control of. Activities, including graduation, are postponed; NEA members, staffs, and students who travelled in Mexico are now subject to medical examination, while feeding programs and education are put on hold (NEA, 2009). The panic, preventive measures, information dissemination, and school downs have cause tremendous turbulence on the nationwide academe while NEA strives to fight it.
Before April ends, NEA Health Information Network joined the national conference participated by CDC, concerned agencies, and Education Department to address the swine flu—a strain of influenza virus, now labelled as influenza A (H1N1). The gathering offered to continue up-to-the-minute and regular updates on the highly-contagious respiratory illness. Initial reports were recorded in Mexico and later jumped across the border to California, New York, California, Ohio, Texas, and South Carolina which led to significant close downs of establishments (NEA Member Benefits, 2009). NEA responded with the pandemic through warnings, suggestions for preventive tips, and information dissemination about the nature of virus, the symptoms, and necessary actions if in suspect of infection.
The major shut downs of schools cause trauma and fear to NEA staffs and students across the country and other studying or travelling in Mexico and other countries. However, NEA have cooperated with CDC and the Department of Education to ensure the safety of its members and covered organizations. Advisories are given to travelling staff and students to undergo quarantine or monitoring if symptoms such as fever and coughing are observed. NEA posted advisories on what should be done in communities to avoid contamination, to regularly hold consultations among students, relatives, nurses, teachers, and other professionals if ever there is a need for close down of schools, suspensions of classes, or postponing of academic activities (NEA, 2009).
NEA’s immediate response and collaboration to different organization is a sign of its commitment to its labour members’ safety and welfare. Influenza A has not been too deadly as feared yet initial actions were made to secure that contamination will exist despite schools’ and other establishments’ close down that cause great delay and paranoia across the country. There is significant decrease or slow down in cases of hospitalizations and deaths but NEA HIN is still anticipating possible outbreak in fall. NEA HIN Manager of Programs Nora Howley said that this will be an opportunity for the union to devise pandemic flu plans (Sears, 2009). NEA HIN has been recognizing that its members share the same concern towards the deadly virus and continuous efforts, consultations, and planning are on the way to avoid health risks like swine flu.
NEA (2009). Schools and Swine Flu: What You Need to Know? Retrieved May 11, 2009
NEA Member Benefits (2009). Concerned About Swine Flu? Learn Basic Facts and
Preventive Tips. Retrieved May 11, 2009 from http://www.neamb.com/home/597_2747.htm
Sears, Nina. (2009). Schools Survive Swine. Retrieved May 11, 2009
VOA News. (2009) Swine Flu Outbreak Unnerves Mexico City. Retrieved May 11, 2009