Covid failures can’t be repeated if H5N1 bird flu reaches schools

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As Covid-19 swept through the U.S., schools were significantly affected, prompting discussions on preparing for potential avian influenza outbreaks. Despite billions invested in public health infrastructure, challenges remain, with experts warning about the possibility of an avian flu pandemic. The response to Covid-19 highlighted issues with nonpharmaceutical interventions in schools and highlighted the need for better coordination between health and education officials. Steps to prepare schools for future pandemics include addressing gaps in emergency response planning, testing health data-sharing systems, conducting tabletop exercises, and improving communication. Federal health officials must also accelerate the development of vaccines for both adults and children to be better prepared for future health emergencies.

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