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Center for Public Health Preparedness

Transcriptions

University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness

From Teachers to Leaders: In Crisis

Original Satellite Broadcast: 04/12/07

Moderator: Good morning and welcome to the University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness Grand Rounds Series. I’m Peter Slocum and I’ll be your moderator today. Before we start, we’d like to ask you to please fill out your evaluations online. Your feedback is always helpful in the development of our future programs and continuing education credits are available. We’ll be taking your calls later in the program. We’ll be extending this program by 15 minutes so that we will have plenty of time for your questions. Toll-free number is 800-452-0662. You may also send your written questions any time during the program to a fax number 518-426-0696, or to the e-mail address that is on your screen. In celebration of National Public Health Week, this broadcast will be followed by a live panel discussion at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health in Rensselaer from 12 to 2:00 today. Viewers in the capital region are welcome to attend. Also since many of you in the audience today may be involved with primary education, we wanted to let you know that next week’s t2b2 program on April 19 is on school wellness policies. For more information, please see t2b2.org. In today’s program, From Teachers to Leaders: In Crisis, we are focusing on how best prepare school communities and their partners to manage their schools during a crisis. Our guest today is Dr. Roseann Samson, Assistant Superintendent at the Charlotte County Public Schools in Florida. She’s lived through Hurricane Charley that destroyed several of the schools in her district, and she’s here today to tell us how they managed and struggled with that situation and how you can help prepare communities in your region. Welcome to the program, Dr. Samson.

Dr. Samson: Thank you. It’s good to be here, Peter.

Moderator: As we get started, I wanted you to, in a broad sense, tell us what responsibilities schools have during a crisis like this.

Dr. Samson: In general, every community has its expectations for its school. In Charlotte County, we believe our duty is certainly to our students as far as sheltering them after a storm. Our schools are usually on dismissal when we have such things as a hurricane, but we do believe in sheltering and protecting our students, our faculty, our staff, other community members as well; certainly other public entities that may have lost their own facilities. So again, being that it’s a public building, it’s open to the public, and whatever is necessary, our schools– as I’m sure schools across the nation, you know, try to provide.

Moderator: So it’s a pretty broad definition of responsibility really that you’re sketching out here.

Dr. Samson: It certainly is.

Moderator: Right. What sort of public health threats may schools face?

Dr. Samson: Well, you know, in this day and age when we look at the threats that are out there, they’re very similar to the ones that we face in our community. But if we break them into natural disasters certainly we can look at things like earthquakes, tornadoes, major snowstorms, not necessarily in the disaster category but it does have repercussions. Certainly the hurricane that the Charlotte schools went through in Florida is one, and certainly, you know, you have flooding and you have– even a rainstorm can be a disaster depending on the severity of course.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Then when we look at the things that are threats from a disease perspective, there’s many outbreaks that can befall a school district. Influenza is one, probably the most common ones that, you know, we see at certain times during seems like odd time years.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And then things like whooping cough. That can be something, MRSA, any of the contact type diseases certainly. Then of course there’s terrorism, as we’ve all learned too well through what we went through with the terrorist attacks, and then school shootings, any kind of violence in the school.

Moderator: Now you’ve had more firsthand experience than you might like with natural disasters in the school system in Florida.

Dr. Samson: Unfortunately, yes.

Moderator: Can you tell us exactly what happened there in the Hurricane Charley experience?

Dr. Samson: Yes, I can. When we looked at our school district starting, as you can imagine in a new school year, people are optimistic. Things are wonderful. School started on August 9th. Our buildings were in great tip-top shape. Every one that was coming back to school was prepared, and in Florida we start school early, by standards in other areas. So August 9th is a Monday. August 13th, which is a Friday, Hurricane Charley hit. It entered the state of Florida a few—if you know Florida, we’re talking about the West Coast. We’re talking about the indentation that’s the second one South from Tampa.

Moderator: Right. We have a ma’am on the screen.

Dr. Samson: Yes, you do.

Moderator: So people get a handle on that.

Dr. Samson: Yes. And it’s a beautiful, wonderful, tranquil location. I’ve lived there myself since 1979, have never had or experienced a hurricane. Experienced tropical storms, but that storm hit us on August 13th. We had closed school on Thursday because we knew we had a storm approaching, but we had never the expectation that that storm was going to hit us directly. As the weather predictions came about, it was to skirt the coast. It looked like it might hit in the panhandle, and as predictions started to become more refined, then we learned that it was going to hit Tampa. So we canceled school.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: We met as a group on Thursday. We’d been through this tropical storm drill many times. We gave out our 800 megahertz radios and things of that nature preparing for the storm. And as we’re all sitting home– because when you’re having a tropical storm, for your audience members that might not have been involved in one before, it gets very dreary. It gets very humid. You can tell a rainstorm’s approaching. And at the most that we’ve had previous to this hurricane was heavy winds, winds that we could, you know, pretty much prepare for.

Moderator: So we have some video of what happened next. I’d like to show that while you continue the narrative of how your system dealt with all that.

Dr. Samson: Okay. Oh, my, this brings back memories, just looking certainly at that storm. Most of us, when you have a storm like this, as you prepare, we go to our homes, and most of our homes in Florida are built to hurricane standards. For this particular storm, we had some flooding in some areas, as you can see. We didn’t know the storm was going to hit us dead on like it did until about oh, three hours, maybe two hours before. We had very little notice it was coming to our shores.

Moderator: Okay.

Dr. Samson: So we were in shock and we did not evacuate, like we maybe would have, had we known the storm was going to come to us. Because as I said tropical storms are pretty much something you expect when you live in Florida. It’s one of those things. But look at what happens after; it’s very sad, totally incredible. totally.

Moderator: The community was not evacuated in advance. Fortunately you had closed schools so the kids weren’t in school.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct.

Moderator: But that’s about the only blessing that seems to be apparent here.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct. When you look at evacuations, you know, you need time. And with everyone heading in one direction, it clogged up the roads certainly. So when we see this, this is not anything that is doctored up. This is the real deal, what we see. Brick walls, they weren’t respected. This happens to be a playground where children were playing the day before.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Peace River elementary school, very near the shores of the Peace River right where the storm entered.

Moderator: Oh, okay, where it came ashore.

Dr. Samson: Wood cutting through metal. Isn’t that something?

Moderator: Unbelievable, the power of that storm.

Dr. Samson: Um-hmm. Things that you would have thought would have been able to last forever, including a football field here and the press box.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Aluminum walkways. This happens to be a cafeteria at one of the schools.

Moderator: Right. Just torn and twisted.

Dr. Samson: Solid doors just pushed right in. This is the performing arts center, and the storm just broke right through the doors. This storm was August 13th of 2004; and on August 12th, the day before, there were children sitting in those very seats that we’re seeing right now.

Moderator: And flush with the excitement of a new school year, too.

Dr. Samson: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. The storm respected nothing, that was for sure.

Moderator: That’s right.

Dr. Samson: And when we look at the devastation coming back after the storm, the trauma that this leaves, the imprint it leaves on a child’s mind of their school, because their school is a safe place.

Moderator: I was going to say, its meant to be a safe haven.

Dr. Samson: Right, just like your home. So some of our children not only lost their homes but they lost their school.

Moderator: That’s right. Wow. That’s pretty awful. Can you give us an overview of the school system physically and some of the level of devastation that we’ve seen illustrated here but in facts and figures, so to speak.

Dr. Samson: The school district in Charlotte County, Florida, in Florida we’re divided in 67 counties. Charlotte County is one of those counties. There are no city school districts like we have in some of the areas across the nation. There are– prior to the storm we had just over 19,000 children enrolled in school, 2,200 support staff, teachers, employees of the school district; 20 individual school sites.

Moderator: Okay.

Dr. Samson: Every one of the schools, tip- top shape and waiting for the students in that first week of school. Great community, wonderful area, right near and on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

Moderator: Um-hmm. And of those schools, almost a third were destroyed, is that right?

Dr. Samson: Yes, Peter. Of the schools, when the storm ended and, you know, after we made the assessments and all, we had lost a total of six schools: One high school, one middle school, three of our elementary schools and one of our special centers, just totally destroyed.

Moderator: And that displaced thousands of children, right?

Dr. Samson: Yes, it did, 6,000 students to be exact were displaced from their schools. No place to go Monday morning if schools were to be able to be open. Our focus from onset was to make certain that we got children back in school just as quickly, you know, as we could. Obviously, I think any school district would want to get their children back in school.

Moderator: Sure, sure. Well, let’s go back before the storm hit a little bit and talk about the need to be prepared. What kind of plans and preparations did you already have in place on that day in August?

Dr. Samson: Strangely enough to us, when we look back on it– you know you always look at things in a perspective in hindsight.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: On February 13th, six months before the storm.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: We had a practice drill that involved our entire community. The schools brought out a scenario where we met for a planned exercise at one of our middle schools. We did not plan a hurricane drill, but a drill, you know, in general. And it was one of those things that, when we did this practice, it brought a number of things to the forefront for us. So we had– this is– was the first time we had had a drill so the major proportion we did just prior to the storm.

Moderator: And what did you– give us some of the positives that you were able to pull out of that drill.

Dr. Samson: Well, this was interesting for us. We realized as we progressed through the drill that we needed to know the people that we were working with. We needed to know our– people involved. So we had to know who to invite to the drill. That was one thing, and some of the people that were invited to the drills weren’t necessarily the people that needed to respond in– you know, for the real thing. But we had an opportunity to learn that we did not– we could not use our cell phones. We found that we had established a meeting place in advance, and that was very helpful. We had our 800 megahertz radios, and we realized– one of the positive things we realized is that we needed more of those radios. They proved to be the instrument that helped us through not only the storm, but in planning, because the cell phone towers were overloaded. We found that to be the case. We found that we were draining batteries on those cell phones because of the way the scenario came down.

Moderator: Right. So that was a good lesson that you can’t rely on that ubiquitous tool that we all use all the time.

Dr. Samson: That is absolutely the truth, yes. And you’re not having electricity, no phones, no faxes, no computers. Interesting dynamic.

Moderator: Right. And when we were talking before this program, you explained that you met a lot of people in this process of the drill you hadn’t interacted with before, and knowing who they were and what their roles were proved to be very important.

Dr. Samson: That was key, it really was. Our key partners, it was extremely important to us. We found after knowing our disaster preparedness coordinator for the county, having the various personnel from the area fire departments, the sheriff department, the police department. That was critical to us, too. Knowing who the people that were going to be staffing the command centers and how command centers actually work; that was something that we wouldn’t have known previous. Having the YMCA, the parks and rec- programs in place, because from the time the storm hit to the time we were able to get children back in school.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: The parents had to be dealing with their own disaster at their home.

Moderator: Um-hmm.

Dr. Samson: And the children really needed a safe place where they could get away. So the YMCA, the parks and all that became very important to us. Our public health sector folks became extremely important, because they of course do much more training and planning than we in the school district do. So we were able to rely on them tremendously. NOVA, the group for victims of assistance, came to work with us after was extremely helpful, too. So there’s just a number of resources that we found we were able to connect with a little more easily than if we hadn’t had that drill.

Moderator: What really strikes me how comprehensive the view of emergency response is from a school point of view when you talk about the YMCAs, you talk about victim assistance, you talk about helping these kids, not just in the classroom but in a broader sense.

Dr. Samson: Sure.

Moderator: Which are the thing you’re faced with.

Dr. Samson: You know, Peter, another part of that, not knowing what kind of disaster you’re going to have, it’s hard to be prepared for everything. So having a general preparation, even though the disaster we practiced for wasn’t the one that was sent to us.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: It really did help us being that those key players were able to know us and we know them.

Moderator: Right. Who should be involved in the preparation for a disaster at the school itself?

Dr. Samson: Well, I think when we look at that, every disaster’s going to be different, but from a general perspective, we would want to make sure that the partners would be coming to us from a number of areas, and certainly we want to involve all of our teachers, all of our administrators, parents, students, to the extent that we possibly can. Our food service staff, our school nurses; definitely people in the maintenance; the bus drivers; the librarians; our school board members, and again our public health entities. Very critical that they are part of that planning and that we engage them and we ask them for their advice, because they brought perspectives to things that we wouldn’t have had.

Moderator: Right. A little parochial question for public health audience: What is the role of public health in helping a school in a situation like this?

Dr. Samson: We relied on our public health folks tremendously all during the school year, in good times and during this hurricane. So the role during this particular disaster turned out to be one that was undertaking risk assessment and hazard mitigation for the onset of the storm. Where this storm came in, unfortunately it took the public health department and destroyed its building. It has just now– in the time being has just been put into new quarters but it did destroy its building. We have an opportunity here to keep current lists of our schools. We found that they were able to do that. When the sign blew down for the schools, they were very familiar with the areas and could still get to us. Traffic signs were down. Streets signs down, so people familiar from the health department with the areas, that was important. Certainly our doctors, our nurses, all of the health practitioners came into play. They were able to help us staff our clinics when we set up our temporary emergency shelters. We had folks from our local health department, and they made contacts on the outside because they realized this was no drill, and this was something that was much more devastating than we had anticipated. So we had, thank goodness, health practitioners from the public health sector coming in from all over the state and from other states. We had New York represented. Just– I won’t get into the listing of the states, but many people, many states absolutely saved us. They provided vaccines for our children. They were there for some of the mental health issues that we didn’t expect but that we knew we were facing as we got into this storm. So I think that partnership beforehand was critical.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: But we realized we all relied on each other tremendously during that storm, too.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Did that answer that question?

Moderator: It does. I want to ask what– there’s a reference on the slide to an organization called NOVA. That’s a National Organization of Victims Assistance?

Dr. Samson: That’s correct. We, since the storm, have now had folks from our school district trained so that if a disaster is to befall another school district or another area of the country, we would be able to go in, too, as helpers. Because once you’re involved in a disaster like this, sometimes it’s the caregivers themselves that need help because they may have lost their house. We lost over 10,000 homes in our community, and it didn’t pick and choose which houses it was going to take out. So we all needed reinforcements and a depth of people that could step in if for some reason we weren’t able to be there.

Moderator: Right. Tell us a bit about the role of the school nurse at the disaster scene.

Dr. Samson: You know, when we look at our school nurses, we’re fortunate that we have a school nurse in every school.

Moderator: Okay.

Dr. Samson: That’s not the norm in every district. But our school nurses were able to assess each child after the disaster. They were able to talk with the families, talk with the children. If the children showed signs of trauma, they were able to help with that interface. They were definitely the bridge, along with many of the teachers and administrators with the public health department. There was no question about that. They certainly had to help preserve student records. If you can imagine, our clinics, they’re staffed with a lot of private, confidential information.

Moderator: Sure.

Dr. Samson: So that information had to be retrieved. The roof was down. There’s water this deep. Mold is starting to grow. In Florida, moisture and heat, it doesn’t take long for that to happen.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: The head of our nursing program, I can vividly remember her wading into one of the schools with members of the National Guard to pull out these files, load them on a school bus so that we could get them to a place that we could coordinate to get the students’ records.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: That was one of the most endearing memories– there were lots of them– but that was one of a roll. That was not in that nurse’s job description. That was definitely different. And then of course monitoring the immunization schedule, making sure that we maintained the medication schedule for children. That was important.

Moderator: Right. Because schools do an awful lot of that for kids.

Dr. Samson: Absolutely correct. Trying to get that normalcy back and where medications were involved, that was something that needed to be taken care of. And then of course anticipating the fact that there may not be medications available. That was an item that I believe we handled very well through the school nurses. And then anticipating that there could be a possible lack of medical equipment available to us. And then certainly– and this was the case all across the board, not just for nurses but for everyone that were the survivors, that were their helpers, and that was to take care of self and to make sure that everyone that was helping was okay.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: As okay as okay could be at that time.

Moderator: In that kind of circumstance. Well, who were some of the others who helped out beyond this community we’ve talked about and fulfilling other needs that people had?

Dr. Samson: I feel certain there are people we will never know that helped. I can remember very specifically the Salvation Army showing up, and I remember standing in line. It’s still very hard emotionally for this one. But just accepting coffee.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: From people you didn’t know and people that came forward from all areas of the country.

Moderator: Spontaneously.

Dr. Samson: Spontaneously. Because, again, I said this before: No phones, no faxes.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: No way to call for help. And being able to– just knowing that help would be coming, just taking that cup of coffee.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: People would bring us clean clothes, cups of water, ice, those kinds of things, those gestures were extremely valuable to us.

Moderator: Right. And so oftentimes in a disaster like that, you feel isolated. You feel like nobody understands what you’re having to deal with, and to have people come in like this and provide that kind of assistance unbidden is really almost miraculous at times.

Dr. Samson: It is. And it– still to this day, for many of us, not just me, but for many of us in our school district, it’s still very emotional. We had so many memories of so many kind things that happened to us. You know, it just makes you a kinder human. It makes you a nicer person yourself when you have to experience something like that.

Moderator: Let’s talk about some of the different things that are important to prepare for and to have on hand. It sounds like good communication is pretty important, so let’s start there if we may.

Dr. Samson: And you are so right. The communication efforts– I just can’t overemphasize that. Having no computer because you don’t have electricity. You’re good as long as your batteries last, and if you change that battery and you lose your data, it’s a problem. So having hard copies of everything to back up what you believe to be important as far as immediately after the storm. Having the 800 megahertz radios available to us. Having crank radios, radios which you provide the power, doesn’t even need batteries because those batteries do wear out. Cell phones with batteries and car chargers for those cell phones that would connect direct to your car battery. And that lasted as long as the gasoline lasted. When you ran out of gasoline, that then became a problem. So having extra batteries certainly is something that we would share with anyone. Having generators at your disposal. But when your whole community has been affected by this, there are not– I promise you– enough generators to go around.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: The HAM radio operators, they were certainly helpful. And then creating a phone tree, a hard copy, an up-to-date hard copy of the phone tree, where one person might be responsible, and we say phone calls but it may not be a phone call. It may be you’re responsible, before the storm, for five or six or seven people because they may live in your immediate area. Because it isn’t as easy as picking up the phone. So driving to them, knowing someone that knows someone, being in touch. That kind of communication certainly essential.

Moderator: So you need that network in place.

Dr. Samson: You definitely need that network in place. And I’ll mention this to make it into– a little bit lighter here. But our school superintendent immediately recognized that communication issue as being a critical component. And communicating with our faculty, with our faculties, with our staff, with the children and their parents that they were going to be okay; we were going to be okay. We’re going to get back to school. So communication in a number of areas, which I know we’ll talk about, but I don’t want to miss out on that as a key point as well.

Moderator: Right. What about some of the technical protection, protecting technical equipment and computers that you have in the building?

Dr. Samson: A simple action like taking a plastic trash bag.

Moderator: Uh-huh.

Dr. Samson: And putting it over the top of computers. You can see the teachers followed the protocols right there in this particular classroom, and unplugging the computers, taking the computer itself, lifting it up to a high water mark, whatever that might be, and certainly unplugging it in advance, but knowing that you could save your computer. We saved many thousand of them in our school district just by that simple act alone. And then certainly backing up datas we had talked about before. Getting online before classes resume if possible. It allowed us to do that by being able to retrieve those computers that weren’t flooded or drenched by rain or crushed to bits.

Moderator: Right, right. What about your recommendations for protecting food supplies, which is a critical matter for kids coming back to school.

Dr. Samson: It is. It is. And that one is a tough one simply because of spoilage. And if we were dealing with one school that maybe had lost its electricity or its roof, that would have been something quite different from their food supplies being able to be saved. But we’re talking six schools that were destroyed, and all the other schools, all the other schools, save three, that had no electricity to them. Our food service director had taken clean 50-gallon trash containers.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Filled them with water, and put them in the freezers and refrigerators, because we were anticipating the loss of electricity. So I would highly recommend that, as we found out that that was one of the things that she did, we were just pretty much in awe and we thought, you know, she knew what she was doing because it really did help when the electricity was out. Certainly having backup plans for where refrigeration might be able to be found for some of your food products. Donations started just pouring in. After the roadways were cleared, we found a lot of food coming to us. So having a staff person in charge of managing those donations, Peter, so that we didn’t end up with things spoiling and having– you know, contaminated food products, that was important. Having some advanced simple menus and things on hand, too. Having beverages, banking ice, we talked about that. Proper sanitation obviously. And then of course where the food is and when there is not food readily available, having law enforcement handy certainly helps be a calming– bring the calming influence to the food supplies area.

Moderator: Wow. More to think about than I would have imagined. When roads are destroyed and gas is hard to get, what’s the best way to prepare for transportation in this crisis?

Dr. Samson: We found that we prepared our vehicles in advance. In Charlotte County, we’re divided into three areas. We have two rivers that run through the town. So we had all of our vehicles fueled, and we took those vehicles and we moved them to three different geographic locations. It’s just part of what we normally do in a tropical storm because we’re always worried about flooding.

Moderator: Okay.

Dr. Samson: We had not anticipated the hurricane.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: But that certainly proved to be helpful to us. We had our fuel storage tanks topped off, and that is something that we would normally do, normal protocol. We took the buses immediately out the next day into the streets because they were a big vehicle. Lines were down, and if the roads became clear and law enforcement gave us the okay, we were able to get things into the devastated areas by school bus. And bless our school bus drivers. They were right there certainly for us. One of the things we didn’t anticipate that we do now, and that would be nails and screws that get cast about in a storm like this. I know that’s not something, you know, we would think about normally. But the number of tires that we had to repair, flat tires, having a fix-a-flat, those little inflatable cans, proved very helpful to us, too. It was kind of the norm. If you didn’t have a flat tire or two or three or six or seven, it meant you weren’t out in the street, that was for sure. And having keys in locations for any type of your emergency vehicles where everyone that needs to can get to the key. I know it’s kind of a dichotomy there because we say: Lock your keys, secure them. But if you’re the keeper of the keys and you aren’t there and I need to get into those keys, that is again something we’ve learned and we’re going to think about and have and made some different arrangements than previous.

Moderator: I want to go a little more deeply into this, because school buses as you say were out the next day, which was a Saturday. And the school buses were not for transporting kids back and forth to school but for other emergency purposes within that community, right?

Dr. Samson: Yes, exactly. Because they were– we look at them as very recognizable, and a safe, you know– buses are safe. And by using those buses, we were able to use the P.A. System on the buses, inviting people that were still in shock with their homes. If you wanted to get on the bus, please feel free. Come to the shelter, which was about 11 miles away from where the hurricane entered. And the first day or two, people were reluctant, but by the third day, we had many people be willing to go on the bus and be taken to the shelter. We had a couple of crews of teachers and support staff that weathered the storm as well. And because of the devastation that we’d experienced, anyone that could hold a hammer and cover things with Visqueen or tarps. We had several of our buses that turned into transportation vehicles for repair people.

Moderator: Okay.

Dr. Samson: We would meet at a certain location in the morning, the bus would go out, and we would just stop at people’s homes that needed some help. And it was a powerful message, I think, having that yellow school bus.

Moderator: Yeah. I could see that. I could see that. So how did you designate which schools would be used as sheltering sites in the event of a storm like this?

Dr. Samson: When we look at Red Cross designated shelters.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: In our community because of our sea level designation, we do not have a Red Cross certified shelter. We didn’t at this– at the onset of this storm.

Moderator: It would be in peril as well.

Dr. Samson: Right.

Moderator: Being that close.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct. So any school building that remained standing was considered able, and we invited folks to use it as a shelter, because at least a number of our school roofs did stay on. And we used those as shelters. Any available space, we had people in the gymnasiums that survived, the cafeterias, just the normal places that you would expect. The schools of course that were damaged, some of those had been designated as places people could go for shelters. And again with no radios, no television, because when you’re in the storm you’re not getting the communication on the– at first. You’re on your own for a few days.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: So if people thought they could go to their schools that was the shelter, they found that school maybe wasn’t able to be used, which was pretty shocking.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Because you think of schools as always going to be there.

Moderator: Right. You bring up the point about communication vacuum, especially early on. Let’s talk about that and the media a little bit here. You’ve got the storm having come down on you. Then you have– sometimes you have an invasion of media people come down on you as well. How was the media experience, and both difficult and helpful?

Dr. Samson: The media of course, you know, want news.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And as good school people, we’re always looking to interface with media. It’s a positive thing.

Moderator: Um-hmm.

Dr. Samson: When you have an influx of media people you don’t know coming from all over the country, it was a surprise to many of us on how we were just descended on.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And our superintendent of schools again recognized early on that we needed to designate a single spokesperson. We found rumors were just flying in the community. So this helps to calm rumors. And we refer all questions to that one spokesperson. We did our very best to get the word out, especially after the storm–

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: --to refer those questions. If you’re not the person who’s the spokesperson, then you need to very politely defer that to the spokesperson. In this case our superintendent was the spokesperson. And it was just as a matter of being able to say: I’m sorry. I can’t speak to you. Just because someone puts a microphone in front of you doesn’t mean you have to talk into it.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And that’s a lesson that’s sometimes hard to learn, I think.

Moderator: That’s right. And as you pointed out when we were talking before, sometimes the teacher in the school or the principal of that school might think she has all the information but doesn’t really. And so if you’re having all the messages come from one person, it’s much more likely you’re going to get the straight answer for people in the whole community who are depending on that.

Dr. Samson: You’re exactly correct, exactly correct.

Moderator: How did you use the media to your advantage in this situation?

Dr. Samson: Fact-finding was one of the things and sharing of information. Once we were able to have– know what radio stations survived– and there were one or two that did– again, our superintendent Dr. Dave Gayler did an excellent job. He went to that station every day at a specific time, and we designated that to be the radio station that was going to be the one that every day at 10:30, people needed information, if you could, because you had to preserve power on your batteries. You couldn’t listen all day. So we had that as our time. We gave out information as we knew it. We offered assurance to the listeners that we were going to be okay. If we needed supplies for our shelters, we noted it. If we have time, just a little interesting aside, we put out a call on the radio that we needed towels for the shelter. As we started getting into several days, we turned the gymnasium showers into places where people could take a shower.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And we found we didn’t have enough towels on hand. So we put out this call to the radio station: Please, bring towels. Well, within two hours we had to put a call out that said please stop bringing us towels. People would bring us sets, with ribbons, complete sets. Again that was just very humbling to know there were that many people that cared.

Moderator: Exactly.

Dr. Samson: Again, media was used in that fashion. And publicizing our hot lines, our web sites, places that people could go as we started getting phone communications. Again, Peter, we found people were organizing for us, and they wanted to come in from New Orleans. We had folks calling us from New Orleans. Now this was before their hurricane.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: They knew what hurricanes were like, so they had a caravan starting their way to us already bringing supplies. Unbeknownst to us.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: So it was one of those things again, preparing for what you don’t really think is going to happen. That is pretty phenomenal.

Moderator: Now after the water recedes and you’ve gotten through the first shock of it and it’s time for working on the recovery. What are some of the key things that you’ve learned are essential there?

Dr. Samson: The human aspect of this storm, any kind of disaster to me is the most important part. I’ve learned that things can be replaced. People cannot be. I’ve learned that you want to make sure you can account for people. So having those trees, and ways to know how to contact folks, making sure all your teachers are okay. You know, they’re humans, too. And they lost their homes. Making sure the custodians, the secretaries, all the staff people, caring about the people that we work with. Certainly our students and our families. That was a little harder to get our hands around right after the storm because of some of the devastation in the neighborhoods. But we did. And all of our partners need to be accounted for, everyone in the school district. Neighborhoods even taking care of your neighbors to the left and right and down the street from you. That certainly was something that I learned. The phone trees were important. Again the phones didn’t always work so sometimes we had to drive places. We had to check with people through the lists that were posted at shelters who had signed in, who had checked in. We found the people aspect very important to us.

Moderator: Let’s switch for a minute to the property damage aspect. What were the crucial steps in being able to assess the level of damage and make insurance claims?

Dr. Samson: Right. Nuts and bolts assessments. Certainly having an inventory and documentation in place for that, having all that information where it could be retrievable. Some of that we were not able to retrieve until we could get power back to our computers. But in the end, we were able to account for everything we had. I wish we had had some better before the storm picture inventories than we did. We do now, but we didn’t at that time. And certainly the details, the dates, the locations, how much things cost, the quantities of things. The paper products pretty much were destroyed if they were out in the open. Things that were in filing cabinets, we were able to pick up again. Having cameras that were disposable cameras were helpful. Digital cameras are helpful. Camcorders were helpful. Using those memory cards, having calculators, having things home with you.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Proved to be of everlasting significance because the schools were destroyed. Offices that you thought you would be at, you know, Monday morning after the storm were no longer there.

Moderator: Did you have room to store all the equipment that was salvaged after this disaster?

Dr. Samson: Again, having lost six schools, if you can just, with me, envision the school and all the things that enrich a school environment.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And all of that needing to be– that that was remaining standing being able to take it somewhere. The answer quickly is no, we were not able to because we were about getting schools back into the buildings that existed. Places that were normal store houses and warehouses and storage– commercial storage areas – blew away.

Moderator: Not available.

Dr. Samson: So it became a major catastrophe for us and the fact that we just had to see some things rust away. Now, where we had tarps– and again tarps were in short supply– we salvaged what we could but definitely storage was a problem. And we would continue I think to have that kind of a thing be a problem in a storm like this. You just don’t know what’s going to remain standing–

Moderator: The rest of the capacity in the community is used up or destroyed.

Dr. Samson: Very strained, yes.

Moderator: Right. Was there security problems with this– all this equipment, given the chaos throughout the whole region?

Dr. Samson: In schools, again, you have a lot of wonderful rich equipment.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: And when you look at the side of human nature where might bring out people to think they could take an open schoolhouse to their advantage. We did have some looting, but curfews were established in our community. Again it was more about the people aspect. The sheriff, police, law enforcement was extremely concerned with traffic direction until help arrived. Our schools were sitting open. So as soon as we could, we had to go to several towns over. They had some signs printed up that talked about a hurricane and the fact that there was no trespassing. That’s what needs to happen is you have to post the site in order for people to be told they have to stay away.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Any fencing that existed had come down. So in other words there were schools that were sitting right there with things just totally out in the open. So yes, we did have some security issues. Was it of a great extent? No. But there was some. It may have been worse had we not taken proactive steps immediately, which we did.

Moderator: Now as the school community, your main concern of course is getting back as close to normal as possible, getting the school open, getting kids back there. How do we get back to class?

Dr. Samson: We do a number– we did a number of things, and that was immediately to get an opportunity to assess our strengths. We knew that we needed to clear the wreckages away, which we did. We set up a series of modular classrooms, and we had these modular classrooms under construction within a week of the storm hitting us. They were being constructed in another area of Florida, and in Texas, and every classroom was brought in on trailers for us to get the school back up. We wanted to get kids back in school as quickly as we could. We wanted to make sure that, by doing that, we used very creative scheduling, Peter, where we had all of our teachers and administrators that were designated in schools to set up some very flexible schedules. We started school at 6 in the morning. We ended at 12 noon. We had one hour to sanitize the school, change the logos, change the school colors so that, on a split schedule of those six schools that had to find a place to go to school, it was as natural and normal as possible. If you were a teacher of one subject and I was a teacher of another subject, we paired up. You knew what I needed your classroom for. We tried to synchronize our lessons so that we could share the books that remained. That served us very, very well. We wanted the school to be able to keep its identity wherever possible. We wanted to keep the children with the same teachers. We certainly were able to rely on our federal food service program whereby lunches were provided for all the children in all the schools for approximately 30 days. And folks from the community that needed to eat, too, we were able to utilize the standing kitchens for that purpose. So getting our kids back in school was paramount in all of our minds, and truly the storm being on August 13th of 2004, we had children back in school, albeit crazy schedules, on August 30th of 2004.

Moderator: Wow.

Dr. Samson: And that was remarkable. Never in the history of school districts in the United States– and this has been documented by our insurance and all– with the size of our school, has there ever been a district that we could find that we knew about. And if there’s one out there, we’d love to know about it, that received the devastation that we received at one time to our schools and the number of children that were displaced. So we think that was pretty remarkable to be able to get back in that short a time and get back to the new normal at that point.

Moderator: That’s remarkable.

Dr. Samson: It was.

Moderator: You pointed out the identity. So you sort of flipped the signs from Peace River School which we saw there to something else so the kids coming in would feel that that was their community even though it was a different building.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct. And inside, the bulletin boards, inside the color combinations that children, you know, certainly find important.

Moderator: That’s amazing.

Dr. Samson: It was amazing. Our teachers, they were phenomenal.

Moderator: Must have been an extraordinary effort everybody’s a part of.

Dr. Samson: It truly was.

Moderator: Obviously a disaster like a hurricane can be very traumatic for everybody involved and for children that you’re charged with helping. How do you best address their mental health needs?

Dr. Samson: We tried to approach it through the children by making sure their teachers were okay before the teachers were back in the classroom. And the teachers took care of the children as they have done by allowing time for the transition, keeping in touch with certainly the families in the school. We wanted the children to be allowed to tell their stories in their own way, in their own time. The children, there were– they spun back very, very quickly. It was– it was quite remarkable to see that happen. But we wanted to make sure that we followed up with the children, showing emotional support for them whether it was through artwork or dance or music. Whatever it was. We wanted them to be able to get into the routine– back into a routine, even though it may have been a new routine, to get back into a routine as soon as possible.

Moderator: So they had that security in the routine to follow.

Dr. Samson: That’s exactly correct.

Moderator: How do you manage– or are you managing potential long-term health effects that might come from environmental damage or environmental health problems resulting from this damage?

Dr. Samson: Our public entities have been very helpful in helping us go through the guidelines that are available. But certainly we’ve had issues with mold. Again in Florida, with heat and moisture, the mold is rampant. The molds grew on floors. It grew on any number of surfaces. The trash, we had Mount trashmore. If you could think of every piece of equipment that needed to be sent to the trash heap. Now this isn’t just the school district. These are the homes that were destroyed. On our streets, we had constant dump trucks just loaded with homes and furnishings going to the landfill. There was stagnant water. We had animals that came out of their normal habitat into a habitat of which they were not familiar with. Family pets where the pet didn’t know where to go because the family had disappeared because their home was destroyed.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: We had all of those issues as well. I’m sure that’s what you were referencing.

Moderator: That’s right, that’s right. In the rebuilding process, you said a lot of homes were destroyed, I think 10,000 in the community. How many children had left the school system because of that? And how many do you have left back at school now?

Dr. Samson: We lost approximately 2,000 students. Now by lost, I mean they went to go live temporarily maybe with grandma/grandpa, aunts, uncles, left our school district. In some instances, they didn’t request their records, so we didn’t know they were totally gone until several successive weeks of checking attendance. And it turned out to be approximately 2,000 children. Now as their homes have been rebuilt, we’re finding some of our children have returned to us. We’ve lost some of our faculty and staff members as well that had to leave. But we’re slowly regaining our population again. That was a surprise to us that we lost, you know–

Moderator: Almost 10%, right?

Dr. Samson: Yes, that many kids. Yeah.

Moderator: On the rebuilding theme again, when a community goes about rebuilding physically the schools, what’s the best way to start that? I know it’s more complex than people might think.

Dr. Samson: It really is. It really is. Because the community pressure is great that– and of course you want to start putting back a permanent school. If that school was blown away, and after insurance and FEMA and every entity that needs to see a school, the documentation that’s necessary in place, people want you to get on with it. Well, that’s a thing that you truly do want to do is to get on with it, but we have to plan the space for rebuilding.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: We need to consider the rebuilding plan before we would place any kind of modular unit or trailers where children would go to school on a site.

Moderator: Because they’re going to get in the way of building a new building there, right?

Dr. Samson: That would be exactly correct. Because if we put modulars on the space that has now been cleared, well, then where do you go to build your school? If your population center is where that school was and schools are in place as they’re in for a reason.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: You’re exactly correct. Putting a modular there would certainly negate that effect.

Moderator: Right. Now do you have any words of advice for those who are recovering from disasters like this?

Dr. Samson: To quote Steven Covey, yes, and that would be “begin with the end in mind,” and truly I do mean that in the fact that we want to look at the school assets that you have remaining and get on with the rebuilding. As we prepared in advance, we’ve cleared some sites. And by clearing those sites, we were able to bring in modular units. We were able to– the first school, if you know the storm on August 13th, were able to bring the first complete modular school constructed on the 14th of February.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Of 2005.

Moderator: Wow.

Dr. Samson: So we–

Moderator: Just a year after your drill.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct.

Moderator: Which you found very helpful.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct. So actually right now on the ground we have six schools that are a total modular school, elevated ramp ways. We have them in locations that are not where it’s going to hinder the rebuilding of schools. And we currently would do the same thing. If we had to go back and look at this again, we would do the exact same thing. So our planning after the storm appeared to be exactly right on. And not yielding to community pressure to immediately start the rebuild; that was hard to explain.

Moderator: Right. Because people want to recover. They want to get back to as close to–

Dr. Samson: Of course, yes.

Moderator: How long do you believe it takes a community to recover from an event like this? Do you have any practical advice for helping staff work through this?

Dr. Samson: I’ll tell you, I don’t think really that you ever recover.

Moderator: Um-hmm.

Dr. Samson: I think you have new ways to cope with things. But once you have that imprint of what that storm was like, it’s a mental thing that you have. From a physical recovery, absolutely. We’re going to be in great shape in our school district. There’s no doubt about that, from the rebuilding efforts. We’re well on our way from the mortar and bricks aspect of it. Not only the schools, but even our public health agency has rebuilt.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Our fire department lost many of its fire stations. The police department was– and sheriff nucleus center was destroyed. They hadn’t expected that.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Even our emergency operations center had to be moved twice during the storm because it suffered severe damage. It was a pretty powerful, you know, storm. So certainly it’s going to be a long while before total recovery’s in place. But I feel like we’re well on our way.

Moderator: Let me interrupt for a moment and remind our viewers that we’ll be ready to take your calls in just a few minutes. The toll-free number is 800-452-0662 and you may send written questions by fax to 518-426-0696. Or to the e-mail address that’s on your screen. So let’s go to what I might call lessons learned or key messages for our audience from your experience.

Dr. Samson: There are lots of them, and in the short amount of time we have, Peter, it would be certainly a matter of making sure that the schools are notified and they’re prepared in advance and they are involved in planning for disasters. The disaster we planned for wasn’t the exact one, again, as I said that we experienced. But having that planning in place was very helpful. Knowing our key partners, knowing the people that we would be sitting with during the storm and after the storm. Our public health entities particularly. It was extremely helpful to know them and to know that, even though we couldn’t see that they were working, we knew that they certainly would be out there for us. Coordinating with our county emergency folks that we would have all of our emergency plans in place. Having a redundancy of emergency communication in place was extremely important. Redundancy, of that kind of equipment, having the batteries on hand, again, I can’t really emphasize that too strongly.

Moderator: And the importance of doing drills in advance, I gather you can’t stress that enough.

Dr. Samson: No. And I used to be, used to be one of those administrators that was very focused on the school day, the school year, the time for students, and drills were something that I did because we had to. But those tabletop exercises proved to be valuable, and I would say that: Conduct the drills on a regular basis. Conduct lockdown drills, disaster drills and random drills, not a call in advance to say: Hey, you’re going to have a drill in two weeks.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: But just that element of surprise. And of course not– we would do our very best when we do drills to make sure there’s not an activity that would certainly be out of place. You don’t want to make people too resentful of drills. But those that have been through the hurricane with us, and any school, I guarantee it, that’s been through a violent act or something where they had to act, would value and know exactly what I’m saying to be true. You cannot overemphasize those tabletop exercises and the disaster planning.

Moderator: You’re a true believer now.

Dr. Samson: I’m a true believer now.

Moderator: Like those poor people over there in Enterprise, Alabama the school district which got struck by a tornado just a couple weeks ago.

Dr. Samson: Wasn’t that devastating? You know, it just hurt our hearts to watch all of that happening there.

Moderator: That’s right. And it’s awful. They had some very tough calls to make in the middle of that crisis. They sent kids home.

Dr. Samson: They certainly did.

Moderator: The better prepared you can be, obviously the– more practice, the better prepared you are to confront those questions.

Dr. Samson: And knowing after an event like that, the decision you make is the decision you made with the best information possible at the time you had it, with the best advice that you gather. And once the decision’s made, it’s over.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: So, you know, I don’t want ever anyone to ever kick themselves afterwards because you did the best you could do at the time you could do with it with the information you had. To me that’s the critical thing is people look at an event and then they go back. That doesn’t mean we don’t go back and dissect what we did and how can we do it better next time? Trust is a very big factor here when you’re dealing with this both before a storm, preparations, during the storm and certainly afterwards.

Moderator: Right. And that’s why it’s so important that you prepare for all kinds of disasters, not just the hurricane you’ve had, but be ready for a tornado or whatever it’s going to be.

Dr. Samson: That’s correct. And all types of disasters that you might be sent, whether it be severe weather, fire, air disasters. We could have train derailments, any type of violence, in a school or around a school. Terrorism and certainly intruders, and again schools are simply a cross-section of our society these days. So schools need to be prepared for any type of emergency.

Moderator: We’re I think ready for calls now. If folks in the audience have any. We already have questions that were faxed in. The toll-free number just to remind you is 800-452-0662, and the fax number is 518-426-0696. And the e-mail address is on the screen. You mentioned some specific resources, and I understand that viewers can download those from our site. Is that right?

Dr. Samson: Yes, they can. And there are numerous resources certainly available out there. The University’s just been great in gathering information. Yes, they are accessible. Certainly if there’s anyone out there that, you know, wants more specific information, have them call in now or fax us. I’d be glad to address those issues.

Moderator: Okay. Let me get to some of these questions we’ve gotten. Number one: Any suggestions for schools and health departments on how to begin or maintain their essential partnerships that you talked about?

Dr. Samson: If it’s matter of beginning the partnership, I think it is a requirement that first the key leadership teams sit down and agree that you need to have such a plan in place. And once you have that, it’s up to that leadership to insist upon the exercises, the drills, and making them be put together in such a way that they’re not threatening. They’re not about making people look bad. They’re about preparedness. And if what you find during those drills that, jeez, you know, you have a little need for improvement here. If you do it in a collegial manner, it ends up being a wonderful positive. You don’t want to ever take those drills and, you know, slap someone over it because that’s not the purpose to say where are those weak links? I think it’s up to the leadership team of the school district and the leadership team of the public health entities. Maybe it’s a simple thing of sitting down for coffee one day and saying can we just sit down and let’s talk about this? Let’s do some what-ifs. That to me would be a wonderful way to start, and if nothing else from the purpose of us being here this morning, Peter, if we were able to inspire one school district or one public health unit that maybe hadn’t had this type of an exercise before, I will feel it’s been time for us that has been very well spent. It’s very important. I just can’t overemphasize it.

Moderator: Just the steps of beginning a relationship that hasn’t existed are pretty critical.

Dr. Samson: And isn’t that where it always starts is the beginning?

Moderator: That’s right. Have you worked on applying any lessons from this experience to your planning for a pandemic eventuality?

Dr. Samson: Well, the pandemic is one that we’re talking the bird flu primarily.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: Very interested in our school district now because people have said to us, as we’ve been doing the planning, that it isn’t a matter of when the pandemic is going to get to us– not if, it’s a matter of– excuse me, it’s a matter of when it gets to us. So we’ve taken a number of initiatives, and first and foremost we have worked with our public health department, and we have a video that has been put together where it explains first of all what is this bird flu that people are talking about? We’ve tried to get that out to our parents and our community just so that everyone can talk about it and understand that it is something that we might be experiencing. We have taken the necessary precautions of having a redundancy of people in positions in doing some cross- training, because we understand that, once this particular type of flu strikes you, you may be out. And if that person that’s out is a key individual, that doesn’t matter because they’re not there. And so we need to be very open and free with our information. No one owns the material. No one owns those check lists. We’re trying to educate as many people as possible. So we’ve tried not to scare people over it because, you know, you don’t want to do that either. But we’ve looked at things as, okay, school will be called off. How do we get education to students with no school?

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: We’re just hearing a number of scenarios and we’ve been really relying on the public health unit in our community. And they have been just doing a remarkable job. So those of you that are out there that are public health educators or you have public health units, I think if your school district hasn’t approached this topic, it might be something that would be your legacy to leave to make contact and make them aware. And again, not to scare people but to educate and to say this is the thing that we maybe need to look at. Because I understand that we’re just bracing ourselves in the nation that we believe that’s going to happen at some point.

Moderator: That’s right. It’s very interesting to hear you say that because we’ve had other programs in the series where people talk about the question of staff shortages and redundancy. And to hear you talk about that you’re actually doing that planning is very gratifying for a lot of people in our public health community. Let me go back to the slide where you showed– or we showed some of the information about how to get access to your experience “Before the storm, After the storm”, and those are resources that people can download from the web site here at the University.

Dr. Samson: Yes. And feel free to do that. That was one of the booklets Dr. Donna Widmeyer, one of my colleagues, put a booklet together that she got from another University and it was printed, with permission. We find everyone in the educational units has been very helpful with information. That’s one “Before The Storm,” preparation that you might do. It’s primarily dealing with mental health issues and to assess how children are doing. We have another booklet called “In the Eye of the Storm.” it may not be on there, but we’ll be happy to get a copy or two to you if you need it if you just make contact. Every one of our directors in our school district are listed. Our food service director; our director of nurses; maintenance, operations, transportation. All of those directors know that I’ve talked about them publicly many, many times. We’ve listed their names with their phone numbers there, and we just believe, and I want to be an example of it myself, as is our superintendent and our school board members, that based on what we learned, we’re willing to share it. We’re not trying to be about being know-it-alls, because we’re not; but when you’re an educator and you’ve gone through something like this, and if you can possibly bring that information out to other people, that’s what we’re trying to do. So we’d be happy to download that booklet anywhere that people ask us to load it. We have no need to hold that information back. And in that booklet, in those booklets, you’ll find some check lists of things that you can do if you’re the transportation director of your school district.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: What can you do if you’re in charge of all the nurses? How about the food service director? What do maintenance and operations need to prepare for? It’s a very handy thing, no charge. Send it out, “Before the storm, After the storm”. The things the University has available. There’s many things on line for FEMA. An abundance of resources out there. Before the storm, while you have electricity, doing a little digging to find those resources that you think you might need.

Moderator: That sounds great. That’s wonderful you make that available to everybody. One quick question– we only have about a minute.

Dr. Samson: Okay.

Moderator: In your experience, the community looks on the schools as a safe shelter for the entire community, not just for the children?

Dr. Samson: Yes. Yes, absolutely. The schools I think across the nation, my fellow educators, we know our schools are welcoming places. We try and make them that way. We put them together that way. And certainly I think the vast majority of people– not everyone, but the vast majority of people across the country, particularly in the Charlotte County public school district in Florida, they know that those schools are schools where they are welcomed during good weather and during bad weather. And we have people in place through our public health sector, public health nurses, our fire department, sheriff department, all the public entities, the EMS. Folks.

Moderator: Right.

Dr. Samson: That have come together, and we don’t think we can respond to every emergency, but we are well on our way. The lessons that this Hurricane Charley taught us, it’s brought us closer together as a community. And we’re feeling much more prepared for whatever else might come our way based on this horrible storm that hit our community.

Moderator: We certainly seem to have built the school into a resource that goes much beyond the classroom for the community, and that’s a really important resource.

Dr. Samson: It is. You’re so right. It’s a very important community resource.

Moderator: I want to thank you very much. It’s been an extraordinarily interesting hour, and I appreciate your coming up here. I think our audience does, too. I want to thank you all out there in the audience for joining us today. We would like to ask you to please fill out your evaluations online. Continuing education credits are available and your feedback is helpful in the development of future programs. If you submitted a question for today’s broadcast and we were not able to get to it, please contact Roseann Samson at the e-mail address provided. This program, as well as other previous programs, will be available online via web streaming within the week. Please see our web site for an archive collection of past broadcasts. We hope you’ll join us on May 10 for the next program of our season, and the last one of this season entitled “Integrating Community Health Centers in Community Response.” just to remind you again, we’ll be following this broadcast with a live panel discussion at the University of Albany School of Public Health in Rensselaer from noon to 2:00 today. All viewers in the region are welcome to attend. For all of you involved in education, next week’s t2b2program is on school wellness policies. For more information, please see t2b2.org. I’m Peter Slocum. Thank you very much for watching the University at Albany’s Public Health Preparedness Grand Round Series. Thank you very much.

Dr. Samson: Peter, thank you so much.

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