Monday, July 31, 2006

Pennsylvania School Districts and Municipalities Give the Bird to Avian Flu Preparations

As Scott's Spot has reported on 4 separate occasions (1, 2, 3, 4), Bird Flu, or, as we more commonly know it, Deadly Bird Flu, is something about which we should panic, buy toilet paper and water, panic again, and then possibly consider moving to Antarctica about.

But apparently not everyone is sufficiently concerned. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (not One of America's Great Newspapers) recently surveyed municipalities and school districts in Western Pennsylvania and found that only one school district (Belle Vernon) and one municipality (Springdale Borough) have pandemic flu response plans.

All of which is surprising, since Pennsylvania used the proceeds from liquidating its strategic toilet tissue reserve to fund its Pandemic Preparedness website. Harrisburg's experts estimate that a pandemic would sicken at least 1.6 million Pennsylvanians and kill 9,100 in three to four months. If you go to the website, which is almost as popular as Myspace.com among paranoid Pennsylvanians, you can read about how you ought to be preparing to panic. You can also learn if your pets are safe. And you can learn about how Secretary of Banking Bill Schenck, one of the overpaid and apparently underutilized political appointees of our illustrious Governor Ed "Slots" Rendell, encouraged Pennsylvania’s financial institutions to prepare for a possible flu pandemic to ensure that consumers will have access to financial services if an influenza outbreak happens. You'll be needing those financial services to bankroll your purchases of toilet tissue on the black market.

But, despite all this planning, our municipalities have been left behind.

And so have our school districts.

I don't live in Springdale, and my kids don't to to Belle Vernon. So I'm scared, deadly scared, to think about what might happen if deadly bird flu should strike while my children are in school. Should they eat the chicken nuggets that day? And suppose there's an evacuation. I'll be at work. Maybe my wife will be working as well. Should I drop the extremely important project that I'm working on to go gather my brood? If I can't make it, to whom should I entrust my children in case of a sudden outbreak of pandemia? Should I trust the school district, which will want to make sure that appropriate after-school activity fees are collected? How about my municipality? Will they turn my kids away, since we haven't ponied up the annual fees for their Community Center boondoggle? How much will this all cost me? Will I have to keep my children at home until I can produce a Frank Perdue Clean Bill of Health Certificate?

I need answers. And I need them now. Before the pandemic strikes.

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