Rapid Response:
Rapid response assemblies are provided on the site when there is an event in the news, good or bad, that touches children's lives, so we can offer you a way to acknowledge it in your collective worship.


By Ronni Lamont

As with all rapid response assemblies, you may need to bring this up to date.

Check your school policy before advocating disinfectant gel.


Suitable for Whole School



To inform the children about swine flu, and encourage them to take sensible precautions, without panic.

Preparation and resources
  • You need a big box of tissues, a bowl of water and liquid ‘soap’, a towel, a bottle of germ-killing hand gel.
  • Prepare three children to ‘sneeze’ and to ‘feel ill’

  1. The three children are at the front of the hall as the children enter.

    Child 1: Oooh, Miss/Sir, I feel really ill. My head hurts and I’ve got a sore throat, and I ache all over. Aaaah choo! (Sneezes into the air)

    Child 2: Oh, I’m going to sneeze! (Grabs a tissue) Aaaah choo! (Sneezes into tissue, puts tissue in their pocket)

    Child 3: ‘Ooh, I’m going to sneeze too! (Takes a tissue) Aaaah chooo! (Sneezes into tissue, throws it in bin, and proceeds to wash hands)

    Sneezing is also contagious – you may have a deluge after this point!
  2. Teacher: I wonder if anyone here can think of an illness that’s been in the news recently – that [name of child 1] may be suffering from?

    (If no one suggests swine flu) It’s called swine flu.

    Does anyone know what sort of animal a swine is?

    Yes, swine are pigs, and pigs get flu, just like we get flu most winters here in school, although only a small number of us actually fall ill with flu each year.
  3. The reason why this type of flu is important is that it began in Mexico, and quite a lot of people in Mexico have died from it. People who were in Mexico on holiday or working, who caught the illness but have come home haven’t died, which is odd. People are now being told not to go to Mexico unless they have to.
  4. Who knows what the government want us to do to help stop this illness from spreading? What should we always do if we think we have flu?

    Stay home, and if you feel ill at school, talk to your teacher.

    Ask an adult to ring your local health centre, who will tell you what to do.
    There is good medicine if you get the flu, and the government have plenty of it. So even if you catch flu, you’ll probably just be ill in bed for a few days and then feel better.
  5. One of the symptoms – the way an illness shows itself in our bodies – is sneezing. Now we sneeze for lots of reasons. [Child 1] feels ill, and is sneezing. What could s/he have done to stop the illness spreading?

    Sneeze into a tissue – like [child 2].
  6. What extra precautions can we also take if we do sneeze? We can throw away the tissue into a bin, and then wash our hands, like [child 3]. If we wash our hands, we kill any germs that may have landed there when we sneezed. What could you use to wash your hands if you’re not near a washbasin? Use the germ-killing gel – you could ask whoever does your shopping to get you some of this; it costs about £1, and just a little bit kills all the germs on your hands.

    (You might like to keep a bottle in each classroom.)
  7. The good news is that flu germs don’t like our summers, so with the warmer weather the flu will probably go away. But the bad news is that the germs often hang around, and come back as the weather gets colder again.

  8. So what can we all do to stop this flu spreading in this country?

    Sneeze into a tissue.

    Throw the tissue away.

    Wash our hands with soap and water.

  9. And if you think you’ve got the flu?

    Don’t come to school, and don’t go to the doctor’s.

    Get your mum/dad/carer to ring the local health centre for advice.

Time for reflection


Light a candle. Ask the children to settle and concentrate on the flame.

These words were written by someone who had been through a very difficult time in his life. When he looked back, he saw how God had looked after him. The writer is thinking that God is like a shepherd, who cares for us, the sheep, and uses a rod and a staff to help keep the sheep safe.

Read these words from Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you, Lord God, are with me.

Your rod and your staff – they comfort me.


Heavenly Father, when we go through dark and difficult times,

help us to do all that we can to care for one another,

and support one another.

We think of all those who are ill at the moment,

those we know and those we don’t.

Help them to get better quickly.

And be with all those who work in hospitals, health centres and in the community, helping us to be healthy and well.

We also remember all those working to overcome illness

and diseases in the world.

We thank you for them.


Song suggestion

'The King of Love' (Come and Praise, 54)

'Father, hear the prayer we offer' (Come and Praise, 48)





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