Following the closure of more than 300 schools in the United States, the CDC has updated interim guidance on school closures. Some key points are listed below.
- Sick people (students, faculty and staff) should stay home unless they need to seek medical care and stay away from schools regardless of whether schools and childcare facilities are operating normally or have dismissed students or closed, respectively.
- Dismissal of students in a school and closure of childcare facilities should be considered in schools with one or more laboratory-confirmed or non-subtypable influenza A case among students, faculty or staff in order to decrease the spread of illness in the community.
- Dismissal of students from schools and closure of childcare facilities should be considered for a school district or part of a school district if more than 1 school in that district has confirmed or non-subtypable influenza A cases among their students, faculty or staff, including schools without current laboratory-confirmed cases.
- Neighboring school districts to those that dismiss students should also consider pre-emptively dismissing students from schools with no confirmed cases. Issues to consider: geographic proximity; extent of mixing of student populations.
- If a school dismisses students, school or childcare related gatherings should also be cancelled.
- If a school dismisses students or a childcare facility closes, schools and childcare facilities should dismiss students for a minimum of 14 days. Schools, in consultation with local and State public health officials, should evaluate daily the need for possible extension of the dismissal/closure based on local influenza surveillance information, and the occurrence of new infections and severity of illness in the community from this virus.
- Decisions regarding school dismissal within these communities are being left to the appropriate authorities but must involve consultation with local and State public health officials, taking into account the extent and severity of H1N1 disease in the community.
- When schools re-open, keep commonly touched surfaces such as stairway railings, elevator buttons and door handles clean by wiping them down with detergent-based cleaners.
For the full guidance: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/k12_dismissal.htm