This document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides guidance to help reduce the spread of seasonal influenza (flu) among students and staff in K-12 schools. Recommendations are based on CDC’s current knowledge of flu in the United States. CDC will continue to monitor flu activity and update this guidance as needed.
Each day, about 55 million students and 7 million staff attend the more than 130,000 public and private schools in the United States. By implementing the recommendations in this document, schools can help protect one-fifth of the country’s population from flu. Collaboration is essential. CDC, the U.S. Department of Education, state/local public health and education agencies, schools, staff, students, families, businesses, and communities should work together to reduce the spread of flu and other respiratory infections.
School-aged children are at high risk of flu complications
People of all ages get sick with flu. School-aged children are a group with a high rate of flu illness. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza
- Encourage students and staff to stay home when sick.
- Encourage respiratory etiquette among students and staff through education and the provision of supplies
- Encourage hand hygiene among students and staff through education, scheduled time for handwashing, and the provision of supplies.
- Encourage students and staff to keep their hands away from their nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Encourage routine surface cleaning through education, policy, and the provision of supplies
- Educate students, parents, and staff on what to do if someone gets sick.
- Teach students, parents, and staff the signs and symptoms of flu, emergency warning signs, and high risk groups
- Separate sick students and staff from others until they can be picked up to go home
- Encourage students, parents, and staff to take antiviral drugs if their health care professional prescribes them
- Establish relationships with state and local public health officials for ongoing communication
SOURCE: “Guidance for School Administrators to Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in K-12 Schools.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/flu/school/guidance.htm.