CDC relaxes flu-related school closing instructions

May 6, 2009

The CDC has issued laxer guidance for school closings pertaining to H1N1 flu, recommending that only infected students and teachers remain at home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued more lax guidance for school closings pertaining to H1N1 flu, recommending that infected students and teachers remain at home rather than closing entire schools or canceling classes.

This follows guidance earlier in the week that asked that in schools where at least one confirmed case of H1N1 was found that school officials should consider closing for up to 14 days.

The new guidelines state, "School closure is not advised for a suspected or confirmed case of novel influenza A (H1N1) and, in general, is not advised unless there is a magnitude of faculty or student absenteeism that interferes with the school's ability to function."Schools that were closed following previous guidance are now asked to be reopened.

Officials initially said it would be "helpful" to close affected schools while information was gathered about the virus’s transmission and disease severity. However, experts suggest the virus is not believed to be as virulent as once feared, and that closing schools would not necessarily contain it from spreading.

CDC recommends the best methods to reduce the spread of influenza in schools is to wash hands frequently, focus on recognizing symptoms in students and staff as early as possible, and keep infected parties at home for at least seven days.