On August 7, 2009, in anticipation of the new academic year, and the potential for disruption due to the H1N1 virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued an updated guidance for school administrators. This guidance, which is available at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/schools/schoolguidance.htm, expands upon the CDC's earlier guidance and is designed to "decrease exposure to regular seasonal flu and H1N1 flu while limiting the disruption of day-to-day activities and the vital learning that goes on in schools."
The guidance sets forth recommendations for school responses, including the following:
- Students and staff with flu like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever;
- Students and staff who appear to have a flu like illness should be separated from other students and staff until they can be sent home;
- School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often;
- In special situations where all or most students are high risk (i.e. schools for pregnant students, or schools for medically fragile children), the administrators should consider school dismissal to better protect those students.
The guidance provides further recommendations for school action should it become apparent that the flu - be it regular seasonal flu or H1N1 - is causing more severe disease than we have seen to date.
We recommend that all school officials and administrators review the CDC guidance.
Michael Best is providing a teleweb seminar on the H1N1 flu virus on September 17, 2009. For additional information on this seminar or to register, please visit our web site at: http://www.michaelbest.com/h1n1-flu-teleweb-seminar-september-17th/.