Information for Schools & Childcare Providers
Note: For the 2016-2017 season, CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017. The 2016-2017 influenza vaccination recommendations are now available.
Educators and staff can help slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like colds, enterovirus D68 and influenza (flu). On this page, you will find information on preventing the flu as well as materials and tools for schools.
Each year, an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years are hospitalized because of flu-related complications. Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease. The single best way to protect against seasonal flu and its potential severe complications is for children to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. Flu vaccination is recommended for all children aged 6 months and older. Making healthy choices at school and at home can help prevent the flu and spreading flu to others.
Encourage children, parents, and staff to take the following everyday preventive actions [2 MB, 2 pages]:
- Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away after use and wash your hands. If a tissue is not available, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve, not your hand.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
Guidance and Resources
- Guidance for School Administrators to Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in K-12 Schools
This document provides seasonal flu recommendations for K-12 schools.
- Supplemental Interim Guidance for School Administrators Associated with Possible Outbreaks of H3N2 Variant Influenza Virus ("H3N2v")
- How To Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu
This guide gives K-12 schools tips on how to clean to help slow the spread of seasonal flu. A Spanish version is also available.
- Questions and Answers: Information for Schools
This page provides answers to flu-related questions commonly asked by school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents.
- Flu Information for Parents
Flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Learn more.
- Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine
This page provides information about children and the flu vaccine.
- Protecting Against the Flu: Advice for Caregivers of Children Less Than 6 Months Old
Research has shown that children less than 5 years of age are at high risk of serious flu-related complications. Learn more.
Flyer [588 KB, 2 pages, 8½” x 11”]
This guide discusses questions and answers about the flu, how to protect your child, treatment, and more.
Snort. Sniffle. Sneeze. No Antibiotics Please!
This page provides brochures that explain why antibiotics don’t work for a cold or the flu.
Ounce of Prevention
This page provides tips and streaming video for parents and children about the steps and benefits of effective hand washing.
Flu Season and Schools
This site provides guidance from the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS).
School-Located Vaccination Clinics: Forms and Contact Letters
Forms and pre-drafted letters to parents and health care providers for school-located vaccination clinic planners.
- New! The Shot by Shot Project-Gigi's Story
A school teacher and mom gives her testimony about the importance of getting a a yearly flu vaccine.
School Materials and Posters
Cover Your Cough Materials
See the Cover Your Cough page on this site for posters and flyers formatted for use in schools.
Kids can learn about health and hygiene at the Scrub Club™ web site. The site features a fun and educational animated Webisode with seven “soaper-heros” who battle nasty villains representing germs and bacteria. Kids learn the six key steps to proper handwashing through a webisode, a handwashing song, interactive games, and activities for kids. Educational materials for teachers are also available to download.
- Page last reviewed: August 1, 2016
- Page last updated: September 26, 2016
- Content source:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD)
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs