Content on this page was developed during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic and has not been updated.
- The H1N1 virus that caused that pandemic is now a regular human flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide.
- The English language content on this website is being archived for historic and reference purposes only.
- For current, updated information on seasonal flu, including information about H1N1, see the CDC Seasonal Flu website.
Communication Tools About Flu for School Administrators
January 4, 2010 2:00 PM ET
Template letter or email for parents on steps the school is taking during severe flu conditions
Coordinate with your local health department and county or state education agency prior to distributing this letter or email to ensure that all information is timely, relevant, and accurate. Be sure to visit Flu.gov to download and adapt a Microsoft Word version of this letter and for more information to provide to parents.
As you may know flu is spreading easily from person to person and school-age children are among the groups most affected. We are taking steps to prevent the spread of flu in [School name]. Currently, flu conditions in [name of county or area or in the United States] have become more severe. We want to keep the school open and functioning as normal for as long as possible. We need your help to do this.
We are working closely with the [county/state education agency] and the [county/state] health department to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take. Since flu conditions have become more severe, we are now implementing the following steps to prevent the spread of flu within our school.
Choose which steps your school will take below and feel free to adapt as needed. Coordinate with your local health department and county or state education agency regarding which activities are appropriate for your school. Coordination with the local health department will ensure a consistent message to parents and the community at large.
Extending the time sick students or staff stay home for at least 7 days, even if they feel better sooner. People who are still sick after 7 days should continue to stay home until at least 24 hours after their symptoms have gone away.
Allowing high risk students and staff to stay home. Certain groups are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu. These groups include children under the age of 5 years, pregnant women, people of any age who have chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and people age 65 years and older. These students and staff should consult their doctor to make the decision to stay home.
Conducting active fever and symptom screening of students and staff upon arrival at school. School staff will ask students about symptoms suggestive of a respiratory infection such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and fatigue. Any student who has at least 2 of these symptoms will be separated from others, offered a surgical mask, and sent home as soon as possible.
Increasing social distances (the space between people) at school. We will be rotating teachers between classrooms while keeping the same group of students in one classroom, canceling classes that bring students together from multiple classrooms, holding classes outdoors when possible, moving desks farther apart, dividing classes into smaller groups, discouraging use of school buses and public transit, moving classes to larger spaces to allow more space between students, and postponing class trips.
Dismissing students. We will keep students home for [5-7] days and then reassess with the [county/state education agency] and the [county/state] health department. We will keep you informed of when students may return to school. During dismissal we will continue school work from home through [homework packets, web-based lessons, phone calls, etc.]. Staff will remain at school to develop and deliver lessons and materials and continue to provide [important services, school lunches, etc.]. We will also be [canceling, postponing] all school-related mass gatherings. This includes [sporting events, school dances, performances, rallies, commencement ceremonies, etc.].
Here are a few things you can do to help since flu conditions are now more severe.
Teach your children to wash their hands often with soap and water. You can set a good example by doing this yourself.
Teach your children not to share personal items like drinks, food or unwashed utensils, and to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues. If they don't have a tissue, they should cough or sneeze into their upper sleeve, not their hands.
Know the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit, 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater), cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea.
Extend the time sick children stay home for at least 7 days, even if they feel better sooner. People who are still sick after 7 days should continue to stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms have gone away.
- If a household member is sick, keep any school-aged brothers or sisters home for 5 days from the time the household member became sick. Parents should monitor their health and the health of other school-aged children for fever and other symptoms of the flu.
Don’t send children to school if they are sick. Any children who are sick at school will be sent home. Staying home when sick will allow your children to rest and allows you to monitor their health closely. Keeping your sick child home is the responsible thing to do. It protects fellow students and school staff, especially those who are at higher risk of severe illness from the flu.
For more information, [see the attached flyer/additional information and] visit Flu.gov, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO for the most current information about the flu. For more information about flu in our community and what our school is doing, visit [school/health department website] or call [appropriate phone number]. We will notify you of any additional changes to our school’s strategy to prevent the spread of flu.
[School administrator’s name and signature]
Get email updates
To receive weekly email updates about this site, enter your email address:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO