Guidelines for School Authorities to Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in Schools

Guidelines for School Authorities to Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in Schools

by ads Converclick on June 27, 2024

This document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency, provides guidelines to help reduce the spread of seasonal influenza (flu) among students and staff in schools. 

The recommendations are based on the current understanding of influenza by the CDC in the United States and will be updated as necessary.


Influenza seasons are unpredictable. The onset, severity, and duration depend on various factors, including the types of influenza viruses circulating, the number of people susceptible to those viruses, and how well the vaccine matches the circulating viruses. 

In the U.S., influenza activity typically peaks between December and March but can occur from October to June. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing of influenza activity has varied more than usual, and it is unclear how COVID-19 will impact future influenza seasons.

Influenza viruses primarily spread from person to person through the coughing and sneezing of infected individuals. Less frequently, people may contract influenza by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touching their mouth, eyes, or nose. 

Many respiratory infections spread similarly, so the non-pharmaceutical recommendations in this document can also help reduce the spread of other viruses and bacteria.

By implementing these recommendations, schools can help protect students from influenza. The CDC, the U.S. Department of Education, local and state education and public health agencies, schools, staff, students, families, businesses, and communities can work together to reduce the spread of influenza and other respiratory infections.

Recommendations o Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in Schools

The following are recommendations to help reduce the spread of influenza in schools.

1. Vaccination is the Best Form of Protection

Promote Vaccination:

  • Educate students, parents, and staff that the best way to protect against influenza is through vaccination each season. Influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone aged six months and older unless they have a contraindication.
  • Consider offering school-based vaccination clinics in collaboration with local public health departments to vaccinate students and potentially other groups like staff and community members.

2. Encourage Daily Preventive Measures

Promote Hygiene:

  • Encourage students and staff to stay home when they are sick until at least 24 hours after they are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Implement flexible sick leave policies and avoid incentivizing perfect attendance to prevent individuals from coming to school when they are ill.
  • Teach students and staff to cover their mouths with a tissue or their arm when coughing or sneezing and to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol where handwashing facilities are not readily available.

Provide Adequate Supplies:

  • Ensure ample supplies of tissues, no-touch trash cans, soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer in common areas and classrooms.
  • Provide clean, functional handwashing stations and schedule handwashing times for students.

3. Routine Cleaning and Disinfection

Effective Cleaning:

  • Regularly clean surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, keyboards, and phones.
  • Use EPA-registered cleaning products and follow the product instructions. Additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is not necessary to reduce influenza spread, even during an outbreak.

4. Education and Communication

Ongoing Instruction:

  • Educate students, parents, and staff about the signs and symptoms of influenza, emergency warning signs, and high-risk groups for severe complications.
  • Provide information on what to do if someone gets sick, emphasizing the importance of staying home and seeking medical care if necessary.

5. Use Appropriate Spaces

Managing Sick Students:

  • Separate sick students and staff from others until they can be picked up and taken home. Identify a "sick room" where others do not normally pass through, to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

Tools and Products for Implementing the Guidelines

To support these guidelines, having the right tools and products can facilitate the implementation of preventive measures:

Air Purifiers:

  • Air purifiers can improve indoor air quality in classrooms, reducing the presence of viruses and allergens. This is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment and reducing the spread of respiratory infections.

Masks and Hand Sanitizers:

  • Providing disposable masks and hand sanitizers at strategic points within the school can help reduce the transmission of influenza and other viruses. Ensure these products are easily accessible to all students and staff.

Cleaning and Disinfection Equipment:

  • Use EPA-registered cleaning products and disinfecting wipes for regular cleaning of surfaces. Ensure that cleaning staff are equipped with gloves and other necessary protective equipment.


Implementing these guidelines in K-12 schools can significantly help reduce the spread of seasonal influenza and other respiratory infections. With a combination of vaccination, daily preventive measures, routine cleaning, and the use of appropriate tools, schools can create a safe and healthy environment for students and staff. 

Continuous collaboration with local and state health officials is essential to adapt and improve these practices as needed.


How are schools run in the United States?

In the United States, the education system is decentralized, meaning that schools are managed at the local level, usually by school districts, resulting in a wide variety of educational approaches across the country.

What are school protocols?

Security Protocols for Federal Educational Centers...

The protocols aim to empower, guide and accompany the directors, teachers and students of high school schools in matters of prevention, care and management of different eventualities or crises that may put their physical, psychological and social integrity at risk. social.