Educators could consider "selective" school closings if another swine flu outbreak strikes this fall and winter, the federal Centers for Disease Prevention and Control said Friday.
The recommendation is based on the CDC's assumption that the H1N1 swine flu virus will be no more virulent than it was last spring.
There have been 164 confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu in Kentucky. Most of those reported cases have been mild and have not required hospitalization.
But the federal health agency said that if the flu proves to be worse than before, educators and local health authorities should carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits of closing schools. The H1N1 flu poses a health risk, but dismissing schools could cause widespread disruption, the CDC noted.
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The recommendations are contained in a CDC "guidance" that the health agency released Friday to help public health officials and educators prepare for a possibly serious 2009-2010 flu season.
If the H1N1 flu is no more serious than it was last spring, the CDC said, schools should take basic precautions like recommending regular hand-washing.
But if the H1N1 virus is more aggressive this fall and winter, schools should intensify their efforts, including screening students and staffers when they arrive at school each morning and sending them home if they have flu symptoms.
Schools also should plan for educating children at home about the flu through homework packets, Internet lessons or other approaches, the CDC said.
For more details, visit www.flu.gov.