PREPARING FOR THE FLU: DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RECOMMENDATIONS TO ENSURE
THE CONTINUITY OF LEARNING FOR SCHOOLS (K‐12)
DURING EXTENDED STUDENT ABSENCE OR SCHOOL DISMISSAL
As the CDC releases its “Guidance for School Responses to Influenza During the 2009‐2010 School Year,”
the U.S. Department of Education (“the Department”) wishes to remind states, districts, schools,
students, staff, families, and communities alike about the importance of ensuring the continuity of
learning in the event of student or school dismissals.
The purpose of this document, therefore, is to provide recommendations to help schools maintain the
continuity of learning for 1) individual or small groups of students who are out‐of‐school for extended
periods and 2) large groups of students disrupted by school dismissals or large numbers of faculty
These recommendations present considerations for education stakeholders to plan for and improve their
ability to provide continuous learning ranging from take‐home assignments to online learning
capabilities. It offers key questions for states, districts, school leaders, teachers, parents, and students,
as well as provides resource opportunities and best practices.
There are a number of reasons why students may be out‐of‐school for extended periods. For example,
schools may pursue selective dismissals of students at high‐risk of flu complications (to prevent the
spread of flu to vulnerable communities), reactive dismissals (when a significant proportion of students
in school have a documented fever), or preemptive dismissals (to proactively decrease the spread of flu).
Whatever the reason and regardless of the duration of such interruptions, all education stakeholders
should consider the effects of significant absences on student achievement and establish plans that not
only ensure health and safety, but also maintain a continuity of learning.
Options to get the material to students who are at home
We are mindful that available resources will pla