Flu Information for Schools

Epidemiology and Informatics
Public Health

What would you like to do?

What you need to know

​​​​​Educators and staff can help slow the spread of respiratory disease. Addressing the spread of viruses in schools is essential to the health of our youth, our schools, and our nation.

Preventing Flu in Schools

Always remind children to:

  • Cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze - have them throw the tissue away after they use it.
  • Wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after they cough or sneeze. If water is not near, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Remind them not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs often spread this way.

Resources for Schools

How long is a person with flu virus contagious?

The period when an infected person is contagious depends on the age and health of the person. Studies show that in most healthy adults, the period when they are able to infect others can last from one day before they got sick to up to five days after they first developed symptoms. Some people with weakened immune systems may be contagious for longer than a week.

When can a child or staff return after having the flu?

Per Nebraska law, schools must send home any children who show signs or symptoms of an infectious disease. Do not allow children excluded for a confirmed communicable disease to return to school until:

Influenza Outbreak Reporting

Schools are required to report influenza-like clusters or outbreaks to the local public health department or to DHHS. For more information on requirements for reporting diseases, visit Reportabl​e Conditions.

School Absenteeism Surveillance

Influenza often affects school-age children first. These children are responsible for much of the early transmission within the community. During the flu season, DHHS and local public health departments monitor rates of school absenteeism, as part of the School Illness Absenteeism Surveillance Program. Rates above 11% indicate transmission of illness and show that illness is transmitting in both the schools and community. If you are not currently participating in school absenteeism surveillance, please contact your local health department.