ABSTRACT: School closure is a proposed strategy for reducing influenza transmission during a pandemic. Few studies have assessed how families respond to closures, or whether other interactions during closure could reduce this strategy's effect. Questionnaires were administered to 220 households (438 adults and 355 children) with school-age children in a North Carolina county during an influenza B virus outbreak that resulted in school closure. Closure was considered appropriate by 201 (91%) households. No adults missed work to solely provide childcare, and only 22 (10%) households required special childcare arrangements; 2 households incurred additional costs. Eighty-nine percent of children visited at least 1 public location during the closure despite county recommendations to avoid large gatherings. Although behavior and attitudes might differ during a pandemic, these results suggest short-term closure did not cause substantial hardship for parents. Pandemic planning guidance should address the potential for transmission in public areas during school closure.
Emerging Infectious Diseases 08/2008; 14(7):1024-30. · 6.79 Impact Factor