Insights into unplanned K-12 school closures in the United States, August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
: 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.
Background: School closure is a potential mitigation strategy in influenza pandemic. However, data about unplanned school closures occurring during non-pandemic years are limited. We describe characteristics of unplanned school closures in the US during two academic years. Purpose: To enhance knowledge base regarding unplanned school closures in the US. Significance: This study will inform emergency preparedness by helping determine the potential impact unplanned school closures have on students and families. Methods: Unplanned school closures lasting ≥1 day were identified through systematic searches of web-based search engines and were verified via the school or local news websites. The number of affected schools and students were calculated based on publically available school data. Results: From August, 1, 2011 ¨C December 31, 2012, a total of 42,555 unplanned school closures were identified. Of these, 41,072 (97%) schools participated in 5,134 district-wide closures, while 1,483 (3%) were individual school closures. Approximately 22 million K-12 students in 49 states were impacted. The average duration of closures was 2.2 days (range=1-20 days). Most frequently reported reasons for closures included weather events (22,679 [53%]) and natural disasters (16,246[38%]). Overall, 274 (0.6%) closures were due to infectious disease outbreaks. During fall of 2012, 106 influenza-related closures occurred, compared to zero during fall of 2011. Conclusions: Unplanned school closures occur frequently and affect a significant number of schools and students each year. Although a small proportion of school closures were related with infectious disease, a substantial number of influenza-related closures occurred in the fall semester of 2012/13.
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Describe the frequency, duration and causes of unplanned, temporary school closures lasting ¡Ý1 school day that occurred in the US over 2011/12 and 2012/13 academic years.
Discuss potential impact of unplanned school closures on students and families, and implications for emergency preparedness planning.
Keyword(s): School Health, Disasters
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a medical epidemiologist at CDC and have been a senior investigator on multiple research projects focusing on non-pharmaceutical interventions for pandemic influenza preparedness and response, including school closures. My scientific interests also include vaccine-preventable infectious diseases (influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, polio) and infectious disease transmission dynamics in various community settings including schools.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.