Playing it safe - education

An influenza outbreak is a serious concern in any school environment. The number of students in one room paired with the general nature of a classroom creates a situation in which germs are easily transferred from person to person. It is inevitable that germs will be shared and illnesses will be spread among students.

Influenza Safety for Your Classroom

However, there are ways that you can limit the spread of illness in your classroom. In addition to your normal health and hygiene strategies, consider the following suggestions to ramp up your health efforts during a flu outbreak in your community:

  • Stay home and get a sub when you are sick and encourage parents to keep their children home when they are ill.
  • Talk to your students about the symptoms of influenza and instruct them to tell you or their parents if they are feeling sick.
  • If a student is obviously suffering from influenza symptoms, it may be appropriate to call his or her parents and request that the child be taken home for the safety of other students in your class.
  • Plan activities that students can work on independently and avoid group contact or sharing of materials whenever possible. Try to maintain as much spatial separation as possible between students.
  • Keep frequently touched objects and surfaces (toys, doorknobs, countertops, etc.) clean throughout the day. Consider asking your students to help you clean and disinfect commonly used objects in your classroom. 

Teach students how to do the following:

  • Wash their hands properly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not available). Require frequent hand washing, especially after sharing materials or coming into contact with others, or before eating.
  • Avoid touching their nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Then, dispose of the tissue in a trash bin.
  • Wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose.


Your students will follow your lead, so be sure to frequently wash your hands and practice other good hygiene habits during a flu outbreak.