The Federal Plan For H1N1 Flu And Schools

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The federal government released its updated guidance for schools and flu this morning, a relatively short document with few surprises. As I laid out in my story this week in the newsstand version of TIME, schools will not be encouraged to close just because some students begin coming down with H1N1, a shift in policy from the recomendation when the flu first hit the U.S. this spring. The final decision on whether or not to close a school will be left to local school districts.

There in another big change to the official recommendations: Whereas in the spring, people with flu were asked to isolate themselves at home for seven days. Now the recommendation is for people to isolate themselves–and for parents to isolate children–for only 24 hours after flu symptoms, like fever, go away.

That said, the flu recomendations are not fixed. If the virus itself changes behavior, the recomendations will change. Take a look at my story for a fuller picture of how the government is preparing for a fall spike in pandemic flu.