Legal Preparedness for School Closures in Response to Pandemic Influenza and Other Emergencies, A Review and Report Submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   [open pdf - 536KB]

"The Center's analysis specifically addresses whether state laws expressly authorize state or local department(s) of health, education, and/or emergency management to close schools during non-emergencies and declared emergencies in response to pandemic influenza or other public health emergencies. While broad public health laws aimed generally at controlling communicable diseases or abating hazards in the community may support closing schools as a preventive measure, the Center's focus is on those laws within each state that appear to expressly authorize school closure for extended periods during non-emergencies and declared emergencies. […] Modeling and analyses conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others suggest that community-wide school closures may mitigate the incidence of pandemic influenza, thereby reducing its impact on individuals, groups, healthcare providers, public health systems, and the economy. The public health premise, consistent with social distancing theories, is that timely closing of schools may limit the spread of influenza (or other communicable conditions). […] In furtherance of CDC's assignments via the U.S. Homeland Security Council to prepare the Nation for a potential influenza pandemic--specifically action items,, and of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan-- (see Appendix A)), CDC's Public Health Law Program and Division of Global Migration and Quarantine asked the Center for Law and the Public's Health ('Center') to examine and characterize patterns in states' legal authorities to close schools. For this purpose, we reviewed the pandemic influenza preparedness and response plans all states submitted to CDC beginning in 2006. We also examined the express state laws of 52 jurisdictions, including the 50 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and Puerto Rico."

2008 Center for Law and the Public's Health at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/
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