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School practices to promote social distancing in K-12 schools: review of influenza pandemic policies and practices.
BMC Public Health. 2018 03 27; 18(1):406.BP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

During an evolving influenza pandemic, community mitigation strategies, such as social distancing, can slow down virus transmission in schools and surrounding communities. To date, research on school practices to promote social distancing in primary and secondary schools has focused on prolonged school closure, with little attention paid to the identification and feasibility of other more sustainable interventions. To develop a list and typology of school practices that have been proposed and/or implemented in an influenza pandemic and to uncover any barriers identified, lessons learned from their use, and documented impacts.

METHODS

We conducted a review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature on social distancing interventions in schools other than school closure. We also collected state government guidance documents directed to local education agencies or schools to assess state policies regarding social distancing. We collected standardized information from each document using an abstraction form and generated descriptive statistics on common plan elements.

RESULTS

The document review revealed limited literature on school practices to promote social distancing, as well as limited incorporation of school practices to promote social distancing into state government guidance documents. Among the 38 states that had guidance documents that met inclusion criteria, fewer than half (42%) mentioned a single school practice to promote social distancing, and none provided any substantive detail about the policies or practices needed to enact them. The most frequently identified school practices were cancelling or postponing after-school activities, canceling classes or activities with a high rate of mixing/contact that occur within the school day, and reducing mixing during transport.

CONCLUSION

Little information is available to schools to develop policies and procedures on social distancing. Additional research and guidance are needed to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of school practices to promote social distancing.

Authors+Show Affiliations

RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA, USA. luscherp@rand.org.RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA, USA.Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA.Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA.RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA, USA.RAND Corporation, Arlington, VA, USA.Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29587707

Citation

Uscher-Pines, Lori, et al. "School Practices to Promote Social Distancing in K-12 Schools: Review of Influenza Pandemic Policies and Practices." BMC Public Health, vol. 18, no. 1, 2018, p. 406.
Uscher-Pines L, Schwartz HL, Ahmed F, et al. School practices to promote social distancing in K-12 schools: review of influenza pandemic policies and practices. BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):406.
Uscher-Pines, L., Schwartz, H. L., Ahmed, F., Zheteyeva, Y., Meza, E., Baker, G., & Uzicanin, A. (2018). School practices to promote social distancing in K-12 schools: review of influenza pandemic policies and practices. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 406. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5302-3
Uscher-Pines L, et al. School Practices to Promote Social Distancing in K-12 Schools: Review of Influenza Pandemic Policies and Practices. BMC Public Health. 2018 03 27;18(1):406. PubMed PMID: 29587707.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - School practices to promote social distancing in K-12 schools: review of influenza pandemic policies and practices. AU - Uscher-Pines,Lori, AU - Schwartz,Heather L, AU - Ahmed,Faruque, AU - Zheteyeva,Yenlik, AU - Meza,Erika, AU - Baker,Garrett, AU - Uzicanin,Amra, Y1 - 2018/03/27/ PY - 2017/08/23/received PY - 2018/03/12/accepted PY - 2018/3/29/entrez PY - 2018/3/29/pubmed PY - 2019/2/5/medline KW - Pandemic influenza KW - School planning KW - Social distancing SP - 406 EP - 406 JF - BMC public health JO - BMC Public Health VL - 18 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: During an evolving influenza pandemic, community mitigation strategies, such as social distancing, can slow down virus transmission in schools and surrounding communities. To date, research on school practices to promote social distancing in primary and secondary schools has focused on prolonged school closure, with little attention paid to the identification and feasibility of other more sustainable interventions. To develop a list and typology of school practices that have been proposed and/or implemented in an influenza pandemic and to uncover any barriers identified, lessons learned from their use, and documented impacts. METHODS: We conducted a review of the peer-reviewed and grey literature on social distancing interventions in schools other than school closure. We also collected state government guidance documents directed to local education agencies or schools to assess state policies regarding social distancing. We collected standardized information from each document using an abstraction form and generated descriptive statistics on common plan elements. RESULTS: The document review revealed limited literature on school practices to promote social distancing, as well as limited incorporation of school practices to promote social distancing into state government guidance documents. Among the 38 states that had guidance documents that met inclusion criteria, fewer than half (42%) mentioned a single school practice to promote social distancing, and none provided any substantive detail about the policies or practices needed to enact them. The most frequently identified school practices were cancelling or postponing after-school activities, canceling classes or activities with a high rate of mixing/contact that occur within the school day, and reducing mixing during transport. CONCLUSION: Little information is available to schools to develop policies and procedures on social distancing. Additional research and guidance are needed to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of school practices to promote social distancing. SN - 1471-2458 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29587707/School_practices_to_promote_social_distancing_in_K_12_schools:_review_of_influenza_pandemic_policies_and_practices_ L2 - https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-018-5302-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -