Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Young children are at risk of serious flu complications. Flu and other respiratory illnesses can spread quickly in schools, child care facilities, and other places people gather. You can help protect your students and staff from the flu by encouraging staff, parents, and caregivers to do a few simple things to prevent catching or spreading flu illness.
Below are materials that can be used by school and child care staff and administration, as well as parents and caregivers. These materials can help you create a flu-free environment to prevent the spread of flu among children and staff. It is best to review these materials before the spread of flu begins, ideally in early October, but they can be helpful year round.
Flu vaccination is the best defense against serious illness from the flu. Encourage staff to get vaccinated every year and to stay home if ill so they do not spread flu or other illnesses in your facility.
The flu vaccine protects against the flu only. It does not prevent the spread of other respiratory diseases. To learn more about preventing the spread of COVID-19, visit the DOH COVID-19 landing page. Some habits can help prevent the spread of any respiratory diseases, including flu, COVID-19, RSV, and the common cold.
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and then throw the tissue away.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you feel sick. Do not return until your fever has been gone on its own (not using medicine to reduce it) for 24 hours.
- Consider wearing a mask indoors in crowded settings.
For School and Child Care Administration & Staff
- Employee flu vaccine clinic: Knock Out Flu – Promoting Flu Vaccination in the Workplace (PDF)(DOH)
This toolkit includes resources for employers to promote employee flu vaccination in the workplace. This is a good practice that can keep your facility running and keep your staff healthy. We encourage you to offer a flu vaccine clinic for all staff in September or October. Gyms and cafeterias are often great places for these clinics. Strategy checklists, flu facts, fliers and social media tools help you encourage employees to get vaccinated and can enable you to hold a workplace vaccination clinic.
- School Vaccine Clinic (CDC)
- Consider using the vaccine clinic guide above or partner with a community organization to host a flu vaccine clinic at your facility for your students and their families.
- Guidance for School Administrators to Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in K-12 Schools (CDC) (Spanish)
- Recommendations for administrators on reducing the spread of flu amongst students and staff.
- How To Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu (CDC) (Spanish)
- Guide for school and child care staff to help prevent spread of respiratory disease viruses in schools by disinfecting surfaces.
For Parents & Caregivers
Consider emailing some of these items to families, or printing and sending them home as backpack stuffers.
- Brochure: Protect Your Family from the Flu (PDF) (DOH) (Spanish)
- Information for parents on why children need the flu vaccine, when to get them vaccinated, vaccine safety and more.
- Flu Information for Parents with Young Children (CDC) (Spanish)
- CDC web page on protecting children from serious illness from the flu.
- Influenza Vaccine Safety (CDC) (Spanish)
- CDC web page with resources on vaccine safety and monitoring.
- Vaccine Safety (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Web page with information on how vaccines work and why they are safe for children.
- Prevention Steps (CDC) (Spanish)
- Web page with information on how to stop the spread of germs that cause the flu.
- Emergency Warning Signs of Respiratory Illness Social Media Images
- Knock Out Flu partner toolkit (DOH)
- A flu toolkit with sample social media post language, images and other resources you can use to help promote healthy habits.
- Vaccinating Youth (DOH)
- WA DOH web page with information about getting youth vaccinated against COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Resources and Recommendations (DOH)
- Additional resources about COVID-19.