News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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When does the Health Department recommend school closure for flu outbreaks?

Most school superintendents/administrators across the state contact their local health department when they begin to see absenteeism rising from the flu or another communicable disease, according to Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. He says he recommends superintendents and administrators close schools for five days--which can include weekends--when absenteeism is rising and hovering at 25%.

"It's the local school superintendent or administrator who decides to close school in early stages of a pandemic like we're in now," Meyerson said. "And if schools are closed, I recommend they consider cancelling meetings, practices, sporting events, and performances to slow the spread of illness."

While schools are closed, Meyerson recommends thorough cleaning of hard surfaces, where viruses can live for up to 24 hours.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about H1N1 flu, visit or call 800-432-4121.