Household responses to pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures, Perth, Western Australia
Effler, P. V., Carcione, D., Giele, C., Dowse, G. K., Goggin, L., & Mak, D. B. (2010). Household responses to pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures, Perth, Western Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16(2). doi:10.3201/eid1602.091372
School closure is often purported to reduce influenza transmission, but little is known about its effect on families. We surveyed families affected by pandemic (H1N1) 2009–related school closures in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Surveys were returned for 233 (58%) of 402 students. School closure was deemed appropriate by 110 parents (47%); however, 91 (45%) parents of 202 asymptomatic students reported taking >1 day off work to care for their child, and 71 (35%) had to make childcare arrangements because of the class closures. During the week, 172 (74%) students participated in activities outside the home on >1 occasion, resulting in an average of 3.7 out-of-home activities for each student. In our survey, activities outside the home were commonly reported by students affected by school closure, the effect on families was substantial, and parental opinion regarding school closures as a means to mitigate the outbreak of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 was divided.