A new U.S. government study suggests that during a serious flu epidemic, closing schools can keep people - especially kids - out of the ER.
Now, researchers say, the big questions include, When is it best to close schools? And what are the downsides?
The study, reported in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, looked at what happened in two Texas communities during the H1N1 "swine" flu epidemic of 2009. In one community, schools were closed as a precaution; in the other, they weren't.
It turned out that in the district where schools shut down, there were fewer ER visits for the flu.