Gaining control of an infectious disease outbreak can require making difficult decisions, particularly when infections are human-to-human transmissible. Children are often in close physical proximity at school, have less-than-perfect hygiene behaviours and have low prior immunity to many infections. For this reason, school closures are often proposed as one way of delaying the spread of infection. There is evidence to suggest that social contacts should reduce when schools are closed. For example, it has been reported that students have contact with fewer people during weekends and that the number of contacts children have with others approximately halves during the holidays. Several studies have also examined illness transmission rates during planned school closures, reporting a reduction in illness during school holidays and teacher strikes.
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