About 600 schools nationwide have closed at some point this year -- more than 350 across 19 states last week alone -- because of the H1N1 flu virus. While the federal government has urged school closings to be a last resort, many school officials have expressed concerns over the tendency of the virus to spread so quickly in the school setting. They have said shutting the schools during outbreaks prevents further illness from students coming to school when they are sick.

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