Children in schools are more prone to infection. A higher number of respiratory and enteric illnesses occur in this setting. To help prevent the spread of communicable diseases in schools:
- Ensure children in your school are immunized.
- Encourage parents to keep ill children home until they are well enough to participate in all activities.
- Teach children good personal hygiene, including handwashing, not sharing personal items, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.
- Properly clean and disinfect surfaces in your school.
Reporting of Communicable Diseases in Schools
Section 265 of the Ontario Education Act prescribes that it is the duty of the principal to report promptly to the school board and to the Medical Officer of Health when the principal has reason to suspect the existence of any communicable disease in the school, and of the unsanitary condition of any part of the school building or the school grounds.
There is a list of Reportable Diseases, as specified under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which are to be reported to the local Medical Officer of Health.
To report a suspected communicable disease in the school, or absenteeism rates over 10% in elementary schools and 20% in secondary schools (all causes), call the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 349 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
In order for Public Health to properly investigate the report of a suspected communicable disease, the school should be prepared to provide the following information:
- name, date of birth, address and phone number of person suspected of having a communicable disease;
- date of last day in attendance at the school;
- school bus number and bus route information (if applicable); and
- any other information Public Health deems necessary for the investigation.
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Guide to Common Childhood Infections
- Diseases of Public Health Significance & Reporting Form
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offers a number of Infection Control resources that can be used in the classroom. These resources can be obtained by calling the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
- Glow Germ Kit – A useful interactive resource that assists in educating about the importance of hand washing and the appropriate technique.
Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves? – A five-minute video (DVD) on the importance of cough and sneeze etiquette.
This kit and DVD can be borrowed from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health by calling the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613- 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
- Cover your Cough Poster
- How to Hand Wash Poster
- How to Hand Sanitize Poster
- Hand Hygiene Poster-Child
- Hand Hygiene Poster-Youth
- Hand Hygiene Poster-Adult
- Simple Steps to Germ Free Living Poster
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