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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
close up of soapy hands being washed

Infection Control in Schools

Children in schools are susceptible to infections, and a higher number of respiratory illnesses occur in school settings. You can help prevent the spread of disease 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, cutlery or drink containers, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.
  • Properly clean and disinfect surfaces in your school.

The Infection Control Process

Reporting Communicable Diseases in Schools

According to Section 265 of the Ontario Education Act, principals are required to report to the local Medical Officer of Health:

  • any reason to suspect the existence of any communicable disease in the school
  • absenteeism rates over 10% in elementary schools (from all causes)
  • absenteeism rates over 20% in secondary schools (from all causes)

To make a report, complete the Diseases of Public Health Significance Reporting Form, or call the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349.

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)
  • any other information Public Health deems necessary for the investigation

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

  • Revised Curriculum Support Materials – Coming Soon! (All Grades)
  • Why Don’t We Do it in our Sleeves? (Grades 1 – 6) A five-minute video on the importance of cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • The Scrub Club® program (all grades) is a fun, interactive and educational website that teaches children the proper way to wash their hands. This program provides downloadable activities and materials for teachers, and information for parents (available in both English and French).

Social and Physical Environments

We encourage our school partners to put up posters that share information about how to wash hands. These materials will encourage children and youth to clean their hands in the washroom, and other handwashing stations.

Home, School and Community Partnership

Need More Information About Infection Control in Schools?

Call the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349, or email info@hpeph.ca.

News, Research and Reports RELATED TO: Educators, Vaccines & Immunization, Infection Prevention

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We are gradually resuming in-person services at HPEPH by appointment only at this time.  Please review our Service Interruptions page for more information.

All program lines and the COVID-19 information line operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (excluding statutory holidays).

To assist us with our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we ask anyone visiting the office for an appointment to:

  • bring a non-medical mask, physical distancing may not be possible during your appointment
  • maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres, both inside and outside the office
  • review symptoms of COVID-19, and reschedule your appointment if you have symptoms of the virus, or any other illness
  • reschedule your appointment if a family member or other close contact is ill
  • use accessible buttons to open doors, instead of handles
  • use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the building

We have made additional changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are visiting our office for an appointment, you can be confident that we are:

  • increasing our cleaning, in alignment with heightened infection control protocols
  • considering alternatives to in-person appointments and meetings when possible
  • screening staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19
  • offering in-person services by appointment only to reduce traffic in office
  • ensuring staff wear masks and/or other protective equipment when seeing clients

Please continue to our website for more information about our programs and services.