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 15% in elementary schools (from all causes)
- absenteeism rates over 15% in secondary schools (from all causes)
To make a report, review the Infectious Disease Reporting for Principals Quick Guide, and complete the Diseases of Public Health Significance Reporting Form. For assistance, 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
- Cough & Sneeze Etiquette (All grades) – A 30-sec video to children the importance of covering their cough and sneeze.
- How to wash your hands (Grades K-2) – A 30 sec video teaching children how to wash their hands with soap and water.
- Germ Smart – Wash Your Hands! (Grades 1-6) – This five-minute video demonstrates a fun way to learn about hand hygiene!
- How to wash your hands (Grade 6+) – This one minute video demonstrates how to wash your hands properly.
- Why Don’t We Do it in our Sleeves? (Grades 6-12) – 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 hand washing stations.
- Hand Hygiene Posters:
- Respiratory Etiquette Poster:
- I Don’t Feel Good Poster – Elementary Schools
- Keep a Healthy Distance Poster – Elementary Schools