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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, 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

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

Respiratory Infection Update

PUBLISHED: Tuesday January 14, 2020

Communicable Disease Fast Facts Report

PUBLISHED: Sunday April 1, 2018

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