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Communicable Disease in Schools

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Communicable Diseases in Schools

two young children crossing the street after getting off the school busSchools inherently foster the transmission of infections from person to person because they are a group setting in which people are in close contact and share supplies and equipment.

All school districts should:

  • maintain their vigilance for increasing absenteeism due to respiratory, gastrointestinal or other communicable illnesses.
  • report any increases in absenteeism rates or suspected outbreaks to your local health department immediately.
  • collaborate with your local health department. They are there to help with outbreak investigations and can provide education about prevention and control of communicable diseases in schools.

The Montana Immunization Program

The Montana Immunization Program provides on overview of the immunization requirements, forms, and resources needed for children to enroll in childcare facilities and public schools in the state of Montana. Visit the Childcare and School Resources page of their website for more detailed information.

More information about common diseases you may encounter at your school and how to prevent them:

For more information, please visit the Immunization Program's School Resources page.  


Most Communicable diseases can be prevented by following the steps listed below:

  • Hand washing: Wash hands with soap and warm water frequently, especially after using the restroom. Give children enough time to properly wash their hands. (single most important factor)
    • The Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s a SNAP! (School Network for Absenteeism Prevention) program is a joint initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Cleaning Institute. This program seeks to improve hand hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of infectious disease and reduce related absenteeism. It's a SNAP! provides free materials including sticker sheets, honor roll certificates, bookmarks, handouts, and posters. In addition to these materials, schools working on hand washing projects can apply for a national recognition award which includes an all-expense paid trip for three to meet with leaders from the CDC, ACI, and Capitol Hill in either Washington D.C. or Atlanta, GA.
  • Stay home when ill: Strongly suggest that ill children and staff stay home when ill. Avoid close contact with others during the infectious period. Consult with ARM or local public health for guidance.
  • Education: Be informed about signs, symptoms and prevention of diseases. Share information with students and parents. Learning how diseases are transmitted can help to actively prevent the spread of disease.
  • Disinfect surfaces: Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects. Focus especially on frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
  • Vaccinate: Be sure to check immunization status of children for those diseases that can be prevented with vaccines.
  • Seek care: Visit your health care provider when ill to get diagnosed and treated properly.