Communicable Diseases in Schools
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
China is experiencing an expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This virus emerged in Hubei Province, China in December 2019. The virus is spreading from person-to-person, and cases are confirmed in the United States and a number of other countries.Currently, the immediate risk to the general public in Montana and the United States is considered to be low. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spreading in Montana at this time.
DPHHS 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
Sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumors and misinformation from spreading. Visit the DPHHS 2019 Novel Coronavirus website for more detailed information about monitoring and resources in Montana and nationwide .
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC has also released new guidance for schools on COVID-19. This interim guidance is intended primarily for administrators* of public and private childcare programs and K-12 schools in the United States to help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into their facilities. Interim Guidance for Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools. The guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Visit the CDC website for more information.
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 the website for more detailed information.
Communicable Disease Guide for Schools
*If you would like a hard copy of this manual, please call CDEpi at (406) 444-0273.
Communicable Disease Resources
- Communicable Disease Epidemiology Website
- Local Public Health Contact Information
- Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Bureau Infographics
- Communicable Disease Epidemiology reports
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- Healthy Schools
More information about common diseases you may encounter at your school and how to prevent them:
- Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
- Head Lice
- Influenza (Seasonal Flu)
- Norovirus (Stomach Flu)
- Pink Eye
For more information, please visit the Immunization Program's School Resources page.
Schools 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.
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)
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives- This CDC resource page includes educational and promotional materials as well as current news and links to partner organizations working to improve basic hygiene practices.
- 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.
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