Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Schools and School Boards
While respiratory infections can occur year-round, it is common to see a significant increase in the fall and winter months. The following infection prevention and control recommendations can help keep your school communities safe and healthy.
- Report school absenteeism rates of 30% or greater (not related to factors like vacations, snow days, etc.) to email@example.com.
The EOHU will review absence data and may provide additional guidance.
- Encourage self-monitoring of symptoms, staying home when sick, and following the recommendations provided in this self-screening tool.
If parents/caregivers have questions about their child's health, they are encouraged to consult their primary care provider or 811 to connect with a registered nurse. The 811 service is free of charge and available 24 hours a day.
- Promote good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
Coughing and sneezing into your shoulder or elbow (not your hands), and frequent hand washing help to prevent the spread of infections. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content) is a good substitute if soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly soiled.
- Have masks available for those who want to wear one.
While wearing a mask in school is not mandatory, a well-fitted high-quality mask can provide additional protection against the spread of and exposure to respiratory viruses. A person’s decision to wear a mask may be based on their risk and comfort level, the people they are with, and the activity they are participating in.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects.
Maintain daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
- Improve indoor ventilation.
Consider improved ventilation practices (e.g., HEPA units, HVAC system maintenance, opening windows when appropriate, etc.).
- Prevent the spread at events.
When planning or hosting a school event, consider the school’s absenteeism rate and the community’s COVID-19 status. Where possible, gather in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Have masks available and encourage attendees to self-screen and to perform good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
The above recommendations are layers of protection. At the individual level, staying up to date with vaccines is an important way to remain protected and to prevent many infectious diseases. More information is available on receiving the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Handwashing Kit
- Educators can email firstname.lastname@example.org to borrow a Handwashing Kit to teach and reinforce handwashing. Participants will see artificial germs glow blue under a UV light in a simulated germ experiment.
- Basic Infection Control Certificate Program
- This 4-hour course is offered to students pursuing a Specialist High Skills Major - Health and Wellness. Educators can email email@example.com to inquire.