Schools & Childcare Guidance

Responding to Disease in a School or Childcare Setting

Every school or childcare should have a plan for how to address illnesses and minimize spread. Prompt action by staff can help prevent a serious outbreak of a communicable disease. It’s important for staff to be aware of existing school or childcare policies regarding exclusions for illness. For symptom-based considerations for evaluating when a child should stay (or be sent) home, visit the  Symptom Management Guidance from the California Department of Public Health.

Disease Transmission

Schools and childcare providers can play a major role in helping to reduce or prevent the spread of illness among children and adults in our community by enforcing sick policies and promoting key infection prevention and control strategies, such as teaching proper coughing and handwashing methods, vaccinations, and maintaining a sanitary learning environment. For more information, visit the Guidance for School & Child Care Communicable Disease Mitigation resource.

Reporting Requirements

Title 17, California Code of Regulations (§2500), requires school nurses and personnel to report the listed reportable diseases to the local health officer. When a student is suspected of having a serious, highly infectious disease like measles or when an outbreak occurs, reporting should be immediate. Child care centers and family child care homes are required to report outbreaks under CCR Title 22 section 101212(d)) and (CCR Title 22 section 102416.2(c)(3)) respectively. 

Some conditions, such as head lice, ringworm, and hand-foot-mouth are considered “nuisance” conditions and although they can cause considerable disruption in schools or childcare settings, they do not pose a public health threat. Individual cases of these “nuisance” conditions are not reportable under Title 17 unless there is an outbreak, which must be reported.

Visit the  Report a Disease / Outbreak page to make a report.

Disease Fact Sheets

View the list of fact sheets below about specific infectious diseases that may be encountered in schools and childcare settings. These fact sheets contain general disease information and exclusion recommendations for disease prevention and control and are intended for parents and guardians, childcare providers, and school health staff.