To help prevent and control the transmission of infectious diseases in schools.
Primary responsibility for the prevention and control of infectious diseases lies with individuals, families and public health authorities; however schools also have an important role to play.
Note: Head lice and scabies are infestations not infections. For further information on head lice, see: Head Lice Management.
Prevention and control of infectious diseases
In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, schools must:
Specific precautions to assist with infection prevention and control must be followed by all people in a school at all times. They include hygiene and body fluids and substance precautions.
General precautions include:
good hygiene practices, particularly washing and drying hands before and after meals, after using the bathroom, after nose blowing, and after contact with contaminated objects
the use of protective barriers which can include gloves and masks
safe handling of ‘sharps’
use of non-touch technique, as appropriate.
Blood and other body fluids
Interaction between people at schools should minimise contact with body fluids and substances, including:
Staff members and students should:
cover broken skin on their hands or lower arms with waterproof occlusive dressings at all times
treat blood and other body fluids and substances as being potentially infectious
avoid direct contact with blood and other fluids and substances, where possible
be familiar with recommended hygiene and standard precautions
deal with spills:
- using single use gloves, or
- until it is possible to get someone wearing gloves to take over, then thoroughly wash their hands and any body parts that were in contact with the spill using warm water and liquid soap
use a resuscitation mask, if available, if mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is required
Note: CPR training should be practiced with the use of a single-use resuscitation mask and manikins should be cleaned, dried and disinfected.
Schools must be aware of, and abide by, exclusion requirements during an outbreak of an infectious disease.
For detailed information on exclusion, see the Department of Health’s website: Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Surveillance (IDEAS).
Certain excludable infectious diseases require immediate notification to the Department of Health. See: Notifying infectious diseases and blood lead
Procedures that deal with inappropriate student behaviour resulting in students and staff being exposed to body fluids and substances should:
Schools have a role in helping health authorities and families manage the control of infectious disease. See: Immunisation
- Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008
- Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009
For more information, see: First Aid