Certain microorganisms in the body cause infectious disease. Infectious diseases may or may not be communicable or in a contagious state.
The district may control diseases in a contagious state by excluding the student from the classroom or by referring the student for medical attention. Staff members must advise the school nurse and principal or designee when a student exhibits symptoms of an infectious disease based on the criteria outlined in this procedure. Staff should provide the school nurse, principal or designee with as much health information as is known about the case in a timely manner so that appropriate action can be initiated. (See OSPI’s Infectious Disease Control Guide for School Staff).
List of Notifiable Conditions
In consultation with the school nurse, the district will notify the local health department of cases, suspected cases, outbreaks and suspected outbreaks of disease that may be associated with the school.
Cluster of Cases
The occurrence of any generalized (covering greater than 75 percent of the body) rash with or without fever, cough, runny nose and reddened eyes in a school must be reported immediately to the school nurse who will in turn report as necessary to the local health department. Localized rash cases diagnosed as unrelated to a contagious disease, such as diaper rash, poison oak, etc. need not be reported. In addition to rash illnesses, any unusual cluster of infectious disease must be reported to the school nurse, who will report to the local health jurisdiction as necessary.
- Identification and Follow-Up
The length of absence from school for a student ill from a contagious disease is determined by the directions given in the OSPI’s Infectious Disease Control Guide for School Staff or instructions provided by the student’s licensed health care provider (LHP) and/or instructions from the local health officer.
- The principal has the final responsibility for enforcing all exclusions.
- Follow-up of suspected communicable disease cases should be carried out in order to determine any action necessary to prevent the spread of the disease to additional children.
- Staff should follow the directions of the local health office and the WA Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for mitigation measures.
Reporting at Building Level
A student with a diagnosed notifiable condition will be reported by the school principal or designee to the local health officer (or state health officer if local health officer is not available) as per schedule.
When symptoms of communicable disease are detected in a student who is at school, the regular procedure for the disposition of an ill or injured student will be followed. In all instances, the school nurse, principal or designee will:
- Notify the parent/guardian or emergency contact to advise them of the signs and symptoms.
- Arrange for parent/guardian to pick up the student as soon as possible; recommend follow-up with LHP.
- Notify the school nurse to ensure appropriate health-related interventions are in place;
- Keep the student isolated but observed until the parent/guardian arrives;
Note: When the student is 14 years or older and the symptoms are of a sexually transmitted disease, the student has confidentiality rights that prohibit notification of anyone but the health department.
First Aid Procedures
Students should be asked to wash their own minor wound areas with soap and water under staff guidance when practicable. If performed by staff, wound cleansing should be conducted in the following manner:
- Soap and water are recommended for washing wounds.
- Gloves must be worn when cleansing wounds which may put the staff member in contact with wound secretions or when contact with any bodily fluids is possible;
- Gloves and any cleansing materials will be discarded in a lined trash container that is disposed of daily according to WAC 296-823 – Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens and included in the most recent OSPI’s Infectious Disease Control Guide for School Staff;
- Hands must be washed before and after treating the student and after removing the gloves; and
- Treatment must be documented in a school health record.
Thermometers will be handled in the following manner:
- Only disposable thermometers or non-mercury thermometers with disposable sheath covers and/or temporal scan thermometers should be used when taking student temperatures; and
- Disposable sheath covers will be discarded in a lined trash container that is secured and disposed of daily. Temporal scan thermometers will be disinfected after each use.
Handling of Body Fluids
- Body fluids of all persons should be considered to contain potentially infectious agents (germs). Body fluids include blood, drainage from scrapes and cuts, feces, urine, vomitus, saliva, respiratory secretions, semen and vaginal secretions;
- Gloves must be worn when direct hand contact with body fluids is anticipated (e.g., treating nosebleeds, bleeding abrasions), when handling clothes soiled by body fluids (e.g., urine and/or feces), when diapering children and when cleaning and disinfecting space used for diapering. Hand washing is the most important intervention for preventing the spread of disease and must take place after gloves are removed and between care of students;
- Used gloves must be discarded in a secured lined trash container and disposed of daily according to WAC 296-823 – Bloodborne Pathogens and included in the most recent OSPI Infectious Disease Control Guide. Hands must then be washed thoroughly;
- Self-treatment of minor injury, when reasonable, will be encouraged;
- Sharps will be disposed in an approved container. Sharps containers must be maintained upright throughout use, be tamper-proof and safely out of students’ reach, be replaced routinely and not be allowed to overfill.
- For cleaning and disinfection, the district will follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations. In addition, the district will comply with WAC 296-823-Bloodborne Pathogens and OSPI’s Infectious Disease Control Guideline for School Staff.
For other universal precautions, the district will comply with WAC 296-823- Bloodborne Pathogens and the OSPI Infectious Disease Control Guideline.
The student will be accommodated in a least restrictive manner, free of discrimination, without endangering the other students or staff. The student may only be excluded from school on the written concurrence of the local health officer and the student’s LHP, that remaining or returning to school would constitute a risk either to the student or to employees or other students.
All discussions and records will be treated as confidential, consistent with RCW 70.24.105.
Release of information regarding the testing, test result, diagnosis or treatment of a student for a sexually transmitted disease, drug, alcohol, mental health treatment, family planning or abortion may be made only as pursuant to an effective release and only to the degree permitted by the release. To be effective, a release must be signed, dated, must specify to whom the release may be made and the time period for which the release is effective. Students 14 and older must authorize disclosure regarding, sexually transmitted diseases, or reproductive healthcare issues. Students 13 and older must authorize disclosure regarding drug, alcohol or mental health treatment. Students of any age must authorize disclosure regarding family planning or abortion. Parents/guardians must authorize disclosure pertaining to younger students.
Any disclosure made pursuant to a release regarding reproductive healthcare, including sexually transmitted diseases, drug treatment, or alcohol treatment must be accompanied by the following statement:
“This information has been disclosed to you from records whose confidentiality is protected by state law. State law prohibits you from making any further disclosure of it without the specific written consent of the person to whom it pertains, or as otherwise permitted by state law. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is not sufficient for this purpose.”
The district will ensure that newly hired school district employees receive the bloodborne pathogens (BBP) training prior to assigning tasks where exposure might occur and at least annually and within one year of the previous training.
- Epidemiology and symptoms of BBP
- How BBP are transmitted
- Recognizing tasks and activities that could lead to bloodborne pathogen exposure
- Methods that will prevent or reduce exposure including:
- work practices
- personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Hep B vaccine
- what actions to take if exposed