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10.50.P.1 Communicable / Infectious Diseases

Section 10.50 - Policy


An infectious disease is caused by the presence of certain microorganisms in the body. Infectious diseases may or may not be communicable or in a contagious state. Diseases in a contagious state may be controlled by the exclusion of the infected student from the classroom or by referral for medical attention. Staff members of a school must advise the principal/school nurse when a student possesses symptoms of an infectious disease. The principal/school nurse must be provided with as much health information as is known about the case in a timely manner so that appropriate action can be initiated.

Selected diseases must be reported to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health at the time a case is suspected or diagnosed. A current list and reporting schedule of notifiable conditions may be found at or by contacting the local health department.

Reporting procedures for school staff are as follows:
  • Determine if and when condition should be reported.
  • Document information regarding the case; the Department of Public Health will need the following:
    • Name, age, grade level of individual involved
    • Who reported findings to the school
    • When, where and by whom was the diagnosis made
    • Was the individual hospitalized; supply name of hospital
  • For reporting: call 602-506-6767, follow instructions as directed by the county RN; fill out appropriate forms (if applicable) and fax to 602-506-8444.
  • An outbreak is defined as 10% of individuals in a group setting with similar signs or the same diagnosis.
  • Parent notification letters are sent out under the direction of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) and most often are sent only if 10% of the school population or 5 students per classroom are involved (per MCDPH).
  • Notify Lead Nurse; an approved District parent alert letter will be provided. Parent alert letters from MCDPH must be reviewed by Lead.
  • A generic “Parent Alert” letter is used as correspondence UNLESS the County requests and sends specific letters.
  • One physician confirmed case of measles would be an outbreak. Parent notification letters should be sent to students within the involved class. 

Head Lice (Pediculosis)

A suspected case, either reported by teacher observation or parent referral, will initiate the following:

Check the student’s head for visual signs of live lice or the presence of nits.

A positive finding of either a lice insect or an egg (nit) will require the following:
  • Head check of all students in the child’s classroom
  • Head check of high school student, siblings and close friends
  • Check siblings or other household member attending school
  • Call schools in district who have siblings of child
  • Notify the parent/guardian of exclusion from school
  • Give the parent/guardian a lice information fact and treatment sheet
  • Discuss with parent/guardian various over-the-counter treatment options or refer them to the local pharmacist
  • If a parent/ guardian cannot be reached, leave a message for the parents to call the Health Office.  Attempt to reach someone to pick up the child by calling all the adults listed by the parents on the Emergency contact list.  If no one can be reached, the child will be kept in the Health Office until the end of the school day, then send the child home using the usual dismissal method.  Send information with the child. 
  • Send the standard letter to parents of all student’s in the child’s classroom to alert them to watch for signs of lice infestation.
  • Recheck students who were sent home with live lice or nits once they have been treated with a pediculocide

When a parent/guardian calls/emails or comes to the Health Office and states that his/her child had lice over the weekend or they found lice on the child’s hair, the entire class of that student should be checked that day. 

Should lice/nits be found the above protocols will be followed. 

On readmission to school, the student will have a head check with the parent/ guardian present.   If there are no live lice or nits, the student will be given a clearance slip for the teacher.  If nits are still present, the child will be sent home to be treated with a pediculocide.