• Communicable Disease Information


    Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

    How it spreads

    Several viruses and bacteria can cause conjunctivitis (pink eye), some of which are very contagious. Each of these types of germs can spread from person to person in different ways. They usually spread from an infected person to others through

    • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands

    • The air by coughing and sneezing

    • Touching an object or surface with germs on it, then touching your eyes before washing your hands

    Hand, foot and mouth disease

    Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is Common

    HFMD is common and in the U.S. occurs mostly in the summer and fall, but you can get it any time of year.

    Because it is common and usually mild, children can continue to go to child care and schools as long as they:

    • Fever of 100° F or greater (not to return until fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication)

    • Have no uncontrolled drooling with mouth sores.

    • Feel well enough to participate in classroom activities.

    Talk with your child’s healthcare provider if you are still not sure when it is okay for them to return.


    Head lice

    Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.

    Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.

    Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that “no-nit” policies should be discontinued. “No-nit” policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:

    • Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as ‘casings’.

    • Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.

    • The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.

    • Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.

    Influenza (Flu)Encourage students and staff to stay home when sick. 

    Flu seasons are unpredictable. Although widespread flu activity usually occurs every year, the timing, severity, and duration of it depend on many factors, including which flu viruses are spreading, the number of people who are susceptible to the flu viruses that are spreading, and how similar vaccine viruses are to the flu viruses that are causing illness. The timing of flu activity can vary from season to season. In the United States, seasonal flu activity most commonly peaks between December and March, but flu viruses can cause illness from early October to June. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the timing of flu activity has varied more than usual. It is unclear how COVID-19 activity will affect the timing and duration of flu activity in the future.

    Flu viruses are thought to spread primarily from person to person through coughs and sneezes of infected people. Less often, a person also might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.

    • Fever of 100° F or greater (not to return until fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication)


    Strep throat

    Viruses are the most common cause of a sore throat. However, strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria called group A Streptococcus (group A strep).

    People with strep throat should stay home from work, school, or daycare until they:

    • Fever of 100° F or greater (not to return until fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication)

    • AND

    • Have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours