skip to main content

Policy 5120 - Communicable Diseases – Prevention and Control

The purpose of this policy is to establish regulations and procedures to aid HCPSS personnel in preventing and reducing transmission of communicable diseases among students, employees, service providers, and volunteers.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County recognizes its responsibility to provide educational programs and services for all children residing in Howard County, and further recognizes its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for students, employees, service providers, and volunteers. Because communicable diseases are one of the most common causes of student illness and absenteeism, preventing and reducing transmission of communicable diseases are recognized as essential responsibilities of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish regulations and procedures to aid HCPSS personnel in preventing and reducing transmission of communicable diseases among students, employees, service providers, and volunteers.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Communicable Disease – An illness due to a specific infectious agent or its toxic products that arises through transmission of the agent or its toxins from an infected person, animal, or inanimate reservoir to a susceptible host.

  2. Confidentiality – The non-disclosure or non-transmission of information to unauthorized parties by employees, service providers, or volunteers.

  3. Exposure – Contact with an infectious person, environment, contaminated item, or surface that may be capable of disease transmission.

  4. Outbreak – An increase in the number of infections that occur close in time and location in a facility, above the baseline rate usually found in that facility. Usually the cases are presumed to have a common cause or to be related to one another.

  5. Surveillance – The ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data in order to improve health and safety and to assist in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practices.

  6. Transmission – Passage of a specific infectious agent from a source person, animal, or inanimate object to a susceptible host, either by:

    1. Direct transmission occurring when the infectious agent is transferred by direct contact, i.e., touching, kissing, sexual intercourse, biting, or by direct projection of droplets spread by talking, sneezing, spitting, coughing, singing, or other means.

    2. Indirect transmission occurring via contaminated objects, or materials, e.g., toys, soiled clothing, bedding, cooking or eating utensils, food, water, or milk.

IV. Standards

  1. The HCPSS will work collaboratively with the Howard County Health Department (HCHD) to control outbreaks of communicable diseases in the school setting.

  2. The HCPSS will implement surveillance and reporting procedures in collaboration with the HCHD.

  3. The HCPSS will provide assistance to families to ensure students are in compliance with current immunization regulations from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).

  4. Students, employees, service providers, or volunteers suspected of/or showing symptoms of communicable disease will be case-managed in accordance with the DHMH guidelines in consultation with the HCHD.

  5. Information about individuals with a communicable disease must be maintained in accordance with HCPSS Policy 9050 - Student Records and HCPSS Policy 7010 - Personnel Records.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Office of Health Services and the Office of Safety, Environment and Risk Management, in collaboration with the HCHD and other agencies, will comply with all applicable regulations and implementation procedures.

  2. School administrators must have available and will follow the HCPSS exposure control plan.

  3. School administrators and HCPSS supervisors will ensure that professional development occurs annually for all staff members.

  4. Employees, service providers, and volunteers will follow procedures mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  5. School administrators will monitor student absenteeism and will report a ten percent absentee rate or suspected outbreaks to the Office of Health Services as soon as it occurs and subsequently on a daily basis.

  6. The Health Services Coordinator and Specialists will continuously monitor absentee rates and will consult with the HCHD when there is an increase in the number of schools reporting high absentee rates of suspected outbreaks.

  7. School administrators, in consultation with the Office of Health Services and the Office of Safety, Environment and Risk Management, will communicate potential exposures to their school community.

  8. School administrators will ensure, in collaboration with Health Services staff, that students are in compliance with current immunization regulations from the DHMH.

  9. The Health Services Coordinator and Specialists will review procedures for the prevention and control of communicable diseases at least annually and will revise the procedures as needed to ensure conformity with current medical practices.

  10. Health Services staff are responsible for implementing the HCPSS Health Services procedures regarding Communicable Diseases.

  11. School Health Services staff will maintain copies of the Health Services Manual: Requirements and Procedures for School Health Services.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is directed to develop regulations and procedures based on guidelines published by the federal government through OSHA, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, and those published by the DHMH, and MOSH.

VII. References

  • Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §7-401 to §7-403.1

  • Annotated Code of Maryland, Health – General Article 18-201, 18-202, 18-204, and 18-205

  • 29 CFR 1910.1030 Occupational Safety and Health Act

  • COMAR 10.06.06 Communicable Disease Prevention

  • COMAR 10.06.01.03 Communicable Diseases

  • COMAR 10.06.04 Communicable Diseases

  • HB 306/SB 257. Interstate Compact and Educational Opportunity for Military Children, Maryland State Department of Education.

C. Relevant Data Sources

  • Requirements and Procedures for School Health Services manual

  • Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens circular

  • Communicable Disease Summary: A Guide for School Health Services Personnel, Child Care Providers and Youth Camps; November 2011 (DHMH)

  • Procedure for Reporting Communicable Diseases to the Health Department

  • Reportable Communicable Diseases

D. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 25, 1987

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

REVISED: December 10, 1992, March 3, 2003, March 23, 2004, February 13, 2013

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2013