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Communicable Disease Reporting Procedure for Schools

The Health Protection and Promotion Act, 2011, Part IV, Section 28 reads as follows: “the principal of a school, who is of the opinion that a pupil in the school has or may have a communicable disease shall, as soon as possible after forming the opinion, report thereon to the Medical Officer of Health of the Health Unit in which the school is located.” This legislation supersedes the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
 
The principal or his/her designate should report by telephone to the Medical Officer of Health or designate located in the local Northwestern Health Unit office as soon as he/she is aware of the diagnosis.
 
Physicians and hospitals as well as day nurseries and other institutions and agencies must also report reportable diseases.
 
Which diseases must be reported? 
The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Infectious Disease Protocol specifies which diseases must be reported to the Medical Officer of Health. Click here for a list.  
 
Which disease do not need to be reported? 
Northwestern Health Unit staff are available to advise and assist with initiating control measures when needed.
 
What is the reporting procedure? 
Your first line of contact is the public health staff in your local health unit office. Reportable diseases should be reported by telephone as soon as possible to the Northwestern Health Unit. In addition, all diseases listed on the Reportable Disease list should be recorded and sent to the Northwestern Health Unit at the end of each month on the School Surveillance Reportable Disease Form. All information will be received as confidential.
 
Responsibility for excluding from school 
It is the responsibility of the principal of the school to exclude a student from school if appropriate for control of spread of the disease. In general, the principal may, at his or her discretion, exclude a child from school if a risk to other children is perceived. This is a personal decision between the principal, the parent(s) or guardian(s) and the pupil’s family physician. Northwestern Health Unit staff are available for advice if desired.