Health Services » Communicable Diseases/ Exclusion from School

Communicable Diseases/ Exclusion from School

Communicable Diseases/ Exclusion from School for Health Reasons


To protect all children from communicable illnesses, students infected with certain diseases are not allowed to come to school while they are contagious. Students should be symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to school.  Contact your campus nurse if you are unsure whether or not your child should return to school.

The guidelines below have been developed for the exclusion of students who have communicable or contagious diseases. These regulations are in compliance with the requirements of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Mercedes ISD Administrative Guidelines, and the MISD Medical Director for School Nurses.

  1. A student with any of the following symptoms but not limited to will be excluded from school until such time as the student is free of symptoms, has been satisfactorily treated, or submits a signed physician’s statement that he/she is not contagious or medically cleared.
    • Temperature of 100 degrees or more. Student must be fever free for 24 hours, without medication, before re-entry.
    • 3 or more episodes of diarrhea in 24 hours. Student must be symptom free for 24 hours without medication before re-entry.
    • Pain and/or swelling at angle of jaw.
    • Undetermined rash over any part of the body.
    • Undiagnosed scaly patches on the body or scalp.
    • Red, draining eyes.
    • Intense itching with signs and symptoms of secondary infection.
    • Open, draining lesions that can be contained.
  2. The school nurse or campus principal, will notify parents that the student must be excluded for medical reasons.
  3. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to transport the student from school to his/her home in a timely manner.
  4. For readmission, some diseases may require a statement from the student’s physician affirming that the student is not contagious.

For more information on school exclusions:

Communicable Disease Information for Parents by Topic

Most cases of chicken pox these days are very mild in children who have been vaccinated against varicella.  It is best to consult your physician if you suspect chicken pox.  Your child must remain at home until all of the lesions (pox) are crusted over and there can be no new eruption of lesions in the last 24 hours.  He/she must also be fever free for at least 24 hours. This process generally takes about 5 days. Your physician may require a longer period of isolation. A doctor’s note is recommended.

Flu season is typically from October thru mid-May. Preparation is the key. Management is a team effort between parents, students, health care professionals, and Mercedes ISD. Each plays a vital role in managing the flu season responsibly.

Mercedes ISD Schools Help by:

  • Teaching and encouraging proper hand washing technique.
  • Teaching effective coughing and sneeze technique such as cough in your sleeve.
  • Posting signs around the campus as a visual reminder.
  • Offering free flu vaccine clinic to staff.
  • Encouraging all staff to remain home when ill.

Parents help by:


  • Having their families vaccinated against the flu.
  • Encouraging proper hand, sneeze, and cough techniques be used at home.
  • Consulting their health care providers when flu-like illness symptoms begin. Flu like symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and nasal congestion.
  • Keeping their children home when ill or have fever.

Students help by:

  • Washing their hands for twenty seconds with soap and water before and after eating, after sneezing or coughing into their hands, after using the restroom, after playing outdoors, and any other time their hands are dirty.
  • Using Kleenex to sneeze and coughing into their sleeves.
  • Not sharing food and drink.
  • Encouraging others to do the same.

More information can be found on the following government sites:

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is an inflammation/irritation of the eye. It can be caused be by allergies or chemicals, medication, gas, fumes, chlorine from a swimming pool, etc. Infections conjunctivitis (viral or bacterial) is contagious. It spreads from person to person by direct constant with secretions or discharge from the eyes of someone who is infected.

Signs and symptoms: to watch for are: redness, itching, or pain. There is usually a discharge which may be thick (yellow or green) or watery. The eyelids maybe swollen and slightly pink and the lashes may be crusted together when the child awakens in the morning.

Children with bacterial infections are considered contagious. Careful hand washing is important in preventing the spread of disease. 

If you suspect infectious conjunctivitis, please keep your child at home and contact your physician. If your child is diagnosed with conjunctivitis and receives treatment, he or she must be cleared by a physician before they can return back to school and treatment has been started at home.

Information regarding bacterial meningitis is available online from the CDC as well as the Texas Department of State Health Services. The CDC recommends the meningococcal vaccine for all 11 and 12 year old children. The meningococcal vaccine is required for all 7th grade entering students. 


Information from the FDA

Information from the CDC: This is current information on the increased risk of meningitis for children who receive cochlear implants.

Protect yourself and your children from infection. Use the hand hygiene guidelines below, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent or reduce the rate of infection. These simple guidelines can be easily adapted to the school environment and carried through in the home environment.


Hand hygiene for yourself and your children should occur:

  • Immediately before and after eating
  • After using the toilet
  • After contacting any body fluids, including wet or soiled diapers, runny noses, spit, or vomit
  • After handling pets, pet cages, or other pet objects
  • Whenever hands are visibly dirty or after cleaning
  • After removing gloves used for any purpose
  • Before giving or applying medication or ointment

Recommended Hand Hygiene Techniques:

  • Handwashing - Wet hands with water first, apply soap, and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry with disposable towel. Use towel to turn off the faucet.
  • Alcohol-based hand rubs/gels - Application is the key. Apply to palm of one hand. Rub hands together covering all surfaces until dry. The volume used is based on the manufacturer. Be sure to let it dry.