Day 1 - School Health Management

Lesson 1C:
Communicable Disease and Immunizations

Managing communicable diseases and ensuring immunizations in schools is a key school nurse responsibility. There are many resources available for this complex topic, so there are 12 sections in this lesson. You will review websites, complete readings, and watch a brief video. It will take about 75 minutes to complete this lesson. Please make sure you scroll down the page and participate fully in all the sections.

  1. Watch this PPT/video: (9 min)


Communicable Diseases:

  1. Visit the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) Guide to Surveillance and Reporting. Read the introduction on the webpage. Select one disease and read about it. Note that certain diseases are reportable to MDPH and your local board of health. You may work collaboratively with MDPH and local boards of health to control infectious diseases in your school or district.


  2. Visit the MDPH Fact Sheet webpage. We recommend you bookmark this webpage on your computer.


  3. Read the handout Tips to Prevent Infectious Diseases.


  1. Review the SHIELD COVID-19 webpages. Note the various guidance documents posted from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and MDPH. This page will be regularly updated, so we recommend you bookmark it and return to it often.
    1. Read two documents listed under the Heading MA Department of Public Health, School Health:
    2. Optional: Watch the PPE training video.



  1. Read the handout Vaccine Facts and Myths


  2. Review this Chart that illustrates how vaccines work


  3. Review the handout Immunization Information and Resources. Find out if your district is already registered in MIIS and reach out to your district’s Access Administrator to be listed as a designated user.


  4. Visit the MDPH School Immunizations webpage. We recommend you bookmark this webpage on your computer.
    1. Review the School and Camp requirements section of the MDPH School Immunizations website.
      • Review for any updates. For example, the 2020-21 school year will see the addition of new immunization requirements for meningococcal vaccine for school entry. In addition, all students Pre-K through 12 will be required to receive the influenza vaccine by December 31.
      • Download and review the Massachusetts School Immunization Requirements document (WORD). This is reissued annually by MDPH, often with revised requirements.
    2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Information for schools and childcare programs section. Read the guidance and take note of the helpful documents provided in this section.


  5. Review CDC Table 1. Recommended Child and Adolescent Immunization Schedule for ages 18 years or younger, United States. While MDPH revises its requirements based on CDC guidance, CDC offers additional information that school nurses may need to reference.


  6. Read the Handout Immunization Exemptions and Vaccine Preventable Disease Exclusion in School Settings. You may be called upon to quickly identify whom at your school is vaccinated and who is susceptible to disease. It is important to keep records up to date with lists of key individuals/situations. You don’t want to be doing record reviews of all students by hand in an emergent situation. Remember, unvaccinated students can face possible exclusions from school for up to several weeks. Don’t let this happen to your students! Make sure students are up to date BEFORE the emergency happens. If you have any questions about exemptions and exclusions, contact the on-call MDPH epidemiologist for guidance (617-983-6800).


  7. Visit the School Immunization Survey section of the MPDH School Immunizations website. It’s important to know that you are required to report on immunization status for certain grades.

Two, free E-Learnings developed for the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts

  1. Immunizations and Vaccine Management in Massachusetts
  2. Surveillance of Infectious Diseases