Contagious Diseases

  • The following are contagious illnesses that are frequently seen in school-age children. Please notify the school if your child has a contagious condition.

  • Chickenpox (Varicella) 

    Chickenpox is a viral illness. The symptoms include a rash beginning as red bumps turning into blisters, and possibly a fever. Exclusion from school is until all blisters have dried and formed scabs, about 6 days after the onset of the rash.

    Fifth Disease

    Fifth disease is a mild, common viral rash illness. Early symptoms are generally mild and may include a sore throat or low-grade fever. When the rash develops, it often appears on the cheeks (a slapped cheek look) and moves to the arms, upper body, buttocks, and legs. The rash on the body appears fine, lacy, and pink is more pronounced with exposure to heat or sunlight. Exclusion from school only if fever is present.

    Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

    Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease is a viral infection causing a blister-like rash. Symptoms include a low-grade fever, sores/blisters on hands, feet, in mouth, and sometimes on buttocks. Exclusion from school is until fever is gone and child is well enough for routine activities.

    Head Lice

    Head lice are communicable but they do not spread infection or disease; they are simply a nuisance. Anyone can get head lice, but they are commonly spread by younger children who have more head to head contact. Sleep overs are a common setting in which head lice can spread. The best prevention is to check your child's hair and scalp routinely throughout the year. 


    Impetigo is a contagious bacterial skin infection often occurring on the nose, arms, legs, or around the mouth. Sores begin as small fluid-filled blisters but rupture quickly, producing a thick golden-yellow discharge that dries, crusts, and sticks to the skin. This infection is common in young children and is easily spread from person to person by touching the fluid from the sores. Exclusion from school is until 24 hours after treatment begins and sores are drying.

    Influenza-like Illness

    Influenza-like Illness is described as symptoms of a cough or sore throat and a fever of 100 degrees or greater. The recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is that children can return to school 24 hours after their fever is gone without fever-reducing medication, and they are feeling well enough to participate in school. Flu symptoms may last 5-7 days.

  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) 

    Pink eye is a common infection involving redness of the inner eyelids. Symptoms include redness, itching, pain and drainage from the eyes. Not all children are sent home from school because their eyes appear red. Red eyes can be the result of a common cold, allergies, irritants and viral or bacterial infection. Whether or not they are sent home depends on the cause of the redness, the age of the child, and if they have a fever or other symptoms.


    Ringworm is a fungal infection of the body, scalp, hair, or feet. Ringworm on the body appears as flat, spreading ring-shaped areas on the skin. If lesions can be covered, no exclusion. If lesions cannot be covered, exclusion from school is until 24 hours after treatment begins.


    Scabies is an infestation of the skin caused by a tiny, insect-like animal called a mite. The female mite burrows under the skin to lay her eggs. Symptoms include intense itching (especially at night) and a rash of pink bumps or tiny blisters most commonly seen between the fingers, on the hands, knees, elbows, armpits and around the waist. Exclusion from school is until 24 hours after treatment begins.

    Strep Infections

    Strep throat and scarlet fever (a strep infection with a rash) are common bacterial infections in young children. Symptoms of strep throat often include a fever, red sore throat, and swollen glands. Headache, nausea, and stomach pain may also be more common in children. If your child is positive for strep, they must be on antibiotics for 24 hours and fever free before they can return to school.

    Whooping Cough (Pertussis) 

    Whooping Cough is a persistent bacterial cough illness. Common symptoms include a cough that occurs in sudden, uncontrollable bursts, high-pitched whooping sounds, and vomiting after a coughing spell. Exclusion from school is until they have finished 5 days of antibiotics, unless they have been coughing greater than 3 weeks. Whooping Cough is a reportable disease through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).