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School Health Reference Guide


The Region of Peel School Health Reference Guide is a supplementary resource to relevant Peel and Dufferin-Peel school board policies. Refer to school board policy first if you have questions or concerns.

Childhood Diseases and Illnesses

Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Caused by a virus.
  • Slight fever, tiredness, headache and/or runny nose.
  • Red, spotty rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters, which eventually dry up and crust over.
  • Possibly contagious for five days but usually one to two days before onset of rash, and continuing until all blisters are crusted (about five days).
  • Spread from person to person by respiratory droplets in the air or by direct contact with the fluid in the blisters and indirect contact through freshly contaminated household personal items (e.g., soap, soiled clothing).
  • The period between being exposed to the infection and the appearance of symptoms is two to three weeks; commonly 14 to 16 days.
Instructions for Schools
  • Needs to be reported to Peel Public Health. Please see Handling and Reporting Communicable Diseases for reporting procedures.
  • For reporting cases, complete Notification of Disease in Schools form (PDF 171KB, 2 Pages) including the date of birth of the child.
  • Child should be allowed to return when well enough to participate in all activities and once all the lesions have crusted.
  • Exclusion is not necessary as this does not control further spread of the outbreak.
  • Parents of other children, especially parents of children whose immune systems are low (immunosuppressed), should be notified that chickenpox is in the school and information should be provided about the disease. Letters to parents and staff may be sent, at the discretion of the school principal, to alert them of precautions because of recently diagnosed chickenpox in the school.
  • Encourage thorough hand washing and respiratory etiquette.
  • Remember to protect the confidentiality of the student by not disclosing a diagnosis to concerned parents and/or colleagues. If contact follow up of those exposed is required, Peel Public Health will contact those who are at risk.
  • Vaccine available: Given as part of the routine childhood immunization schedule.
  • Chickenpox vaccine is given separately or in combination with measles, mumps and rubella (MMRV).
  • Vaccine is effective in preventing illness or decreasing severity if given within three days (and possibly up to five days under a physician’s discretion) to someone in contact with chickenpox who has not had the chickenpox.
  • Chickenpox virus can survive for many years in the body in an inactive form and be reactivated as shingles if a person is not able to fight off the infection (immunocompromised).

Peel Public Health is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

For more information on communicable disease resources and programs,
call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.(In Caledon, call 905-584-2216.)


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Revised: Monday January 11 2016