On this page:

General Strategies for Preventing Communicable (Infectious) Diseases)

Respiratory Virus Guidance

Mental Health

Emergency Preparedness

Injury Prevention

Stay Connected to Austin Public Health

General Strategies for Preventing Communicable (Infectious) Diseases

** If your school has a child care program, you can find guidance for preventing and managing communicable diseases in the child care setting on the APH Child Care Providers page.**

For resources and to learn more about key prevention and management strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the strategies required by the State of Texas, please select the topics below:


State of Texas minimum immunization requirements

  • Keep required immunization records and exemptions for students enrolled. More information about the minimum immunization requirements for schools can be found on the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) website.

Recommended immunization schedules

COVID-19 vaccination

Encourage staff and families to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination. To help promote vaccination, share these CDC web pages with staff and families:

Flu vaccination

  • Flu season typically begins in October. It is important that everyone 6 months and older get vaccination against the flu each year. Flu vaccine information you can share with parents is available on the CDC website, in English and Spanish.

RSV shots

There are three new immunization tools to reduce RSV and severe symptoms:

Vaccination opportunities

  • Let staff and families know where they can get vaccinated.
  • Visit vaccines.gov (vacunas.gov for Spanish) or text your ZIP code to 438829 (822862 for Spanish).
  • Austin Public Health (APH) offers immunizations to children who are uninsured or Medicaid recipients. Services are also available to uninsured adults. Find out more about appointments and Shorts for Tots/Big Shots clinics on the APH Immunizations page.
  • Partner with APH to host a vaccine event at your school for students, staff, and families. Complete this questionnaire to request to host a pop-up vaccination clinic.
  • To host a vaccine information session, complete this questionnaire. APH health educators will provide information about the safety, efficacy, and benefits of vaccines.
State of Texas exclusion criteria

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Communicable Disease Chart for Schools and Child Care Programs describes the symptoms, exclusion, readmission criteria, and more, for a range of conditions.

State of Texas reporting requirements

The Texas Administrative Code requires schools report cases or outbreaks of some communicable/infectious disease among students and staff to their local health department. Reporting requirements are found in the Texas Notifiable Conditions List and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Communicable Disease Chart for Schools and Child Care Programs.

Schools should continue to report possible outbreaks of COVID-19 to Austin Public Health. A possible outbreak is 3 or more cases connected by space (e.g., classroom, sports team) and time (e.g., field trip, school concert, science class period). Your continued reporting of possible outbreaks remains important, as it allows APH to provide schools timely guidance and to remain informed about what is occurring in our community.

How to report to Austin Public Health (APH):

Handwashing & respiratory etiquette

Teach students and staff when and how to wash their hands.

Use printable posters to help raise awareness about handwashing.

Teach children and staff how to cover coughs and sneezes.

Cleaning, sanitizing & disinfecting

Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces are important everyday strategies to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The CDC recommends that schools clean surfaces at least once a day. Learn more from the CDC about when and how to clean and disinfect a facility here.


Improving ventilation in buildings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases by reducing the number of virus particles in the air. Learn more from the CDC about how to improve ventilation in schools here.

Respiratory Virus Guidance

Preventing illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance on preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19, RSV, and flu.

The CDC recommends that people who have respiratory virus symptoms:

  • Stay home and away from others:
    • For at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving overall, and
    • They have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.
  • Upon returning to normal activities, the CDC advises people take additional precautionary measure over the next 5 days, such as:
    • Masking*,
    • Distancing,
    • Taking steps for cleaner air,
    • Practicing good hygiene, and
    • Testing when they will be around others indoors.

The CDC also advises people seek health care promptly for testing and/or treatment if they have risk factors for severe illness.

*Keep in mind that certain groups of people should not wear a mask, including:

  • Children younger than 2 years old
  • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask because of the disability, as defined by the American with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.)
  • Children who are sleeping
  • Anyone participating in activities where the mask could get wet, like swimming or water play

For more information about specific respiratory viruses, please select the topics below. 


Austin Public Health (APH) encourages schools to follow the CDC Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning.

Flu (Influenza)

APH’s Flu in Austin page has information on local flu trends, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

The Department of State Health Services’ Influenza Information for Schools and Child Care Facilities page has a list of online resources specific to those settings.


The CDC’s RSV in Infants and Young Children page has fact sheets and information about everyday prevention measures, symptoms, severe RSV, RSV in very young infants, and immunizations. 

Mental Health

Many children and youth are struggling with their mental health and need help. At AskListenTalk.org parents and caregivers can find resources to support their children – how to spot a mental health issue, how to start the conversation, how to support their own mental health, and how to get help throughout Austin and Travis County.   

Let parents and caregivers know they may visit any APH neighborhood center or Austin Public Library branch to pick up a deck of bilingual (English/Spanish) cards which they can use to begin conversations with a child about mental health.

Schools are encouraged to use the campaign order form to request a set of 50 decks of conversation cards to distribute to parents and teachers.

Emergency Preparedness

Encourage families and staff to visit the Ready Central Texas website for information about emergency preparedness for families, including family preparedness events, tips for building a family supply kit, and how individuals can sign up for Warn Central Texas emergency alerts.

Other resources to share:


Injury Prevention

Visit APH’s Injury Prevention page to learn more about safe sleep for infants, child passenger safety, bicycle safety, drowning prevention, firearm safety, and more. 

For information about preventing heat-related illness, visit the City of Austin’s Heat Awareness page.


Stay Connected to Austin Public Health

  • Email APHSchoolInfo@austintexas.govto ask questions regarding communicable diseases or other public health topics. (Note: Please do not report disease cases via email.)
  • Call 512-972-5555 to contact the Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit regarding communicable diseases. (Note: Instructions for reporting communicable diseases are in the General Strategies for Preventing Communicable Diseases section.)
  • Want to be added to the APH Schools and/or the Youth & Summer Camp Email List(s)? APH sends occasional emails with public health updates and resources to schools and youth camp programs. Fill out this form to get added to the email list(s).