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School Health & Safety

More than 113,000 children spend time each week in Snohomish County schools, daycares and preschools. It is important to make these schools as safe as possible to keep children healthy and reduce the spread of germs and disease.

School safety inspections

The Snohomish Health District’s School Safety Program inspects every K-12 school in the county, public and private, every two years. Our inspector checks for air quality, lighting levels, and general sanitation in every classroom. Depending on grade level, other inspection areas include

  • Playground safety
  • Science labs
  • Wood shops
  • Art rooms

We have partnered with school districts to remove of bulk mercury from the schools in our county, reduce the carbon dioxide levels in portable classrooms and improve ventilation for lead soldering.

We also investigate complaints of unsanitary or unsafe conditions at public and private schools. To file a complaint, contact the Environmental Health Division at 425.339.5250.

For new and remodeled schools, we conduct inspections before and after construction.

School health and disease prevention

Disease prevention is the key to public health — and to keeping your children healthy and safe in school. From immunizations to keeping kids home on sick days, parents share a responsibility for the health of their children and the community.

How can parents help prevent the spread of disease?

  • Hand washing – Teach your children to wash their hands with soap and water whenever they use the restroom and before eating
  • Sick days – Sick kids at school make other kids sick, so keep your children home when they are sick
  • Communication – Notify the school nurse or official if your child is diagnosed with an illness that requires immediate action, such as meningitis
  • Safe lunches – Make sure the food you prepare at home is safe and does not need refrigeration

Food safety guidelines for room parties

  • Food prepared from a commercial source is subject to state and local inspection and therefore more desirable than food made in private homes or a classroom.
  • Because of the difficulty of providing adequate refrigeration, do not allow any foods containing custard or cream fillings. Commercial fruit pies are fine, but do not allow pumpkin or other custard pies made with eggs.
  • Meat dishes, meat-filled pies, and potato or macaroni salads should be prohibited.
  • Do not allow any home canned products.
  • Fresh fruit can be used if it is washed and cut immediately before it is to be served. All cut melons are considered potentially hazardous and must be kept refrigerated.
  • Never serve unpasteurized milk or juice of any kind, especially apple juice or cider. Commercially canned or bottled, pasteurized juice is preferable to drinks mixed at home.
  • Food served to children should be served with tongs, spatulas, or other utensils. Disposable utensils and cups are preferable. Minimize handling of all paper cups, plates, napkins, and utensils.

Childhood immunizations

To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, a range of vaccines are required for children to attend school in Washington. Most immunizations are administered before children enter kindergarten, but teens and college students can require additional vaccinations. To learn more about the value of vaccination, see our Immunization page. For vaccination schedules by age, visit the CDC or talk to your doctor.

Other ways we keep school children healthy

In addition to school inspections, other ways Snohomish Health District works to keep your children safe include:

  • Inspecting school cafeterias and training food workers through our Food Safety program.
  • Encouraging model practices and policies in day cares and preschools. See our Child Care Providers page.
  • Sending letters when we learn of a contagious disease that may have spread to your child including information about the disease risk, symptoms to watch for, and what to tell your doctor should your child become ill. See our Disease Fact Sheets page.
  • Contacting the parents of potentially affected children directly if an illness requires immediate action, such as meningitis
  • Promoting immunizations through the Vaccines for Children program. We work with 85 local providers to make sure shots are low-cost, safe and available to all Snohomish County kids.


Did you know?

Snohomish County has 15 school districts with a total of 220 public schools.