School Health & Safety

More than 175,000 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 County Health Department’s School Health and Safety Program inspects every Kindergarten to 12th grade school in the county, public and private, every two years. Our inspectors check for air quality, lighting levels, and general safety in every classroom. Depending on grade level, other inspection areas include

  • Art Rooms
  • Playgrounds
  • Science Labs
  • Wood Shops
  • Metal Shops
  • Maker Spaces
  • Athletic Areas
  • Custodial Areas

We have partnered with school districts to improve building maintenance, reduce asthma triggers, clean up science laboratories and improve ventilation in classrooms.


We also investigate complaints of unsanitary or unsafe conditions at public and private schools.

Plan Review

All new and remodeled schools must go through plan review as required by WAC 246-366-040. For new schools, site approval must be given by Snohomish County Health Department (WAC 246-366-030). 

The steps for a new school are as follows:

  • SITE APPROVAL Fill out the School Site Approval Application. After submitting, an invoice will be sent to the contact person on the application. Once the fee is received an EHS will review the site application to determine if the site selected meets the requirements in WAC 246-366-030. An approval or disapproval letter will be sent within 2 weeks of submittal.  
  • PLAN APPROVAL Fill out the School Plan Review Application/Checklist and submit to After submitting, an invoice will be sent to the contact person on the application. An approval or disapproval letter will be sent within 2 weeks of submittal.  
  • PRE-OCCUPANCY INSPECTION Before students occupy, email  to schedule a pre-occupancy inspection. A report will be emailed following the inspection.
  • ROUTINE INSPECTIONS Every 2 years a EHS will schedule and visit the school to conduct a routine Health and Safety inspection. 

School health & 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

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 importance of vaccination and to find immunization schedules for people of all ages, see our Immunization page.

Other ways we keep school children healthy

In addition to school inspections, other ways Snohomish County Health Department 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 daycares 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 Child Vaccine Program. We work with 85 local providers to make sure shots are low-cost, safe and available to all Snohomish County kids.