School policies for students with conjunctivitis lack consistency
State policies regarding school-aged students with conjunctivitis vary greatly and are often not thoroughly presented, according to a study. Of the 50 states, 15 did not have any policies in place.
Researchers noted that 10 states allow students to remain in school when they have conjunctivitis, 5 states allow students to return to school 24 hours after the initiation of antibiotic treatment, and 5 states require physician approval. Several states offered little detail in their policies in addition to inconsistent recommendations. Although nearly half of states refer to medical sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, no policy references the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Overall, the researchers determined just 12 states presented policies thoroughly.
“State policies on conjunctivitis in students vary widely. Antibiotic use as a prerequisite for return to school has drawbacks of cost to parents, increasing antibiotic resistance, and lack of efficacy against nonbacterial etiologies, for example, viral conjunctivitis,” the researchers concluded. “Publicly available information and guidelines could be improved, aiming for fewer absentee days, reduced outbreak risk, and reduced risk of antibiotic resistance.”
Lee T, Kuo IC. Survey of state conjunctivitis policies for school-aged students. J AAPOS. 2022 Apr 1:S1091-8531(22)00062-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2022.02.002. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35378302.