Communication toolkit on gastrointestinal diseases: How to support infection prevention in schools

communication toolkit

This toolkit aims to support infection prevention in schools, with a focus on gastrointestinal diseases, by assisting EU/EEA countries in their communication initiatives for disease prevention in school settings. It encourages the school community to take a series of preventive measures in order to avoid the spread of gastrointestinal infections and outbreaks. It provides practical information and easily adaptable template materials that communicators in Member States' health authorities, working together with school authorities, can use and adapt for developing their own communication initiatives, in line with national, regional or local strategies and needs. This toolkit is a prototype to be used in pilot interventions, and the draft communication toolkit will reviewed and updated based on piloting results.

Who do you want to address?


  • Public Health authorities at national, regional and/or local level.
  • Educational authorities at national, regional and/or local level.
  • The school community includes not only pupils, teachers, but also the school authorities, cleaning and canteen staff, school nurses, parents and care givers as well as local organisations involved in after-school activities. A ‘whole school’ approach acknowledges that the whole school community is involved in the practice of health promotion and therefore health is built into all aspects of life at school for those who learn and work there.

What type of materials do you want to develop?

The toolkit materials include an implementation handbook, as well as a set of communication materials in order to help making specific communication activities for gastrointestinal disease prevention easier, more effective and affordable.

How to adapt the materials?

Our materials can be adapted according to your language, cultural specificities and campaign focus. The files are provided in:

  • PDF flattened format and JPEG for easy reproduction: this format can be used  to view the material and for printing purposes;
  • Adobe InDesign and Illustrator formats for professional use: this format can be used to modify the layout and/or the text;
  • Word files and PowerPoint presentations: this format can be used to facilitate translation in your language.

The toolkit is currently being piloted in three EU/EEA countries in order to assess its usability, adaptability and completeness. The results of this piloting will inform any needed revisions of the tools and content provided.

For further information and to send us feedback on the communication toolkit for prevention of gastrointestinal diseases, please contact

Implementation handbook

The implementation handbook is one of the components of the ECDC communication toolkit to support infection prevention in schools, with a focus on gastrointestinal diseases. It supports the practical implementation of international guideline recommendations on prevention of gastrointestinal disease outbreaks in school settings, synthesised in the ECDC technical report on Prevention of norovirus infection in schools and childcare facilities.


When encouraging actions for prevention and control of infectious diseases in school settings, it is useful to follow a strategic process as outlined below. The implementation handbook builds on these steps and gives some practical examples to aid in effective implementation of actions.


1. Engage the various stakeholders with a whole school approach, taking into account considerations when addressing schools communities as described in the implementation handbook. With management leadership establish a project team.


2. Assess and define objectives. Gather information on the current situation in the school community in regard to practices and factors that may be affecting compliance (for example, with existing hygiene regulations), as well as perceptions and behaviours of the school community related to gastrointestinal disease prevention. Define the objectives of the programme based on the insights gathered through the collection of information and analysis of the situation.


3. Develop an action plan. Building on your assessment, agree on an action plan with the whole school community. Identify target groups, i.e. the specific groups to be addressed and engaged in specified activities. Outline measures that need to be implemented to enhance the capacities of the school community to prevent gastrointestinal infections and to respond to outbreaks. Set priorities and agree on a timeframe, discussing responsibilities, resources and specific tasks, ensuring ongoing consultation and feedback in the process.


4. Take action. Implement the activities for enhancing capacities of the school community to prevent and control infectious diseases. Raise awareness, motivate and support needed behavioural changes. Disseminate information, develop communication activities with messages tailored to different audiences and select the most appropriate channels to reach them.


5. Evaluate. Monitor the implementation process and after the programme measures have been completed evaluate the results. What changes in current behaviours and practices were made? Which specific communication activities were particularly successful? What improvements are needed in the future?


Disclaimer and copyright notice:

This toolkit and the prototype products are provided for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as official advice from ECDC. This material has been created under a contract. ECDC is the copyright owner of the material created under contract, unless otherwise specifically indicated. In accordance with the copyright policy of the Centre, free use of the material for non-commercial purposes, is allowed without need of prior authorization and as long as ECDC logo or reference is included. Please be aware that certain parts of the material are licensed under conditions to the ECDC and, therefore, the licensed material shall not be used outside the specific purpose of the campaign. If a private entity is involved in any way in organizing, sponsoring or supporting by any other means the campaign, please be aware that use of the material is allowed as long as the purpose of the event is non-commercial.

Related publications

Toolkit material


​Key messages (for various audiences and for children)

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toolkit material, key messages -


Presentation for school and health authorities

presentation, toolkit material -


Presentation for parents and teachers​

presentation, toolkit material -


Poster for parents and teachers​

poster, toolkit material


Poster for children

poster, toolkit material



image, toolkit material -


Logo (communication toolkit for gastrointestinal diseases prevention)

toolkit material


List of key preventive measures​

toolkit material, protective measures -