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Student Health Related Matters

Student Health Related Matters

Student Illness (All Grade Levels)

When your child is ill, please contact the school to let us know he or she won’t be attending that day.  It is important to remember that schools are required to exclude students with certain illnesses from school for periods of time as identified in state rules.  For example, if your child has a fever over 100 degrees, he or she must stay out of school until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.  In addition, students with diarrheal illnesses must stay home until they are diarrhea free without diarrhea-suppressing medications for at least 24 hours.  A full list of conditions for which the school must exclude children can be obtained from the school nurse.

If a student becomes ill during the school day, he or she must receive permission from the teacher before reporting to the school nurse.  If the nurse determines that the child should go home, the nurse will contact the parent.

The district is also required to report certain contagious (communicable) diseases or illnesses to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) or our local/regional health authority.  The school nurse can provide information from TDSHS on these notifiable conditions.

Contact the school nurse if you have questions or if you are concerned about whether or not your child should stay home.

Bacterial Meningitis (All Grade Levels)

State law requires the district to provide information about bacterial meningitis:

What Is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.  It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria.  Viral meningitis is common and most people recover fully.  Parasitic and fungal meningitis are very rare.  Bacterial meningitis is very serious and may involve complicated medical, surgical, pharmaceutical, and life support management.

 What are the symptoms?

Someone with meningitis will become very ill.  The illness may develop over one or two days, but it can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours.  Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms.

Children (over 2 years old) and adults with bacterial meningitis commonly have a severe headache, high fever, and neck stiffness.  Other symptoms might include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness.  In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots.  These can occur anywhere on the body.

The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is based on a combination of symptoms and laboratory results.

 How serious is bacterial meningitis?

If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, the majority of people make a complete recovery.  In some cases it can be fatal or a person may be left with a permanent disability

How is bacterial meningitis spread?

Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.  They are spread when people exchange respiratory or throat secretions (such as by kissing, coughing, or sneezing).

The germ does not cause meningitis in most people.  Instead, most people become carriers of the germ for days, weeks, or even months.  The bacteria rarely overcome the body’s immune system and cause meningitis or another serious illness.

  How can bacterial meningitis be prevented?

Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest, can help prevent infection.  Using good health practices such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and washing your hands frequently with soap and water can also help stop the spread of the bacteria.  It’s a good idea not to share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes.  Limit the number of persons you kiss.

There are vaccines available to offer protection from some of the bacteria that can cause bacterial meningitis.*  The vaccines are safe and effective (85–90 percent).  They can cause mild side effects, such as redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days.  Immunity develops within seven to ten days after the vaccine is given and lasts for up to five years.

What should you do if you think you or a friend might have bacterial meningitis?

You should seek prompt medical attention.

Where can you get more information?

Your school nurse, family doctor, and the staff at your local or regional health department office are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases.  You may also call your local health department or Regional Department of State Health Services office to ask about a meningococcal vaccine.  Additional information may also be found at the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,, and the Department of State Health Services,

* Please note that the TDSHS requires at least one meningococcal vaccination for a student ages 11 to 12 or for a student enrolling in grades 7–12, and state guidelines recommend this vaccination be administered between ages 11 and 12, with a booster dose at 16 years of age.  Also note that entering college students must show, with limited exception, evidence of receiving a bacterial meningitis vaccination within the five-year period prior to enrolling in and taking courses at an institution of higher education.  Please see the school nurse for more information, as this may affect a student who wishes to enroll in a dual credit course taken off campus.



The district requests to be notified when a student has been diagnosed with a food allergy, especially those allergies that could result in dangerous or possibly life-threatening reactions either by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact with the particular food.  It is important to disclose the food to which the student is allergic, as well as the nature of the allergic reaction.  Please contact the school nurse or campus principal if your child has a known food allergy or as soon as possible after any diagnosis of a food allergy.

The district has developed and annually reviews a food allergy management plan, which addresses employee training, dealing with common food allergens, and specific strategies for dealing with students diagnosed with severe food allergies.  When the district receives information that a student has a food allergy that puts the student at risk for anaphylaxis, individual care plans will be developed to assist the student in safely accessing the school environment.  The district’s food allergy management plan can be accessed at

[Also see policy FFAF and Celebrations on page 22.]


Head lice, although not an illness or a disease, is very common among children and is spread very easily through head-to-head contact during play, sports, or nap time and when children share things like brushes, combs, hats, and headphones.  If careful observation indicates that a student has head lice, the school nurse will contact the student’s parent to determine whether the child will need to be picked up from school and to discuss a plan for treatment with an FDA-approved medicated shampoo or cream rinse that may be purchased from any drug or grocery store.  After the student has undergone one treatment, the parent should check in with the school nurse to discuss the treatment used.  The nurse can also offer additional recommendations, including subsequent treatments and how best to get rid of lice and prevent their return.

More information on head lice can be obtained from the TDSHS website at

School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) (All Grade Levels)

During the preceding school year, the district’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) held four meetings.  Additional information regarding the district’s SHAC is available from the nurse.

The duties of the SHAC range from recommending curriculum to developing strategies for integrating curriculum into a coordinated school health program encompassing issues such as school health services, counseling services, a safe and healthy school environment, recess recommendations, improving student fitness, mental health concerns, and employee wellness.

[See policies at BDF and EHAA.  See Human Sexuality Instruction on page 6 for additional information.]