The purpose of the school health program is to maintain, improve, and promote the health of our student population.
The health office is a space where ill students can rest until they are able to return to class or are placed under their parent's care. It is a site for health screening procedures, a center where health records are located, and an area where nursing procedures are done so that students can participate as fully as possible in the least-restrictive educational setting. Health services staff will provide first aid as needed for injuries. Nurses cannot diagnose specific conditions, but may provide referrals to the student's health care provider.
An appointment can be made with the nurse for health-related questions or concerns.
According to Minnesota law, each student must provide a record of immunizations upon enrollment. Students that do not meet the requirements of the law will not be able to attend school. You may visit the Minnesota Department of Health website for more information on which vaccines are needed by age for children enrolling in childcare, early childhood programs, and schools in Minnesota.
Feel free to contact the building nurse if you have questions about your student's immunization status.
Many parents are unsure about when students should attend school or stay home. Staying home and resting permits the body to combat the illness more quickly. If your child is coming down with a communicable disease, remaining at home may prevent infecting other students. Austin Public Schools give the following guidelines for determining whether a child should attend school or remain at home. It is recommended that children remain at home if they have the following conditions:
- Severe cold, cough or sore throat
- Eye infections, especially if discharge is present
- Skin rashes, especially if draining, unless medical opinion states the rash is not communicable
- Temperature of 100.3 or more with or without symptoms
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain
- Or any other signs of acute illness
The child may return to school when:
- They are free of symptoms (including fever) for 24 hours
- On antibiotics for 24 hours
- Or advised by a physician to do so
Please do not hesitate to contact the nurse in your child's building if you need assistance in deciding whether your child is well enough to be in school.
Medication in School
Austin Public Schools recognizes that some students may need medication during school hours. The school district has implemented policies and procedures to make sure these services are delivered to your children safely.
Prescription medications require an authorization form that is signed by the medical provider and parent. The medications must be brought to school by the parent in the original pharmacy-labeled container.
Over-the-counter medications that do not exceed bottle recommendations may be administered with written parent permission given on the authorization form below. The parent needs to provide a new, unopened bottle, labeled with the student's name.
Please contact the building nurse for ALL medication requests. Do not send any type of medication to school with your child or in their backpack.
Quick Facts About Head Lice
- It's estimated that between 6 million-12 million head lice infestations occur every year in the US in children between the ages of 3-12 years.
- Lice are transmitted via direct, prolonged, and close head-to-head contacts, such as during a sleepover or close cuddling.
- Lice do not jump, fly, run, or hop. They do not have wings.
- Transmission of head lice in the school setting is negligible.
- A child with an active head lice infestation is likely to have had the infestation for at least 4-6 weeks, as it takes time for a person to develop sensitivity to the saliva of the louse that results in the characteristic itchiness.
- Nearly half of the cases that non-medical personnel diagnose as head lice are not lice.
- Lice do not harbor or transmit disease or infection.
- Lice infestation is neither a reportable nor medically urgent situation.
- Children are more frequently infested than adults.
- Caucasians are more frequently infested than other ethnic groups, likely due to differences in the structure of the hair shaft.
- All socioeconomic groups are equally affected.
- The most common effect of lice is itching of the scalp.
- A nit is an egg, and is not contagious.
- Nits are generally unable to survive when further than ¾ inch away from the scalp because they need the body's heat to incubate and hatch.
- After treatment, there may still be "live" lice present; these are not capable of reproducing or "spreading", and will succumb to the treatment.
- Lice do not live on pets.
- Most head lice will die of starvation or desiccation within two days of falling off of their host.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and National Association of School Nurses (NASN) all advise that students should not be excluded from school due to live lice and/or nits.
Quick Facts About Bed Bugs
- Bed bugs seen in schools are generally single "hitchhikers" who travel on possessions from an infested area.
- A single hitchhiking bed bug is highly unlikely to lead to infestation. 50% of the population is male; a single male cannot reproduce. 50% of the population is female; in order to reproduce and lead to infestation, the single female would need to be already pregnant.
- 75-80% of the things sent for identification as a bed bug are NOT bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are a small insect, about the size of an apple seed, and may have different shapes and sizes.
- All socioeconomic groups are affected by bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are nocturnal, mainly feeding at night. They do not like light and hide during the day.
- Bed bugs like to "bump up" against things and hide in tight, dark, undisturbed locations, cracks, and crevasses near our sleeping and resting areas.
- Bed bugs come out to feed when they detect that a person is resting; they return to hiding after feeding.
- Bed bugs tend to live in groups and congregate together.
- Bed bug bites usually occur on skin that is exposed during sleep and can sometimes occur in "lines" on the skin.
- People can have a range of reactions to the bite of a bed bug, from small bumps to large itchy welts; however, not everyone has a reaction.
- Bed bugs do not transmit disease or infection and infestation is not a medical condition.
- Bed bug infestations often start when people unknowingly bring home infested used furniture, mattresses, box springs, bed frames, or appliances.
- When traveling, check for bed bugs in your hotel room. Check the bedding, furniture, behind headboards and wall hangings. Keep suitcases off floors and beds; check items for bed bugs before departing.
- If you think you have come into contact with bed bugs, wash and dry your clothing on the hottest setting the fabric can withstand (or store them in a sealed plastic bag until you're able to do so). Shoes, bags, and other objects can be put in the dryer for 20 minutes at the hottest temperature the object can tolerate.
- Over-the-counter insecticides, pesticides, foggers, homemade products, kerosene, rubbing alcohol, and agricultural insecticides are ineffective against bed bugs and can cause harm and/or be dangerous. Professional treatment is needed to exterminate bed bugs.
Current Steps Taken in Schools
- Building nurse will work with identified families to provide resources and education
- Bins are provided for student to discreetly store their belongings in, and are isolated from locker/classroom area
- Number of items that have to be transported to and from school are reduced
- Lockers, desks, and classroom areas are routinely inspected and treated
RN/Licensed School Nurse
Supervisor of Health Services