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Kelli Fontana

Kelli Fontana
Cooridnator of Health Services


Emergency Procedure Cards
This is the most important record you will be asked to complete. It is the link between home, parents and school. The school makes no provisions to take student's home or care for them in the health office all day. School personnel will not transport children home. It is very important that you help us by planning for as many eventualities as possible and by providing a way to contact you or the persons you designate to assume responsibility for your child.

Please fill in all blanks requested on the card and discuss with your friends and relatives the fact you have listed their numbers and that they may be called. All information listed as confidential will be protected. Don't forget to notify the school health office if telephone numbers or other information on the card changes during the year.

Illness at School
Students will be sent home under the following circumstances:
1. Suspected contagious disease.
2. Fever of 100 degrees or greater.
3. Persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea.
4. If the student has been injured to the extent that he needs the attention of a physician.

You can help us prevent the spread of contagious diseases by making sure your child is not ill in the morning before he or she comes to school. Fever and a lack of appetite are two good indications that a student may not be feeling well. Fever should be checked with a thermometer. If it registers 100 degrees or more, the student should be kept at home until he or she has been free of fever for 24 hours.

All students should eat breakfast to avoid the "mid-morning slump" and the hunger pains some mistake for a stomach ache as well as for future well being. Once the breakfast habit is established, lack of appetite in the morning probably indicates an illness.

State law requires us to adhere to very strict guidelines when giving medications at school.

First, we cannot give any medications without written permission of parents. (The form to be filled out is in the student handbook, online below, and can also be obtained from the health office at your school.)

Second, prescription medication cannot be given unless it is in the original container with the prescription number, the name of the physician, name of student and directions for giving it.

Third, over the counter medication will be given for specific reasons and for up to ten school days, provided it is in the original container and has an age appropriate dose on its label. If the medication needs to be given for longer than ten days, there must be an order from a physician.

No student will carry medication on his or her person (only exception is asthma inhalers for secondary school age children unless the school nurse has given consent; for more information discuss this with your school nurse). Medications must be brought to school and picked up by parent/guardian. All medication will be dispensed from the health office. Medications must be picked up by parent/guardian within two weeks of being discontinued. Parents will need to pick-up medication left at the end of the school year, prior to the last school day. Medication will not be sent home with students. All medication not picked up will be destroyed.

Bacterial Meningitis
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord--also called the meninges. It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral (aseptic) meningitis is common; most people recover fully. Medical management of viral meningitis consists of supportive treatment and there is usually no indication for the use of antibiotics. Parasitic and fungal meningitis are very rare. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and may involve complicated medical, surgical, pharmaceutical, and life support management.

There are two common types of bacteria that cause meningitis:

Strep pneumoniae causes pneumococcal meningitis; there are over 80 subtypes that cause illness.
Neisseria meningitidis - meningococcal meningitis; there are 5 subtypes that cause serious illness--A, B, C, Y, W-135

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 1 year old) and adults with meningitis may have:

  • Severe headache
  • High temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Neck stiffness, joint pains
  • Drowsiness or confusion

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, such as deafness, blindness, amputations or brain damage (resulting in mental retardation or paralysis) even with prompt treatment.

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. The germs live naturally in the back of our noses and throats, but they do not live for long outside the body. They are spread when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing; sharing drinking containers, utensils, or cigarettes).

The germ does not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the germ for days, weeks or even months. Being a carrier helps to stimulate your body's natural defense system. The bacteria rarely overcomes the body's immune system and causes meningitis or another serious illness.

What is the risk of getting bacterial meningitis?
The risk of getting bacterial meningitis in all age groups is about 2.4 cases per 100,000 population per year. However, the highest risk group for the most serious form of the disease, meningococcal meningitis, is highest among children 2 to 18 years old.

How is bacterial meningitis diagnosed?
The diagnosis is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood. Spinal fluid is obtained by a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).

How can bacterial meningitis be prevented?
Do not share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. Limit the number of persons you kiss. Vaccines against pneumococcal disease are recommended both for young children and adults over 64. A vaccine against four meningococcal serogroups (A, C, Y, W-135) is available. These four groups cause the majority of meningococcal cases in the United States. This vaccine is recommended by some groups for college students, particularly freshmen living in dorms or residence halls. The vaccine is safe and effective (85-90%). It can cause mild side effects, such as redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days. Immunity develops within 7 to 10 days after the vaccine is given and lasts for up to 5 years.

What you should do if you think you or a friend might have bacterial meningitis?
Seek prompt medical attention.

For 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 Texas Department of Health office to ask about meningococcal vaccine. Additional information may also be found at the web sites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: and the Texas Department of Health:

Immunization Requirements
The close of the 80th Legislative Session resulted in the passage of House Bill (HB) 1059, which requires DSHS to create a list of the required immunizations for school attendance and a list of the recommended vaccinations. The required immunization list, although already in existence as the Minimum Immunization Requirements, has been updated. DSHS follows the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended immunizations, thus this schedule will serve as the department’s recommended list of vaccinations.

HB 1059, also known as the Emily Lastinger Act, requires school districts that maintain a website to post the list of immunization requirements and recommendations in English and Spanish. Please visit the Immunizations Requirements web page at: (English and Spanish translations available at this website.)

Head Lice: Prevention and Treatment

The head louse is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head, eyebrows, or eyelashes of people. Although not known to spread disease, treatment is recommended for persons diagnosed with an active infestation. Click on the following links to learn more about the prevention and treatment of head lice.

Health Resources