Roles and Responsibilities
School nursing is a specialized practice of public health nursing that promotes and protects individual student health, facilitates development, and advances academic success.
Mesquite ISD employs registered nurses to serve as school nurses and substitute school nurses in the clinic. School nurses work with students and their families, school personnel, the community, and health care providers to advocate for student health and a healthy school environment.
Nurses monitor student records for required immunizations, perform mandated health screenings, track communicable diseases, plan for health related emergencies, deliver direct care for students, teach disease prevention and health promotion, and engage students in self-management skills for a healthy life.
The State of Texas regulates student exclusion from school for symptoms, such as fever, as well as specific diseases like strep throat, influenza, and vaccine preventable diseases.
The State defines fever as a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. Students must be fever free for 24 hours without taking fever reducing medication during that 24 hour period in order to return to school. This includes the next full consecutive school day.
Similarly, students with diarrhea must be free of symptoms for 24 hours without taking diarrhea relieving medication during that 24 hour period in order to return to school. This includes the next full consecutive school day.
Students who have been diagnosed by their primary care provider with strep throat may not return to school for 24 hours after prescribed medication is started. These students may not return for any part of the next consecutive day after medication has been started.
If your child is ill and is eligible for exclusion due to fever or other symptoms, please contact your child's campus regarding his/her attendance. You may be asked questions about your child's illness or symptoms to help determine actions to help prevent further infection within the campus community.
Other examples of State requirements for exclusion from and return to school include, but are not limited to:
- The State requires a note from the doctor before a student diagnosed with tuberculosis or bacterial meningitis may return to school.
- Students diagnosed with certain diseases like mumps and rubella must be excluded for a specific number of days. For those with mumps, a student must be out of school for a minimum five days after the onset of swelling. Those diagnosed with measles must be out of school for a minimum of four days after the rash appears.
- The State determines when and how long unimmunized students must be excluded from school in case of an 'outbreak' of a vaccine preventable disease. Exclusion criteria for unimmunized students is 21 days or longer in cases of measles or rubella.
Parents whose children are diagnosed with any communicable disease or other health condition are encouraged to contact the school nurse.
At the beginning of each school year, a few flu cases are reported randomly across the district. Flu is mainly spread by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person may get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
Symptoms of flu usually come on suddenly and include fever with a cough, sore throat, chills, head ache, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms may also include vomiting or diarrhea; these are more common in children.
A fever is considered to be a temperature greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Preventative measures taken on campuses include encouraging students and staff to cover coughs and sneezes, to wash hands with soap and water, to use hand-sanitizer when soap and water are not available, and to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Campuses will also wipe down frequently touched hard surfaces using approved disinfectants.
As flu season nears and campuses experience increased flu numbers, other measures are implemented to separate sick people from well ones. To this end, campuses may restrict lunch time visitors. Students sent home with flu-like symptoms may not return to school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication . This includes the next full consecutive day of school. Examples of fever reducing medication include those containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). Students who return with fever or who do not meet return to school criteria are sent home.
Parents can help by keeping students with flu or flu-like illness home from school until they are free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. This 24 hour period of time includes the next consecutive school day. Parents are encouraged to keep in close contact with their child's campus attendance clerk whenever students are kept at home.
When someone in your home is sick with flu or fever, it is important to prevent dehydration. Encourage them to drink non-caffeinated clear liquids, or to eat ice chips or frozen ice pops.
There are emergency warning signs related to flu that indicate the need for urgent medical care. In children, these include:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Irritability-not wanting to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve then return with fever and worsening cough
- Fever with a rash
In addition to those warning signs, get medical help right away for infants who are unable to eat, who have no tears when crying, and who have a lot fewer wet diapers than normal.
In adults emergency warning signs indicating the need for urgent medical attention include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms improve then return with fever and worsening cough
- Parent Notification of SB66 Regarding Epipens
- Guarding Against Influenza
- Mosquito Borne Illness Prevention
In accordance with Chapter 38 Sub-chapter E of the Texas Education Code, Mesquite ISD has a policy in place allowing authorized, trained personnel to administer an epinephrine auto-injector to a person on campus who is reasonably believed to be experiencing a life threatening anaphylactic reaction.
All campuses have an emergency supply of epinephrine that may be administered in the event of an unexpected, undiagnosed life threatening (anaphylactic) allergic reaction.
All high school athletic trainers have an emergency supply of epinephrine that they may administer in the event of an unexpected, undiagnosed anaphylactic event occurring during an athletic event attended by the athletic trainer.
This program is not intended to replace student specific orders or medication. Parents of students with known life-threatening anaphylaxis are expected to provide the school with all necessary emergency medications and physician orders or emergency action plans at the beginning of each school year.
It's never too early or too late in the school year to think about flu prevention. Everyone can help reduce the impact of the cold and flu season in our community by following these simple tips:
- Get a flu shot! It is never too late to get a flu shot, but it is best to get one as soon as possible after the vaccine comes out each year.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or more. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand rub/gel.
- Cough and/or sneeze into a tissue or your upper sleeve, not into your hand.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Stay home for any fever of 100°F or more and once fever goes away (without use of fever reducing medication), stay home for 24 hours.
Visit the Department of State Health Services Flu site at the Texas Flu Information Page. Flu information for parents is also available through the Department of State Health Services. Families looking for flu vaccine providers may check the Texas Flu Vaccine locator at Texas Flu Vaccine Clinic Finder.
West Nile, Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya are viruses spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Use the 4Ds to help reduce the chance of being bitten by a mosquito.
DEET All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA approved repellents and follow instructions.
DRESS: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing outside.
DRAIN: Remove all standing water in and around your home.
DUSK & DAWN: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.
Visit the EPA website Finding the Right Insect Repellent to determine the right choice for you and your family.
To best protect your child from insect bites, please apply insect repellent products before your child leaves for school, especially if your child walks or waits for a bus.
Information about state immunization requirements is available on the MISD website at Immunization Requirements.
Immunization information for students enrolling in higher education facilities including dual credit, college, or technical schools is available through Vaccine Requirements for Students Preparing to Enter College.