Health Concerns Chronic Conditions

Health Conditions and Concerns

Can the school administer medication for my child?

Whenever possible, medication should be scheduled to be given at home. However, there are times when a student’s health condition requires medication be given during the school day. When sending any medication to school, parents must provide the following:

  • Parent permission for the medication to be administered at school.
  • A written order by a physician or licensed medication prescriber indicating the necessity of the medication. This order must include dose and frequency. The physician may fax the order to the school.
  • The medication in the original prescription or over-the-counter labeled container. For prescription medication, ask the pharmacist for a duplicate labeled container so one can be kept at home and one can be kept at school.

All medication administered in school must be kept in the Health Office. Exceptions are students who may carry an asthma inhaler or emergency epinephrine, if they have a written physician’s order, written parent permission and have demonstrated to the school nurse that they are competent in administration. Middle and high school students may carry acetaminophen or ibuprofen if there is an annual written parent permission form on file in the Health Office.

Please refer to district policy #516 Student Medication or contact the licensed school nurse in your building.

Required forms:

Chronic and Potentially Life-Threatening Conditions

It is important that when a student has a chronic or potentially life threatening condition (such as asthma, severe allergies, diabetes or seizures), that the parents, student and the school nurse collaborate to create a plan to meet the student’s specific health needs. This health information will be shared with appropriate school personnel, as needed, with due respect to confidentiality. Emergency Care Plan forms need to be completed and signed by your physician. We have provided some suggested forms below if your physician or clinic does not have a standard formatted care plan. Contact the licensed school nurse in your student’s building to discuss other conditions not listed.

When should I keep my child home from school?

Parents and students frequently have questions about when it is appropriate to stay home from school because of illness. Please follow these guidelines:

  • If your child has had a temperature of 100.0 degrees or higher in the past 24 hours.
  • If your child has vomited or had diarrhea within the past 24 hours.
  • If a student is placed on antibiotics, he or she should stay at home until 24 hours after taking the first dose.
  • If having your child at school would significantly put others at risk for contracting your child’s illness.
  • If you child feels ill enough that he/she would not be able to benefit from being at school.

If your student will not be attending school due to illness, please contact the attendance or health office in your child's school as soon as you make the decision to keep them home. If your child has strep throat, chicken pox, head lice, pink eye, or any other communicable concern, please notify your school health office.

What if my child becomes ill at school?

If your child becomes ill while at school, you will be notified to pick up your child as quickly as possible. We appreciate your cooperation with these matters, as everyone's health is very important and your child will appreciate your loving presence and care.

The emergency contact(s) will be contacted if we feel your child needs to go home and we are unable to reach a parent/guardian.

Your child will NOT be allowed to leave school without consent from the parent/guardian or emergency contact person given directly to Health Office staff. Your child will not be released to any adult other than those on file as a parent, guardian or emergency contact, without parental consent.

Please update your school office if there are any changes to your emergency contact information.

Common Health Concerns and Recommendations



Slight fever, general feeling of illness, skin rash that begins on chest, back, underarm, neck and face. Starts out as red bumps that turn into small blisters. Scabs appear in a few days.

Incubation Period: 10 to 21 days, usually 14 to 16 days

School Actions on Communicability:

Contagious a few days before eruption and until vesicles are dry. Exclude until day 6 after rash began or sooner if all blisters have dried into scabs.

Source of Infection and Mode of Transmission

Spread from person to person by direct contact with touching the blister fluid or secretions from the nose or mouth of a person with chicken pox. One attack usually confers immunity. Children on immunosuppressive drugs are at high risk. If you take your child to the doctor, they will want to keep your child separate from other children to prevent further spread.

Common Cold


Acute upper respiratory signs, including watery eyes, sneezing, running nose, general feeling of illness.

Incubation Period: Up to 10 days

School Action and Communicability

No restriction unless ill. Communicable shortly before symptoms begin and for the duration of the acute symptoms.

Mode of Transmission

Spread person to person by direct contact with secretions from the nose and mouth. Also from hands, tissues or other items that may have secretions on them.

Fifth Disease


Rash, sometimes fever or sore throat, redness on checks. Rash could come and go for days or weeks.

Incubation Period: 4 to 21 days, usually 4 to 14 days

School Actions and Communicability

Exclude until diagnosed by M.D. If other rash-causing illnesses are ruled out, student can be in school.

Mode of Transmission

Most contagious before rash appears. Pregnant women and anyone with an impaired immune system may want to consult their doctor if exposed.



Chills, body ache, headache, fever sore throat, followed by cough, running nose, and possibly stomach ache.

Incubation Period: Up to 10 days

School Actions and Communicability

Exclude from school until well, usually 2-7 days. Should be without fever for 24 hours.

Mode of Transmission

Virus spread directly through coughing, sneezing, and contact with nose or throat discharges of patient. Possibly airborne.



Blisters, pustules rapidly covered with honey-colored crusts. May be confused with cold sores. Usually seen first near mouth or nose. Can spread rapidly.

Incubation Period: 1 to 10 days, occasionally longer.

School Action and Communicability

Exclude from school until verification of treatment, or until lesions are dry. Contagious until lesions are healed or 24 hours after initiation of oral antibiotics.

Mode of Transmission

Bacteria spread by direct contact with sores, sometimes with contact from discharges from nose or throat of person can be spread through droplets in coughing or sneezing. Usually caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria.


Symptoms: Fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands (neck), headache, tiredness. Can be a rash.

Incubation Period: Probably 4 to 6 weeks.

School Action and Communicability: No restriction unless ill. Period of communicability unknown.

Mode of Transmission: Spread person to person through saliva.

Lice (Pediculosis)


Infestation of the head hair or other hairy parts of the body with lice or nits. Scratching causes reddened, rash-like area. Nits are tiny gray/white eggs, stuck to hair, usually close to scalp at neckline and/or behind ears.

Incubation Period: Variable; eggs hatch in 7-10 days.

School Action and Communicability

Exclude until lice and nits are adequately treated or removed. Advise exam of household contact for nits and lice. When appropriate, schools may exclude until all nits are removed. For more information go to the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Mode of Transmission

Louse transmitted primarily by direct contact with infested persons. Lice can also be transmitted through combs, brushes, bedding, wearing apparel, and upholstered furniture.

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Helpful Links

  • Health Forms


Redness of conjunctiva. May or may not have purulent discharge. Eye irritation.

Incubation Period: 24 to 72 hours

School Action and Communicability

Pink eye without purulent discharge - no exclusion necessary. Pink eye with purulent discharge (pus) - excluded 24 hours after antibiotic treatment begins.

Mode of Transmission

Most are caused by virus; some bacterial. Redness of eye may also be results of allergic reaction. May be spread through contact with secretions from eyes, nose or mouth.

Strep Throat Scarlet Fever


Fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting. (If associated with rash, it is called Scarlet Fever.)

Incubation Period: 2 to 5 days

School Action and Communicability

Contagious until 12 hours after antibiotic treatment begins. Exclude for first 12 hours of treatment and until feeling well enough to be in school.

Mode of Transmission

Bacteria spread directly from nose and throat discharges of infected persons.

Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex)


Blister-like sores, usually on lips but may occur anywhere on skin or in mucous membranes. May be confused with Impetigo.

Incubation Period: 2-14 days

School Action and Communicability: No restriction Contagious period is unknown. Virus may be present for 5 to 7 days or in some cases for months.

Mode of Transmission: Virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected persons, a majority of whom have unapparent infections