There are many infectious diseases that affect children and young people including:
- chicken pox (pdf)
- rubella (german measles)
- whooping cough (pertussis)
Primary school students who do not have proof of immunisation may have to stay at home during an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease at school. Particular arrangements will be worked out by the local public health unit in consultation with the school.
Schools and parents should contact their local public health unit for advice regarding infectious diseases.
Administering prescribed medication at school
When a medical practitioner has prescribed medication that must be administered during the school day, parents are responsible for:
- bringing this need to the attention of the school
- ensuring that the information is updated if it changes
- supplying the medication and any ‘consumables’ necessary for its administration in a timely way
The administration of such medication forms part the Department’s common law duty of care to take reasonable steps to keep students safe while they attend school. This duty of care is fulfilled through its staff members.
Key points to remember:
- Parents of children who require prescribed medication to be administered at school must complete a Medication Form which is provided by the school. If parents have difficulty in completing the form they should ask the principal for assistance.
- Students must not carry medications unless there is a written agreement between the school and the student’s parents that this is a planned part of the student’s health care support.
Please note: Students’ immediate access to prescribed medication is very important for the effective management of conditions such as asthma. Students and parents need to be advised of this requirement so that students are not left without access to critical medication.
Up to date information on head lice is important as there are many misunderstandings about ‘head lice’ and how to treat them effectively.
NSW Health has recently conducted a research project in NSW to find out more about head lice and effective ways of treating infestations.
As a result, advice from NSW Health to parents and school staff has changed significantly.
This Department has worked collaboratively with the Federation of Parents and Citizens in support of this research project.
Results of research show that:
Head lice infestations are a common occurrence, particularly in primary schools.
- about 23% of primary students have head lice at any one time
- anyone can catch head lice regardless of their age, sex, or how clean their hair is
- head lice move from one person’s head to another via hair
- head lice do not survive long when they are off a human head
- head lice do not live on furniture, hats, bedding or carpet
- head lice have built up some resistance to head lice treatments
- daily combing of white hair conditioner using a fine tooth comb is effective in getting rid of head lice and eggs (nits)
- school communities may need to hold ‘check and treat’ or Nitbuster days where everyone learns about and starts treatment on the same day.
Information on effective treatment is essential to break the cycle of head lice infestation.
They will also encourage students to avoid head to head contact in group activities as far as possible.
In rare cases where students are experiencing a chronic head lice infestation the school, parents and the local community may need to work together to treat the infestation. Nitbusters has been found to be an effective whole school approach.
Tips for parents in reducing the spread of head lice:
- regularly check your children’s hair
- teach older children to check their own hair
- tie back and braid long hair
- keep a fine tooth head lice comb in the bathroom and encourage all family members to use it when they wash their hair.