Harmony Public Schools Health Services
Welcome to the Harmony Public Schools Health Services, where we strive to create healthy students and healthy futures!
Harmony Public Schools employ registered or certified Medical Assistants or Licensed Vocational Nurses at our campuses. These staff are trained and guided by the Harmony Director of Student Health, a Bachelor’s prepared Registered Nurse (BSN). Staff are responsible for maintaining safe and healthy schools through vaccine compliance, non-invasive screenings for vision, hearing, Acanthosis Nigiricans, and Scoliosis as well as caring for the daily needs of students including care of minor injuries and ailments, doctor-ordered medication administration and treatments, and emergency care if the need should arise. Our Health Staff also work hard to prevent the spread of contagious diseases and provide quality, science-based health care and education to students, staff, and the community.
When to Keep Your Child Home:
Please keep your child home for the following situations. If your student comes to school with the following, the health staff will contact you for immediate pick up of your student. If you are unsure, have the health staff check your child before you leave the campus.
- Fever over 100.0
- Student must remain home for 24 hours after fever has returned to normal. Fever is not considered having returned to normal if the student is taking a fever-reducing medication to keep it within the normal range.
- Persistent Diarrhea, diarrhea with a fever, or diarrhea that contains blood.
- Student must remain home until the student is able to functionally hold bowel movements for school attendance. Students with a fever should stay home for 24 hours after fever has returned to normal. Fever is not considered having returned to normal if the student is taking a fever-reducing medication to keep it within the normal range.Repeated Vomiting or vomiting with a fever
- MD Diagnosis of contagious illness (strep throat, pink eye, etc).
- Student should return after 24 hours of treatment with prescribed medication.
- Contagious, vaccine preventable illness (chicken pox, measles, mumps, etc).
- Proof of medical doctor visit and diagnosis along with exclusion recommendation is required for student to return.
- Ringworm on exposed area of skin
- Student must stay home until medication effectively clears lesion. If the area is not exposed the student may be in school.
- Lice – live louse or nits (dead or alive)
- Students who are dismissed for lice are required to visit the Health Staff with their parent for a lice check before being allowed to return to campus. Students with live louse or nits (dead or alive) must be nit free to return.
- Students must stay home until cleared to return by medical doctor. For many students this is 24 hours after starting the prescribed treatment.
Children with these signs or symptoms will be dismissed from the campus and must either stay home symptoms have subsided or see a medical provider as directed by the campus Health Staff. Students who are sent home to rule out an illnesses require proof of medical doctor visit to return. Please be sure to return the medical referral directly to the Health Staff upon your student’s return.
More information on the Harmony Public Schools communicable illness and student medical dismissal policy can be found in the student handbook.
Harmony Public Schools are nit-free campuses. Students with live louse or live or dead nits will not be allowed to attend school, or will be dismissed home if nits are discovered. Medicated treatments such as Nix, or lice-specific nit combs such as Nit Free combs, are best for treatment and quick return to school. Before your student can be returned to campus, they must have a head check by the school health staff and the parent must sign off on the lice letter.
If your elementary student’s classroom has had an incident of lice, nits or live louse, you will be notified by letter. For students in upper grades you may be contacted only if issues are noted in the classroom with other students or for your student specifically.
More information on the Harmony Public Schools lice policy can be found in the student handbook.
State law requires all students attending schools or day care facilities to have completed vaccination records on file with the school. At Harmony Public Schools you have 30 calendar days from acceptance of your student’s seat to provide complete documentation of required vaccinations. After this date your student cannot be on campus until vaccination records have been updated. If you are unsure if your child’s records are up to date, please speak to your campus health staff to have them verify your records. State requirements are very specific regarding the timing of vaccinations, including age and grade levels. Links to requirements can be found below.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral meningitis is most common and the least serious. Meningitis caused by bacteria is the most likely form of the disease to cause serious, long-term complications. It is an uncommon disease but requires urgent treatment with antibiotics to prevent permanent damage or death.
Bacterial meningitis can be caused by multiple organisms.Two common types are Streptococcus pneumoniae, with over 80 serogroups that can cause illness, and Neisseria meningitidis, with 5 serogroups that most commonly cause meningitis.
Someone with bacterial 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 a severe headache, high temperature, vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights, neck stiffness, and drowsiness or confusion. In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots. These can occur anywhere on the body.
The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is based on a combination of symptoms and laboratory results.
If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, most people make a complete recovery. If left untreated or treatment is delayed, bacterial meningitis can be fatal, or a person may be left with permanent disability.
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 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) or when people cough or sneeze without covering their mouth and nose.
The bacteria do not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the bacteria for days, weeks or even months. The bacteria rarely overcome the body’s immune system and cause meningitis or another serious illness.
Vaccination can prevent Bacterial Meningitis!
Bacterial meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis may be prevented through vaccination. The vaccine which protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae is called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or PCV. This vaccine is recommended by the Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for children in the first year of life. Neisseria meningitidis is prevented through two types of vaccines. The first is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine which protects against 4 serogroups A, C, W, and Y and is referred to as MCV4. The second is a vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B and is referred to as MenB.
The ACIP recommends MCV4 for children at age 11-12 years, with a booster dose at 16-18 years. In Texas, one dose of MCV4 given at or after age 11 years is required for children in 7th-12th grades. One dose of MCV4 received in the previous five years is required in Texas for those under the age of 22 years and enrolling in college. Teens and young adults (16-23 years of age) may be vaccinated with MenB. This vaccine is not required for school or college enrollment in Texas.
Vaccines to protect against bacterial meningitis are safe and effective. Common side effects include redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days. Immunity develops about 1-2 weeks after the vaccines are given and lasts for 5 years to life depending on the vaccine.
Healthy habits can help reduce the risk of exposure!
Do not share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. Wash your hands. Limit the number of persons you kiss. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest and not having close contact with people who are sick, also helps.
Certain groups are at increased risk for bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. These risk factors include HIV infection, travel to places where meningococcal disease is common (such as certain countries in Africa and in Saudi Arabia), and college students living in a dormitory. Other risk factors include having a previous viral infection, living in a crowded household, or having an underlying chronic illness.
Children ages 11-15 years have the second highest rate of death from bacterial meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis. And children ages 16-23 years also have the second highest rates of disease caused by Neisseria meningiditis.
If you think you or a loved one might have bacterial meningitis seek prompt medical attention.
If you choose to not vaccinate your child, you must provide the hard copy of the Texas state affidavit. This affidavit must have all desired exempted vaccines marked on it before being notarized as it is a legal statement of your intent to not vaccinate your child and risk exposure to a vaccine preventable illness, along with any other complications including excessive school absences in the event of an outbreak. Only completed hard copies will be accepted as valid for exemption of state mandated vaccines and a student’s ability to be on campus. Per the state the parent must personally order the form from the DSHS and proof of forms on order are not valid to complete the students vaccine requirements.
Vaccine Preventable Illness Outbreaks
More information on the Harmony Public Schools vaccine and vaccine preventable illness policies can be found in the student handbook.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to pick up my student?
If you have been called to pick up your student for health reasons (illness, vaccination compliance, lice, injury, etc.) Harmony Public Schools requests that you pick up your child in a reasonable timeframe. A reasonable timeframe may vary depending on the nature of the issue and region or city of the school but can be as little as 15 minutes and as much an hour.
If you’ve received a call about a potential life-threatening illness and you have requested that Emergency Services not be contacted, please be aware that we are legally required to contact Emergency Services if the student’s condition deteriorates or is clearly life-threatening. The parent/insurance holder is still responsible for any emergency services bills.
I can’t get my student, what happens next?
If you have been requested to pick up your student and you cannot get your student, the alternate emergency contacts will be utilized. If you don’t have any other emergency contacts, you may elect to send a friend/family member who is not on the contact list by notifying the Dean of Student in writing with the individuals full name and a copy of your driver’s license.
Failure to pick up a student or provide an alternate pick up for a student may result in Emergency Services or Child Protective Services being called, depending on the severity of the situation.
Why can’t my child’s medication be given without all the paperwork?
The medication policies at Harmony Public Schools were instituted to protect your child’s rights and health safety, as well as conform to state guidelines and medical best practice. By requiring parent or guardian signatures, we can confirm that the medication being given is indeed something you want your student to be given. By requiring the signature of a licensed provider (doctor), we ensure that our staff know how and when to give a medication and what side effects to watch for.
Why are vaccinations such a big deal?
Vaccination against certain illnesses have a history leading back to China and Africa, where historical vaccination against smallpox can be found as early as 200 BCE. Vaccines help protect the individual receiving the vaccination, unborn children, elderly, and immunosuppressed (people with diseases such as cancer, leukemia, transplants, etc.) from diseases which can not only cause life-threatening illness when contracted, but can cause long term complications such as swelling of the brain (measles, mumps, rubella), paralysis (polio), loss of limbs (meningitis), etc. While Herd Immunity does exist, it can easily be broken if as few as 7 out of 50 children are not immunized.
Don’t vaccines cause autism?
In 1998 a physician published a report indicating that vaccines caused autism. Immediately the health community responded by reducing or removing the preservative that the doctor indicated in his report (organic thimerosal), and attempted to duplicate his results. Despite numerous attempts to repeat his results, the medical community was unable to do so. In the end, they asked him to provide his data, which he could not do and investigation showed that the doctor had falsified his claims. He lost his license and went to prison for medical malpractice. But the fear of autism didn’t end there, and parents became concerned about other ingredients including aluminum salts, formaldehyde, etc. Common foods have the same biological ingredients – certain fish contain thimerosal, drinking water and aspirin contain aluminum salts, and pears contain the same form of formaldehyde as vaccines do. To date, the idea that vaccines cause autism has been studied more than any other vaccine related health issue and no link has been found. More information on this and the studies associated with vaccines can be found at <https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/index.html>
My child said they were sick/injured today, why didn’t I get a call?
If a student comes to the health office with an injury requiring emergency care or one of the issues listed on our communicable illness list, the parent or guardian will always be contacted.
In some cases the student may not have reported to the health office, may have requested that their parents not be contacted, or may have not presented with any signs or symptoms that indicated a need to contact a parent (example: student states that they feel ‘ill’ but do not have vomiting, fever, or any other signs or symptoms that are concerning). In these cases you may not receive a call. In any circumstances, if your child has not visited the health office you will not receive a call from the health staff.
I don’t want my child screened for vision/hearing/scoliosis/acanthosis nigricans, what should I do?
The state indicates that you have 60 days from enrollment to notify the health staff in writing that you do not want your child screened. After you notify the health staff you have 60 days to provide results of your health professionals screening or the school health staff are required by state law to screen your child.
When are you required to call 911?
We are required to contact 911 (Emergency Services) for any potentially life threatening health issue which may include chest pain, fever of 103.9 and higher, administration of emergency medications such as epi-pens, diastat, and glucagon, vitals signs significantly outside of the normal ranges, blood sugar of 400 or higher or large keytones, cardiac arrest, or any injury or illness that is deemed necessary by health staff.
How do I know that the Health Staff at Harmony can handle my child’s health?
Most of the Health Staff at Harmony Public Schools are trained Medical Assistants. Trained MAs require a 2 year, health focused, program which provides a solid foundation for understanding and maintaining your student’s health. Many of our staff members also seek additional certification outside of their initial schooling. Annually, our staff are trained by the Director of Student Health, ensuring competence in the most common healthcare maintenance activities including special procedures and medication administration including insulin injections. Health staff are also certified by the state to do the state mandated screenings and have participated in extended Concussion Management, Seizure, and Mental Health First Aid training. If your student has a health issue that you’re concerned the staff may not be familiar with, you can contact them directly to inquire as to if they have been trained for that procedure. The Director of Student Health at Harmony Public Schools is always available to train staff as needed for procedures that staff are not familiar with.
How do I help thank or support my campus health staff?
School Health Professionals week is typically the first full week in May, with particular focus on the Wednesday as a day to say ‘thank you’. School health staff appreciate a kindly note or praising Let’s Talk directed to themselves, their Dean of Students, or their Principal.
For local and regional income based and free health sources for students including vaccination, dental, and mental health as well as wellness services, please click the location name below.
HPS Medication & Treatment Policies
Harmony Public Schools health staff only administer medications and treatments for which we have a valid, current year doctor’s order and parent signature. Doctor’s orders are required for OTC (over the counter) medications as well. We do not administer vitamins, minerals, or TCH or CBD containing products even with a doctor’s order.
Parents must turn in all forms with the medication and medications cannot be transported to and from the school by students. Medications must be labeled by the pharmacy for the student who is to take the medication. Medications must be picked up at the end of the year or when the doctor discontinues the medication or it will be discarded in compliance with Harmony Public Schools medication policy.
More information on the Harmony Public Schools medication policy can be found in the student handbook.
Forms can be found below:
Life Threatening Allergies other than Food
- Epilepsy/Seizure Action Plan (this specific form is required by Sam’s Law for students with seizures)
Consent for Release of Medical Information
Harmony Public Schools Central Office
Chanteé Hale, BSN RN, Director of Student Health
9321 W Sam Houston Pkwy S Houston, TX 77099
Ms. Hale is a veteran Public Health and School Nurse. She supports campus level health services with staff trainings and medical direction.
Please note that contact information and specific details including district and campus is necessary for follow up with Let’s Talk dialogues. If you are uncomfortable leaving your contact information, you may leave it out, but personal responses are not possible without contact information.