CRA School Nurse
Helena Public Schools
New Law Changes Student Immunization Requirements
Notice of Immunizations Needed: 2015 School Law Update
The 2015 Montana Legislature revised school immunization requirements for school attendance through the passage of House Bill (HB) 158. The law, signed by the governor and effective October 1, 2015 requires students attending school be vaccinated against varicella disease (chickenpox) and receive a booster of pertussis vaccine at 7th grade.
• Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will need to have two doses of varicella vaccine. If a child had chickenpox, in lieu of receiving the varicella vaccine a student or parent can use any of the following evidence of immunity to varicella:
1. Laboratory evidence of immunity or laboratory confirmation of disease
2. Diagnosis or verification of a history of varicella disease(chickenpox) or herpes zoster (shingles) by a health-care provider (MD, DO, NP, PA)
• Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) will be required for students prior to attending 7th grade. Students currently in grades 8th-12th who have not received their Tdap will require a single dose.
Since the duration of immunity as a result of pertussis disease is not clearly established, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice do not encourage the use of history of illness as an exemption for pertussis vaccination. Montana’s rules will be consistent with this recommendation.
• You may have your child’s immunization history assessed and needed vaccines administered at your child’s healthcare provider or at the local county health department. Additional information and varicella history documentation forms have been provided to local healthcare offices.
• The changes to the law were made to bring Montana’s immunization requirements more in line with the most current immunization recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP). Of note, Montana was the only state that did not require the varicella series and one of five not requiring a pertussis booster at middle school for attendance.
• Additionally, the new requirements are intended to reduce the incidence of diseases like chickenpox and whooping cough both in school settings and in the community. Montana’s rates for both of these diseases are typically higher than any other state in the region
Please submit immunization documentation at the start of the 2015-2016 school year to the School Nurse at your child’s school.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Kendra Selser, RN
C. R. Anderson Middle School
Re: Head Lice Education
Dear Parent or Guardian:
Welcome back! I am looking forward to a productive and enriching new school year.
As you may know, head lice cases have been on the rise. An estimated 6 to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States, most commonly among children ages 3 to 11. So, I am writing to you to help you learn how to identify lice and provide information on what you can do if lice hit your home.
What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live close to the human scalp. They feed on blood. The eggs, also called nits, are tiny, tear-drop shaped eggs that attach to the hair shaft. Nits often appear yellowish or white, and can look like dandruff but cannot be removed or brushed off. The nymph, or baby louse, is smaller and grows to adult size in one to two weeks. The adult louse is the size of a sesame seed and appears tan to grayish-white. An itchy and inflamed scalp is a common symptom of lice. Although not common, persistent scratching may lead to skin irritation and even infection.1
Who is affected by head lice?
Head lice are not related to cleanliness. , In fact, head lice often infest people with good hygiene and grooming habits.2 Infestations can occur at home, school or in the community. Head lice are mostly spread by direct head-to-head contact—for example, during play at home or school, slumber parties, sports activities, or camp. Less often, lice are spread via objects that have been in recent contact with a person with head lice, such as hats, scarves, hair ribbons, combs, brushes, stuffed animals or bedding.1,3
What to do if an infestation occurs?
If you think your child has head lice, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider to discuss the best treatment approach for your family. Resistance to some over-the-counter head lice treatments has been reported, but the prevalence of resistance is not known. , There are new prescription treatment options available that are safe and do not require nit combing.
As your school nurse, I want to provide you with the information you need to safeguard your children’s health, and pave the way for a healthy school year. I hope you find this information useful.
Kendra Selser, RN
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Parasites: Lice: Head Lice: Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html. Accessed October 12, 2012. Meinking T, Taplin D, Vicaria M. Infestations. In: Schachner LA, Hansen RC, eds. Pediatric Dermatology, 4th ed. Mosby Elsevier; 2011:1525-1583. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Head lice: epidemiology and risk factors. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/epi.html. Accessed June 30, 2012. Burkhart CG. Relationship of treatment resistant head lice to the safety and efﬁcacy of pediculicides.Mayo Clin Proc. 2004;79(5):661– 666. Meinking TL, Serrano L, Hard B, et al. Comparative in vitro pediculicidal efﬁcacy of treatments in a resistant head lice population on the US. Arch Dermatol. 2002;138 (2):220–224