The Health Services Office is responsible for providing, supervising, and coordinating all health services for Las Cruces Public Schools. The staff consists of 43 school nurses, 10 health assistants, a social worker, a Health Services coordinator, a part-time Nutrition Specialist, a full-time Medicaid Coordinator, a full-time Medicare Specialist, and a full-time secretary. In addition to performing daily first aid, the school nurses are responsible for assessing the health of students in the Las Cruces Public Schools.

Services for Students

By using available screening techniques and observing and eliciting the health history of each student, the school nurse can determine when a condition exists which deviates from normal and take the action necessary to help insure the academic success of the student. Routine screening may include vision, hearing, height, and weight.

The unique expertise of the school nurse enables him/her to evaluate when; (1) a medical referral of a student is necessary, (2) a modification of the curriculum might be appropriate, and (3) teaching techniques might be changed to better meet the needs of a student because of impaired health or physical function.

The school nurse acts as a liaison between educator and health care provider. Functions include interpreting to the health care provider the problem exhibited by the student in the educational setting, and may act as a liaison between student/family and the health care provider.

The school nurse is familiar with community resources and is able to help parents find and utilize appropriate resources for health care.

Resources for Teachers

The school nurse interprets the findings of the health care provider to the teacher and other appropriate staff members. While service to the student is the prime consideration, the school nurse offers these same services, but to a lesser degree, to school personnel.

Nurses as Health Educators

Individual Health
The school nurse constantly teaches health. In almost every contact with students, he/she gives an informal health lesson. The nurse also monitors the immunization of each student and insures compliance with the New Mexico Immunization Law.

The school nurse also teaches a wide spectrum of health subjects to students in grades K-12. In addition to teaching in the classroom, nurses are a valuable resource to teachers.

The school nurse is available to present inservice workshops to teachers on many topics including HIV/AIDS, universal precautions, infection control, child abuse, first aid, diabetes and other diseases, classroom management of students with special health problems, CPR, and playground safety. He/she is also available to give presentations to parents on health and safety issues.

Nursing and Community Agency Web Sites:
originally compiled by LCPS School Nurses, this list contains links to agencies that may be able to help students in difficult situations.

Is Your Child Too Sick for School?

Sometimes it can be difficult determining if your child is too sick for school. A runny nose, cough or sore throat is a common complaint among school-aged children, but can also indicate a more serious illness. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends following these three quick questions to determine if your child needs to stay home from school:

  1. Does your child have a fever greater than 100° F? Fevers are typically a sign of illness which require a child to stay home from school.
  2. Does your child feel well enough to participate in class? A child who coughed all night, even with no other symptoms, is typically tired the next day and can’t actively engage in class activities.
  3. Do you think your child has a contagious illness, such as strep throat or pinkeye? If so, keep them at home until they are no longer infectious and have been seen by their healthcare provider.

When Children Should Stay Home From School

If your child has a temperature greater than 100°F, they should stay home for 24 hours fever free without medication before returning to school.

Keep your child home until their stools are formed and your healthcare provider has cleared them to return to school. Make sure your child stays well hydrated.

Your child needs to stay home if they have vomited twice or more in the last 24 hours. They are able to return to school after symptoms are gone and/or your healthcare provider states they are no longer contagious.

Severe cough and cold
Symptoms associated with this can make a child feel very tired. Your child should stay home from school until the cough is manageable and not disruptive to themselves or others around them.

Sore throats
Sore throats can be caused by a variety of different ailments such as a throat infection, like strep throat, a common cold, or allergies. If your child has been diagnosed with strep throat, they need to stay home for 24 hours after starting antibiotics and until they no longer have a fever. It is okay to come to school with a mild cold as long as there is no fever.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis)
Pinkeye is contagious. This means that children should stay home from school for the first 24 hours after treatment begins. Symptoms of pinkeye include eye redness, irritation, swelling, and pus.

Rashes can be the sign of contagious conditions such as chickenpox, bacterial meningitis, or impetigo. Children should be kept home until they are diagnosed by a healthcare provider. The child can return to school after symptoms are gone and their healthcare provider states it is okay for them to return to school.

Earaches are not contagious, but can be very uncomfortable and painful for your child; making it hard to concentrate at school. Please consult your healthcare provider if your child complains about an earache.

Mild cold or respiratory symptoms
Mild cold or respiratory symptoms are not a reason to keep your child home from school as long as their nasal drainage is clear and cough is mild.