Health Office


RRPS Policy on Student Pediculosis
Dear Parents:

Head lice
Head lice have been co-existing with us since ancient times. Head lice are not a health hazard or a sign of poor hygiene and are not the cause of any disease. In the United States, preschool and elementary school students are the most common age group who get head lice. Our goal is to help parents recognize head lice in their students so they can take action quickly.

The adult head louse is the size of a sesame seed and can not fly or jump. Head lice crawl on the scalp and cannot survive away from the scalp for more than 24 hours. The louse’s tiny eggs are tightly attached to the base of the hair shaft and can most easily be seen at the base of the neck or behind the ears. In general, eggs or “nits” that are further than 1 inch from the scalp are no longer alive. Itching around the base of the neck is common.
Lice are most often spread from head to head contact. Personal items like combs, brushes, and hats are much less likely to spread head lice.

Head lice are best treated with special medicated shampoos. Regular shampoos will not kill head lice. Some treatments can be purchased over the counter and some require a prescription from a physician or health care provider. Contact your doctor, pharmacist or the county health office for questions regarding treatment options. All persons who have been treated for head lice should repeat the treatment in 7 – 10 days. All household members should be checked for head lice, and those with live lice or nits close to the scalp should be treated. Removing nits with a comb is time consuming, but the best way to get rid of them. 

Cleaning bedding and hair care items is generally a good idea. Only items that have been in contact with the person who has lice 24- 48 hours before treatment need to be cleaned. Washing, drying or soaking items at temperatures above 130 degrees will kill lice and nits. Items that cannot be washed can be stored in plastic bags for 2 weeks and then vacuumed.

Schools are not the most common places where lice can be spread. Because of this, school wide checks are not recommended. Excluding children who have nits is no longer done because it does not affect the spread of lice. The most effective screening is parents checking their children at home, treating the child and making an effort to remove nits. Our goal is to have students return to school ready to learn. No healthy children should miss school due to head lice.

Your School Nurse
Your school nurse will treat any report of head lice confidentially. She will help you with checking and rechecking your student and answer questions about community resources and treatment. The Department of Health in Sandoval County offers diagnosis and medication for treatment. You must call Ester Acosta, the nurse manager, at 867-2291 ext. 1714 for an appointment. 

Please contact your School Nurse at 892-0220 x 514

American Academy of Pediatrics: Clinical Report-Head Lice

Centers for Disease Control image
Staying Healthy During the Cold and Flu Season 
Now that the cold weather season is upon us it is important to use measures to keep ourselves and our families healthy. Staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching our eyes, nose and mouth are some ways to reduce contracting illness. One of the easiest and most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others is keeping our hands clean.
When should you wash your hands?
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal or animal waste
  • After touching garbage
What is the right way to wash your hands?
  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
What if I don’t have soap and clean, running water?
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your ands are dry.
A fun resource for children to teach correct hand hygiene is
Information in article obtained from:
Welcome to Rio Rancho Elementary Health Office!
Healthy Students are Better Learners
The health room is a facility where sick or injured students are triaged, assessed, treated and/or referred for further treatment. It is staffed with a State Department of Education licensed school nurse or trained health assistant at all times. All efforts will be made to return a student to class if deemed appropriate by the health office staff. A student may be considered a candidate for exclusion from school or from the school bus at the discretion of the health room staff. Reasons for exclusion from school or bus may include, but are not limited to: vomiting, diarrhea, fever of 100 degrees or greater, significant injury, or symptoms not responding to treatment. 

Children may not return to school until they are free of the above symptoms for 24 hours without the aid of symptom reducing medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Students who are placed on antibiotics by their physician must remain at home for the first 24 hours of therapy.
All medication will be dispensed according to RRPS Medication Policy and Procedures.
In the case of a serious illness or accident, every effort will be made to contact the parent or guardian. If the student’s condition appears to be an emergency, the Rio Rancho Emergency Medical System (911) will be called.
Parents and/or guardians are responsible for notifying the school with any updates to the emergency card if there are any changes during the school year. This may include health, phone numbers or emergency contacts.
Vision and Hearing Screening
One of the functions of the school health program is to promote health through early identification and detection of health problems that may cause disability and/or interfere with learning. All children are screened for vision, hearing, height and weight in accordance with the New Mexico guidelines. If a parent/guardian request exclusion from screenings they must provide the school health office with written notification of this request. If you have any questions related to screenings please contact the school nurse at 892-0220 x 514.