New Legislation To Curb Lice Outbreaks Among Elementary Students

It’s no secret that lice can spread quickly among students in a classroom. New legislation now requires school nurses to take a proactive role in preventing an outbreak. Senate Bill 1566 adds Education Code § 38.031, which requires elementary school nurses to provide written or electronic notice to the child’s parent when they determine or become aware that a child enrolled in the school has lice. The notice must be provided no later than 48 hours after discovering the lice.

The nurse also must notify the parent of each child assigned to the same classroom as the child with lice within five school days. However, notice to the other parents may not identify the child with lice.The nurse’s notice must include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for the treatment and prevention of lice. The board of trustees of each school district must adopt policies to comply with these procedures.

Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are implicated in providing notice, the Commissioner of Education will have to adopt rules to implement the new law in a manner that complies with federal law regarding confidentiality of student medical or educational information.

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