Timely back to school updates from Dept of Health Services

I thought I would share some of the information I have received from the Texas School Health Program. To learn more about the School Health Program and Department of State Health services visit their website http://www.dshs.texas.gov/schoolhealth/ you can sign up for their Friday Beat newsletters as well.

Physical Environment

Towards Healthy Schools Report

The Healthy Schools Network, Inc. coordinated the creation of Towards Healthy Schools: Reducing Risks to Children. This report begins with a summary of national data and is followed by news clips/photos relating to individual states, as no state or national data bases exist to track school environmental problems. Healthy Schools Network, Inc. also compiled a set of Back to School Tools for educators.

Students with Food Allergies

Section 25.002 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) requires public school districts to inquire of parents whether a student has a food allergy upon the student’s enrollment. Parents should provide this information so that the district can implement safety precautions.

Section 38.0151 of the TEC requires the Boards of Trustees of school districts and the governing bodies of open-enrollment charter schools to adopt and administer a policy for the care of students with diagnosed food allergies at risk for anaphylaxis. The guidelines for developing such policy may be downloaded from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Food Allergies webpage. These guidelines include sample documents and are meant to serve as a reference for districts as they develop and administer policies for students with food allergies. An Emergency Care Plan for students at risk for anaphylaxis is available on this same webpage.

Unlicensed Diabetes Care Assistant (UDCA)

As required by Texas law, every school must have one UDCA, or three if a full-time school nurse is not assigned to the campus. School principals are responsible for identifying UDCAs. The Texas Diabetes Council developed guidelines for training school employees who are not licensed healthcare professionals to assist with caring for students during the school day or at school activities. These guidelines are available for download on the Texas Department of State Health Services website, along with Frequently Asked Questions related to implementing House Bill (HB) 984 and other diabetes resources.



Zika Guidelines for Schools

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) developed a resource specifically for facilities that care for children. The document addresses protecting children from the Zika virus through the prevention of mosquito bites and mosquito breeding. Schools may need to update their policies and procedures to sufficiently account for these two factors. Current information about the Zika virus in Texas, as well as other resources, are available on the DSHS Zika website.

Best Practice-Based Programs

Texas Health and Safety Code 161.325 requires the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to provide and update annually a recommended list of best practice-based programs for public schools in the following areas: early mental health intervention, mental health promotion and positive youth development, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention. This requirement is explained on the Texas Education Agency website, alongside many health education resources, and the recommended list is on the DSHS website.


Funding Opportunities

Awards for Excellence (AFE) in Texas School Health

This is a final reminder that AFE applications are due by August 31, 2016. These can be downloaded from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) website by clicking on the hyperlinked name of each award. You may also request an application by contacting the DSHS at schoolhealth@dshs.state.tx.us.

Eat.Learn.Live.and Grow Grant

Chartwells K12 and KidsGardening.org created the eat.learn.live.School Garden Program, which offers free nutrition education resources, including Garden 1,2,3 Quick Start. Public and private K-12 schools may apply for the eat.learn.live.and Grow Grant through August 31, 2016. All but one of the grant packages are designated for schools that have existing gardens.



Family Engagement

National Farmers Market Directory

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Directory lists markets that feature two of more farm vendors who sell products directly to customers at a recurrent location. The directory provides the website, directions, products, and other details for each market. There are more than 200 listings for Texas! Visiting these markets and choosing agricultural products could be fun adventures


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