Too Sick for School

24 Hour Rule

Students who demonstrate signs and symptoms of illness or a possible communicable disease should be referred to the school clinic for further assessment. Those with an elevated temperature of 100º or above or those who vomit or have diarrhea must be isolated and sent home. The student must be fever free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours before he/she can be allowed back in school. Those excluded due to vomiting or diarrhea must also be free of symptoms without the use of preventative medications before being allowed back in class. (Administrative Regulation FFAD)


Prevention of Communicable Disease

AWBLA closely monitors events concerning communicable diseases and will follow the Center for Disease Control and our Health Departments recommendations regarding communicable disease protocols. Our specific measures to ensure a safe learning environment for students are as follows:

1. AWBLA staff will continue to educate our students, staff, and community members about the importance of frequent hand washing; covering a cough or sneeze; not touching one's eyes, nose, and mouth; staying home when sick, and other measures to prevent the spread of all communicable disease.

  • Campuses are routinely disinfected with QUAT 32 cleaner which is effective against multiple disease-causing viruses and bacteria. 
  • School staff will monitor students for symptoms and refer students to the school nurse for assessment as appropriate.     
  • School nurses will exclude students from school attendance according to guidelines from the Department of State Health Services, including but not limited to a fever greater than 100º F until the scholar is fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.

2.  Campuses will work with our local health department for any suspected case of a reportable condition.

3. Parents/Guardians can help by keeping sick scholars home until symptoms resolve, getting medical care when necessary, and reinforcing frequent hand washing and cough/sneeze etiquette.


Please consult TEXAS DSHS or our local health department for any further questions regarding communicable disease control measures.


Tips for preventing the spread of the flu include:

  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick or are beginning to display symptoms
  • Stay home if you feel sick and see a doctor as soon as possible   
  • Fever of 100.0 must remain home and stay home for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication  
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with antibacterial soap to kill and avoid spreading germs   
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as germs and bacteria can enter this way and cause illness   
  • Get your flu vaccination


Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral(aseptic) meningitis is common and most people fully recover. Medical management of viral meningitis consists of supportive treatment and there is usually no indication of the use of antibiotics. Parasitic and fungal meningitis are very rare. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and may involve complicated medical, surgical, pharmaceutical, and life support management.

Common types of bacteria that cause meningitis:

  • Strep pneumonia causes pneumococcal meningitis; there are over 80 subtypes that cause illness
  • Neisseria meningitis/meningococcal meningitis; there are 5 sub-types that cause serious illness - A,B,C,Y,W-135

What are the symptoms?

Someone with meningitis will become very ill. The illness may develop over one or two days, but it can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours. Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms.
Children (over 1 year old) and adults with meningitis may have:

  • Severe headache
  • High temperature 
  • Vomiting   
  • Sensitivity to bright lights  
  • Neck stiffness, joint pains   
  • Drowsiness or confusion

(In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots or bruises caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. They are a sign of blood poisoning (septicemia), which sometimes happens with meningitis, particularly the meningococcal strain.)

How serious is bacterial meningitis?

If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, the majority of people make a complete recovery. In some cases, it can be fatal or a person may be left with a permanent disability, such as deafness, blindness,
amputations or brain damage (resulting in mental retardation or paralysis) even with prompt treatment.

How is it spread?

Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with
meningitis has been. The germs live naturally in the back of our noses and throats, but they do not live for long outside the body. They are spread when people exchange saliva (such as by kissing;
sharing drinking containers, utensils, or cigarettes).
The germ does not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the germ for days, weeks or even months. Being a carrier helps to stimulate your body's natural defense system.  
The bacteria rarely overcomes the body's immune system and causes meningitis or another serious

What is the risk of getting bacterial meningitis?

The risk of getting bacterial meningitis in all age groups is about 2.4 cases per 100,000 population per year. However, the highest risk group for the most serious form of the disease, meningococcal meningitis, is highest among children 2 to 18 years old.

How is bacterial meningitis diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually based on a combination of clinical symptoms and laboratory results from spinal fluid and blood. Spinal fluid is obtained by a lumbar puncture (spinal tap).

How can it be prevented?

(Do not share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. Limit the number of people you kiss.)
Vaccines against pneumococcal disease are recommended both for young children and adults over 64. A vaccine against four meningococcal serogroups (A, C, Y, W-135) is available. These four groups cause the majority of meningococcal cases in the United States. This vaccine is recommended by some groups for college students, particularly freshmen living in dorms or residence halls. The vaccine is safe and effective (85-90%). It can cause mild side effects, such as redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days. Immunity develops within 7 to 10 days after the vaccine is given and lasts for up to 5 years.

Your campus nurse, family doctor, and the staff at your local or regional health department office are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases. You may also call your local health department or Regional Texas Department of Health office to ask about the meningococcal vaccine. Additional information may also be found at the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov and the Texas Department of Health.