School nurses try to help children stay in school so they can learn. We do, however, follow Public Health Department guidelines to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases and conditions. Any student with fever, vomiting, head lice or an undiagnosed rash will be sent home. This is for the protection of your child and other students. A registered nurse (R.N.) is employed as the lead school nurse by the board of education to coordinate health services for students in grades kindergarten through twelve. Health screening including vision, hearing, and scoliosis are completed routinely as required by State regulations. These will also be provided for any student on an individual basis as requested by a parent, student, or teacher. The school nurse serves as a liaison between the school and the community to provide agency referrals, health education, and medical information.
In many cases it is not necessary to take medication during school hours. Check with your child’s physician to determine whether an at-school dose of a particular medication is required. If, under exceptional circumstances, a child is required to take oral medication during school hours, and the parents/guardians cannot be at school to administer the medication, only the school nurse or trained designee shall administer the medication in compliance with the following regulations.
All medication (prescription or non-prescription) to be given at school requires written authorization of the parent and/or guardian. Medication consent forms are available from the school or may be found on the www.ecboe.org website. Each medication given and each change in medication requires a new form.
School personnel are not allowed to keep bulk medications or take phone requests from parents/guardians. Only medication brought to school by the parents/guardians can be given.
All medication must be brought to school in original containers with a complete pharmacy label and/or manufacturer’s label and an additional label with the child’s name and dosage instructions. The medication form for over-the-counter medicine must be specific as to what the medicine is for—headache, menstrual cramps, arm pain, etc.
Each prescription medication must have a form signed by the physician and must be brought to school by a parent/guardian and given to the school nurse or trained designee. The physician signed form must accompany the prescription medication. Any medicine brought to school without the form signed by the physician will not be given until the form is received.
If a child has a medical condition that requires medication to be administered under emergency conditions, such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., the parents/guardians must provide the medication (Benedryl, Epi-Pen, Glucagon, etc.,) along with a “School Medication Prescriber/Parent Authorization” form signed by the physician.
The above regulations cover all prescription and non-prescription drugs, including but not limited to, Tylenol, Aspirin, Neosporin, etc. A copy of this regulation is provided to the parents/guardians upon request for administration of the medication in school.
Self administration of chronic medications is allowed under the following guidelines:
Medication must be a prescription. No over-the-counter medications can be self administered.
Medication forms must be provided yearly with parent and physician authorization.
The school nurse must approve self-administration of medication.
If at any time a student is not felt to be capable of self-administration, and/or following school policy for use, self-administration of medication will not be allowed.
School nurses, or other school staff, are not permitted to administer any alternative medication that could be considered a drug, including “natural remedies,” herbs, vitamins, dietary supplements, homeopathic medications, or medications from other countries without the following:
A written order from a health care provider authorized to prescribe in the state of Alabama. The written order must come on the authorized medication form required by the State of Alabama.
Verification that the product and requested dosage is safe for the student (considering the age, body weight & condition.)
Reasonable information about the therapeutic and untoward effects and interactions.
INFORMATION ON MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE AND VACCINE
Meningococcal disease is a serious illness, caused by bacteria. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years old in the United States. The bacteria that cause meningococcal disease are very common. The disease is most common in children and people with certain medical conditions that affect their immune system. College freshman living in dormitories also have increased risk of getting the disease. The disease is spread through exchange of respiratory droplets or saliva with an infected person including kissing, coughing, sneezing, and sharing drinking glasses and eating utensils. In a few people, the bacteria overcome the body’s immune system and pass through the lining of the nose and throat into the blood stream where they cause meningitis. Meningitis is a term that describes inflammation of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of the meningococcal disease include the following:
Nausea and vomiting
MCV4, or the meningococcal vaccine, is recommended for all children 11-18 years of age and for unvaccinated adolescents at high school entry (15 years of age). High school seniors should also consider obtaining the vaccine prior to entering college, especially if they are planning to live in a dormitory. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information. For more information on this and other vaccine recommendations go to www.adph.org/immunization.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND CONDITIONS
The superintendent has the authority to exclude from school in the Etowah County School System for a period of time as may be prescribed by the local health department or physician, any student or staff member with a communicable disease or parasite known to be spread by any form of casual contact. In all cases, a statement of clearance from the Department of Health, a physician, or school nurse shall be required before the student or staff may re-enter school or return to work. All persons privileged with any medical information that pertains to students or staff members shall be required to treat all proceedings, discussions and documents as confidential information. Medical information is shared with anyone in the school setting, based on a “Need to know”.
All school employees are required to consistently follow infection control guidelines in all settings and at all times, including playgrounds and school buses. Schools operate according to the standards promulgated by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration for the prevention of blood borne infections. Equipment and supplies needed to apply the infection control guidelines will be maintained and kept reasonably accessible.
A student will be sent home with instructions as to proper treatment when nits or lice are found. The student may return at any time on the same day to be re-checked, but will not be allowed to return to class until proof of treatment is provided to the school.
To be readmitted, a parent/guardian must accompany the student to the school office to be examined for the presence of lice. Students are excused the first two (2) days for treatment of nits or lice for the first incident only. All subsequent absences due to lice are unexcused.