Skip To Main Content

Elementary School Health Services

 

The school nurse provides health services for your child’s school. Our School Nurses are available from 8:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. Monday – Friday.   Please contact them directly with any questions or concerns that may arise during the year.

Responsibilities of the School Nurse include:

  • Maintaining School Health Records, collecting updated emergency and health information annually on students, evaluating student immunization records and facilitating compliance with state requirements.
  • Preparing, implementing, and evaluating individual student health care plans as needed
  • Providing health services for illness and injuries, reporting communicable diseases as required and administration of medications in accordance with the Vermont School Health Services Standards of Practice (see details below).
  • Reporting suspected child abuse and /or neglect.
  • Communicating with families regarding health related issues.
  • Performing vision and hearing screenings as mandated by state laws.
  • Providing health education information to students and staff.
  • Collaborating with administration in support of a healthy school environment and participating as a member of school teams to improve student health outcomes.
  • Member of the Crisis Team.

Health Office Recommendations For Health Absences

Below are some guidelines for when a child should be kept home from school due to illness. Open communication with your school nurse is the best way to ensure that the correct decision is made. The guidelines below are the basics;  situations/illnesses will surface that require a clinical assessment from the school nurse, and oftentimes a reflection of current guidelines put forth by the CDC and the Vermont Department of Health. Sometimes the decision to send a student home, or to keep a student home is simple, other times it is not so clear. Knowing when to return to school after an illness is one of those times that can be tough to judge. This year, unlike last year, we are allowing students to return to school following an illness as long as they are:  1.)  ready to access their learning, 2.)  are largely recovered from their symptoms, and 3.)  are fever-free and/or vomit/diarrhea-free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication.  


When making a clinical decisions surrounding health absences, school nurses will consider health history, trends in illnesses present at school, length of illness and whether or not the student is at the beginning and more contagious stage of illness, or whether they are on the tail-end with lingering symptoms, and recommendations from the CDC/VT DOH. These decisions are rarely cut and dry. Thank you for your communication and patience as we work to navigate illness at school following a pandemic. 

  • Stay home when newly sick: Whether you have new symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, or another contagious illness, please stay home if you are sick and call your healthcare provider if needed. This helps keep germs from spreading, protects those who may be at risk of serious illness, and gives you a chance to get well. 
  • We know that people with new symptoms are more likely to be contagious and so would like people coming down with something to stay home. If you have lingering symptoms that have vastly improved; i.e. cough, runny nose, please feel free to return to school. 
  • Fever (greater than 100°): Your child’s temperature should be back to normal (less than 99°) for at least 24 hours before returning to school without the aid of medication.
  • Coughing (excessive): Your child’s cough should be “dry” sounding and easily controlled by a drink of water or cough drop before returning to school. 
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea: Your child should be able to eat food and drink liquids without vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours before returning to school
  • Red or Draining Eyes: Please keep your child at home and check with a physician to ensure your child does not have conjunctivitis. If being treated for an infection please follow the Infection recommendation below. 
  • Excessive Nasal Drainage: Please keep your child at home and check with a physician to ensure your child does not have an infection. If being treated for an infection please follow the Infection recommendation below. 
  • Unusual Rash: Please keep your child at home and check with a physician to ensure that the rash is not contagious. If being treated for an infection please follow the Infection recommendation below. 
  • Infection: If your child has been tested or treated for any contagious infection, please have them stay at home until test results are available. If positive for infection, they should have had their medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school. This is to best ensure the infection has not spread and your child does not have a medication reaction/allergic response in school. If medication is to be given at school, please contact Nurse Maria prior to your child returning to school to make arrangements. Parents/Guardians must personally give the medicine to the Health Office with the medication permission form. Forms can be found on the website or requested from the school. 

COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease, caused by a virus not previously seen in humans. COVID-19 is spread mostly by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. Important practices that help reduce the risk of spreading the virus and reduce the risk of infection, include getting the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters, staying home when sick, and handwashing. Certain age groups and/or people with specific health conditions may be at more risk for complications from the illness. We encourage you to discuss any concerns you have with your personal medical provider to determine what is best for you.  

WCUUSD will implement the health and safety guidance from the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Agency of Education which will reflect the current impact that the virus is having on our community. You can find more information about Vermont’s guidance here. Specifically, the health and safety guidance includes:

  • Stay up to date on vaccinations: Vaccines are the best tool we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19, especially from severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Vermonters ages 6 months and older can get vaccinated. The Vermont DOH strongly encourages you to protect yourself by getting vaccinated as soon as possible, and get your booster shot for full protection when eligible.
  • Testing: Students & staff exhibiting COVID19 symptoms (Fever (100.4 °F or higher), cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea) are encouraged to test. More information can be found here about testing in Vermont.
  • If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they should stay home for at least 5 days and return to school if their symptoms have improved AND they have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers. Testing is not required to return to school.
    • WCUUSD no longer has Covid-19 tests available. We will NOT be testing students, and will not be able to provide tests for families as we have in years past. 
  • Masks: While masks are not required by our current health guidance, masking can be part of a comprehensive mitigation strategy to minimize the risk of spreading illness. Individuals may still choose to wear masks based on their individual situation. Our school continues to be a mask-friendly environment. Should the VT Department of Health Guidance change and begin requiring universal masking, WCUUSD will follow those guidelines.

Head Lice:
A note about head lice: Head lice are not a major health hazard. It is, however, a nuisance which can often result in hardship for those involved. It is strongly recommended that parents do weekly head checks as part of their child’s hygiene routine. Information will be posted on the website about prevention and the treatment. An informational sheet will be sent home in a newsletter at  the beginning of the year. If a child is found to have lice at school, the parents will be notified so that treatment can begin. The school nurse will check students in a classroom where a student with lice has been identified. A letter will be sent home to notify all families in the class. Repeat checks will be performed to individual students and classrooms until no lice or nits have been found for 2 weeks.

Health Screening
Vision and Hearing screenings are conducted yearly as mandated by State Laws. (16 V.S.A §1422) Parents are notified of any unusual findings.

Health Education
The school nurse, health educator,  and school counselor act as resources to teachers in wellness promotion and disease prevention. Topics include nutrition, dental health, hygiene, communicable diseases, puberty, making healthy choices and anti-tobacco education. Health topics are also incorporated by classroom teachers in science and social studies classes.

Immunization Compliance
Vermont Law states that in order to enter school, children must meet certain immunization requirements.  The school must be provided with an immunization record from a school, health department or physician showing that your child has received the following vaccines:

  • 5 doses of DPT (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine
  • 4 doses of Polio vaccine
  • 2 doses of MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine
  • 2 doses of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

         Forms are available in the health office for exemptions and to report chickenpox illness.

Please note that the above are MINIMAL requirements for immunization. Students who do not meet requirements must either be admitted provisionally or have a signed exemption on file in order to attend school. Additional information about immunizations can be found here.

Medications
Whenever possible, children’s medications should be scheduled to be taken at home. When a child must take medication at school, please keep the following in mind:

  • ALL medications must be kept in the nurse’s office. The only exceptions are for emergency medications such as Epi-Pens and asthma inhalers and only when written medical authorization and written parent permission are on file in the nurse’s office.
  • Prescription Medications: Written medical authorization (separate from the prescription label on the medicine container) and written parent permission must be on file in the nurse’s office before prescription medication will be given at school.
  • Non-Prescription (Over-The-Counter) Medications: Written parent  permission must be given to the school nurse before non-prescription medication will be given at school. A doctor’s order is not required.
  • Medications must be brought to school in their original properly-labeled containers. Medicine that cannot be identified will not be given at school. If medicine comes to school unlabeled (in a baggie or a rolled up tissue) we will not allow a student to take it.
  • Medication must be brought to school by a parent, guardian, or other responsible adult. For safety reasons, students may not carry their medications. (Medically necessary exceptions will be made with a written doctor’s order.)
  • Medication orders must be renewed each school year. We cannot use last year’s paperwork.
  • Doctor’s orders and parent permission may be faxed to school at 454-1580..
  • Medication forms are available on the school’s website and in the nurse’s office.
  • Unused medication may be picked up at school by a parent, guardian, or other designated adult. Medications not picked up by the end of the last teacher workday in June will be destroyed; medications cannot be left at school over the summer.

General Asthma Emergency Plan:

Taken from American Lung Association Guidance


For non- nursing staff:

Should a child with symptoms of asthma (ie: excessive coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness) present to the health office, the following steps will be followed:

  1. Help to an upright position; speak calmly and reassuringly
    1. Follow individualized action/emergency plan for use of quick-relief inhaler
  2. If a quick -relief inhaler or action/emergency plan is not available, call the nurse or  send the student to the health office accompanied by a staff member.
  3. Get emergency help from school nurse or designee if student has any of these:
    1. Inhaler not helping
    2. Breathing hard and fast
    3. Nostrils open wide
    4. Can’t walk or talk well
  4. Call 911 if not breathing, unconscious, lips are blue, struggling to breathe (hunched over or ribs show), or other signs of distress are present.
  5. Notify parent or guardian


For parents/students:

Should a child with symptoms of asthma (ie: excessive coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness) present to the health office, the following steps will be followed:

  1. Follow individualized action/emergency plan for use of quick-relief inhaler
  2. If a quick -relief inhaler or action/emergency plan is not available, the nurse will assess the student, and call parent/guardian or emergency services as needed. 
  3. 911 will be called if not breathing, unconscious, lips are blue, struggling to breathe (hunched over or ribs show), or other signs of distress are present.
  4. Notify parent/guardian.