School Health Services
The school nurse in each district school is a health services specialist who assists students in attaining and/or maintaining optimum health and in promoting positive health habits and attitudes. Health screenings are conducted annually as mandated by the NJ Administrative Code. The screenings performed depend upon grade level and include: height, weight, hearing, vision, color screening, scoliosis, and blood pressure. If you do not wish to have your child screened for any of the above, please notify the school nurse in writing during the first week of school. Services provided by the school nurse are listed below.
Emergency care for students who become ill or injured in school includes rest for the student, external applications of heat and cold, temporary dressing, and ordinary nursing measures to provide comfort and safety of the student. The nurse will notify the parents of the student situation and make recommendations for care. Parents need to provide transportation to the home or doctor's office. In addition, if seriously ill or injured, students are not allowed to go home without a responsible adult. In a critical emergency, the services of the local rescue squad will be utilized, and the parents will be contacted promptly.
Administering Medication to Students
School nurses are not permitted to dispense medication without a doctor's written permission. Only those medications that meet the student's health needs for a specific period of time may be given during the school day. Before any medication is administered to or by any student during school hours, a written request is required from the parent or guardian. This request will give permission for such administration and relieve the Board of Education and its employees of any liability due to the administration of medication. In addition, a written form from the prescribing physician is required and shall include:
The purpose of the medication
The dosage of the medication
The time or special circumstances for administration of medication
The length of time for which medication is prescribed
The possible side effects of the medication
All non-prescription drugs are to be handled in the same manner as prescribed drugs. Therefore, the nurse will administer drugs such as aspirin, Tylenol antihistamines, or non-prescription cough syrup only upon receipt of written notes from the doctor and parent or guardian.
Self-Administration of Medication
Self-administration of medication is permitted for asthma or other potentially life-threatening illness by students in Grades Three through Twelve. This applies to students when they are on school premises during regular school hours, as well as off-site, during a field trip or extracurricular activity. Life-threatening illness refers to an illness or condition that requires an immediate response to specific symptoms or sequela that may indicate the potential loss of life,e.g., adrenaline injection in response to anaphylaxis.Parents or guardians of the student must meet the following conditions for self-administration to be allowed:Submit written authorization to the school nurse that allows the student's self-administration of medicationSubmit written verification from the student's physician that the student has a potentially life-threatening illness and is capable of, and has been instructed in, the proper method of self-administration of medication.Submit a signed statement from parents or guardians acknowledging that the Board of Education or any of the staff shall not be liable as a result of an injury arising from the self-administration of medication by the student.Furthermore, the parents or guardians shall indemnify and hold harmless the district and its employees or agents against any claims arising out of self-administration of medication by the student.
The New Jersey Department of Health has established immunization requirements for students attending public schools. They include: Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Measles, Rubella, Mumps, Polio, and Haemophilus Influenza Type B. The school nurse maintains a record of every student's immunization history and notifies the parents or guardians if something needs to be updated in order to meet state requirements.
Monitoring Communicable Diseases
Parents are requested to report all communicable or infectious diseases to the school nurse. This permits the school personnel to institute procedures to prevent the spread of such diseases to others and to report them to the Department of Health. Diseases that need to be reported are: Chicken pox, German measles (rubella), measles, mumps, streptococcal infections, staphylococcal infections, influenza, hepatitis, mononucleosis, meningitis, encephalitis, venereal diseases, tuberculosis, cases of pediculosis (head lice), pinworm, and impetigo.