~ School Health Information ~
The school nurses provide health services for U-32 Middle & High School. Our School Nurses, Mahala and Amber, are available from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please contact them with any questions or concerns that may arise during the year at 802-229-0321. Our nurses collaborate with school staff to maximize learning and wellness and to promote a healthy and safe school environment for every student. Please help keep our schools safe and healthy by encouraging proper hand-washing techniques and basic infection control, such as coughing/sneezing into the upper arm or tissue.
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.
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. However, situations/illnesses will surface that require a clinical assessment from the school nurse, and oftentimes a reflection of current guidelines 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 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 the Health Office 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, or contact the nurse if you would like a test.
- If your child tests positive for COVID-19, they should stay home and isolate for at least 5 days. Day Zero is considered to be the date of their positive test or the start of their symptoms, whichever is earlier. They can end isolation and return to school after day 5 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. Masking is recommended for 5 days following the isolation period.
- Along with notifying the school of the Covid-19 positive test, the Vermont Department of Health also asks that you report your student's positive result here.
- If your child becomes symptomatic at school: If students present with symptoms of illness at school, we will continue to screen for possible COVID-19 infection. The following protocol is in place across our schools:
- School nurses may use LAMP or antigen tests to test symptomatic individuals in school (consent for testing was included in our back-to-school health forms). The school nurse will contact the parents or caregivers to notify them of the testing. Students who do not have permission to be tested will be sent home.
- If the LAMP or antigen test is positive for COVID-19, the student will be sent home. The student will be isolated from others and wear a mask until they are picked up by a parent or caretaker.
- If the LAMP or antigen test is negative, the nurse will assess whether or not the symptoms are indicative of another potential illness and whether the student is not well enough to learn or participate. Decisions about whether students are sent home are made by the school nurse based on clinical assessment.
- 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: The experience of head lice is not a major health hazard, however, it is 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. If a child is found to have lice at school, the parents will be notified so that treatment can begin. The school nurse may check students in a classroom where a student with lice has been identified.
Health Screening ~ Vision and Hearing screenings are conducted yearly as mandated by Vermont law. (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 for 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 into science and social studies classes.
Immunization Compliance ~ Vermont Law states that in order to enter school, children must meet certain immunization requirements by the CDC and the State of Vermont. The school must be provided with an immunization record from a school, health department, or physician showing that your child has received the appropriate vaccines:
The recommended schedule includes the following::
- 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
Students entering the seventh grade must provide documentation of all of the immunizations listed above and:
- One dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine
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.
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 (in addition to 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 802-454-1580.
- Medication forms are available on the school’s website and in the nurse’s office.