School is back in full-swing!
Our district has been back in school for 5 weeks now. We started school a little earlier this year, which means that the first round of dreaded “sickness” has already hit us. With some suggestions from other mamas on our blog, we thought it would be helpful to get some information out there about our kiddos’ health while they are back in school. I interviewed our campus nurse, Leah Williams. She is so helpful and caring to all our students and staff. I hope the information she has provided will also be helpful to all our readers!
At the beginning of the school year, what are the things the school needs for each student?
The most important thing in a student medical record is the child’s information sheet. All parents need to make sure it is filled out entirely. When a medical issue comes up with a student, that piece of paper is very important. It will have pertinent information that covers allergies, medications, diagnosis, and most importantly, contact numbers to reach a parent or guardian. This form is also placed in an emergency evacuation binder. It is copied and sent with EMS when an emergency transport is needed. Without this information, the school nurse cannot treat the child to the best of their ability.
Another important form is the shot record. If the student received any shots over the summer they will not be up-to-date in the system, unless they are brought to the school. Immtrac can be used to obtain some proof of shots, but not all will be in the system. The state of Texas mandates that all students must be up-to-date with immunizations or have a current exemption on file. If the vaccines are not received, students will not be allowed to enroll or will be sent home until vaccines are obtained.
2019-2020 requirements can be seen here. These are grouped by immunization per age/grade.
If your child is on a routine or PRN (as needed) medication that needs to be taken at school, there will be certain forms to fill out. If a student carries medication on them, such as an Epi-pen or an inhaler, they MUST have consent to carry on file with nurse. This consent will need to be signed by the physician as well.
What should a parent expect if their child gets sick at school?
If you child becomes ill at school you should receive a phone call from the school nurse, not the student. Each child should always go to the school health clinic for assessment before calling home. Once the nurse determines the issue, he/she will notify the parent. If a student is having a medical emergency and calls the parent instead of the nurse, valuable time is being wasted while the student could be receiving medical care. It is very important that a child goes to the nurse before calling a parent for this reason.
Any student with vomiting/diarrhea will be sent home until they are symptom free without medication. The same policy applies if a student has a temperature greater than 100 degrees. A student that returns to school before the 24 hours has passed, will be sent home.
When should a parent keep their child home from school?
Parents should keep the student home if they have had a temperature greater than 100, vomiting, or diarrhea in the last 24 hours. If you know your student isn’t feeling well before school, is/has had vomiting/diarrhea or fever, please do not send them. Sending students to school with illness creates more illnesses within the student body. Viruses and bacteria spread quickly through a school. As a school nurse, we do everything we can to prevent this. If a student that is ill continues to return to classes, the illness just continues to spread.
What are some tips for keeping kids healthy?
The number one piece of advice for keeping kids healthy is maintaining good hygiene. Washing hands the proper way will help prevent the spread of bacteria more than anything else. When properly washing your hands, it should take at least 20 seconds.
- Start with warm water
- Work up a soapy lather.
- Wash palms, the backs of hands, fingers, and under nails.
- Wash as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
- Dry hands on a paper towel.
- Use that towel to turn off the water and open the door. Throw the paper out after leaving.
Hand sanitizer in the classrooms is also very effective.
There are various modes of transmission when it comes to illness. The most common problem noted among school age children is contact. Students are constantly touching their eyes, noses, mouths, etc. This means they are having direct and indirect contact with multiple illnesses on a daily basis. Teaching them proper hygiene and to keep hands away from the nose, eyes, and mouth will help prevent these illnesses. The proper way to cough into the elbow of the arm instead of the hand is also an effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria.
What are some ways to boost the immune system?
- Make sure you eat a balance diet of fruit, vegetables, and protein.
- Losing a few hours of sleep can increase inflammation in the body. Sleep is very crucial to immune system function.
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise.
- Managing stress. Stress seems to be increasing among students. There are multiple times a day that anxiety/stress play a role in our health clinic. Managing these stresses helps to keep the body healthy with preventing the decrease in natural infection-fighting cells.
Anytime you have a question or a concern you can always call the school nurse. If you are unsure about a policy, have a health-related question pertaining to your child, or just want more information, we are here to help you.
We want our schools healthy, we want your children healthy and the best way to do that is to have everyone working together. Education is key. This phrase is the perfect example, “students must be healthy to be educated and they must be educated to be healthy.”
Together we can all make a difference!
Leah Williams is employed by San Augustine ISD and is an LVN.