General Guidelines for School Attendance for Ill Children
The goal of North Middlesex Regional Schools is to strive for excellent attendance. There are times when your child may not be perfectly healthy, but is able to participate in normal school activities. We would encourage your child to attend on those days. If you feel it is questionable that your child will make it through a full day of school, please send a note in to the school nurse with numbers where you can be reached. The Nurses at North Middlesex Regional Schools have formulated the following guidelines for school attendance.
Please keep your child home from school if they display any of the following symptoms:
• Fever of 100 degrees or more, and until the child has had a normal temperature for 24 hours; without the use of Tylenol or Advil
• Vomiting or diarrhea during the night or in the morning before school
• Uncontrollable or infectious (phlegm-laden) cough
• Abdominal pain lasting more than 2 hours
• Rash of unknown cause
• Signs of infection of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, skin or scalp. For example: conjunctivitis or pink eye, open sores in mouth, untreated strep throat, impetigo or open weeping wounds, lice and/or presence of nits (eggs) or scabies.
• If on antibiotics for less than 24 hours for infectious conditions such as strep throat, conjunctivitis or impetigo
Please remember to call the absent line at your child’s school to report his/her illness. Please try to call the absent line early in the morning if your child will be out. The Varnum Brook absent line is 978-433-8976 by 9:15 AM to report an absence or late arrival.
The responsibilities of the school nurse include various screenings and participation in a host of activities in addition to emergency treatment of students who are injured or become ill at school. The goal of the health office is to support optimal learning in a safe and healthy environment.
Children Who Become Ill at School
When a child becomes ill at school, he/she is sent to see the school nurse. If the nurse feels the child should go home, she contacts the parents or guardians. If a parent/guardian is not available, a relative or neighbor designated on the Student Emergency Card will be notified. The parent/guardian may be required to provide written clearance from a physician for the child to return to school if signs of a contagious condition are exhibited or after an extended absence.
Students must provide a doctor’s note if returning to school after an extended absence (more than 5 days) due to illness or injury. The note must state that the student is able to return to school. Students must also provide a doctor’s note after any type of surgery, indicating that they are able to return to school.
A doctor’s note is also required for any student to be excused from gym or outdoor recess, for any medical or health-related reason.
Chapter 76, Section 1A of the Massachusetts General Laws requires parents/guardians to provide the school with a home, work, or other emergency telephone number so that they may be contacted during the school day. Every child must have emergency cards on file. These cards will be sent home the first day of school. Please check over and complete both sides of both cards, make changes if necessary, add emergency numbers, sign, and return both cards as soon as possible, but no later than the first week of September. The card must list someone other than the parents/guardians who can be notified in case a child becomes ill at school and parents/guardians are not available. Please make us aware of any changes to the information on the emergency cards.
People listed on your child’s emergency cards as emergency contacts are just that—they are people we will call in the event of an emergency if we cannot reach you. Having someone listed as an emergency contact does not give that person authorization to dismiss your child under any other circumstances, without your express written consent.
Immunizations and Physicals
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has strict regulations concerning the immunization and physical examinations of children who enter school. Children who do not meet these requirements will not be allowed, under state law, to attend school. Information on immunization requirements is available from the school nurse.
District Medication Policy
In compliance with Massachusetts General Law and for the safety of our students, this medication policy has been written and will be strictly enforced.
I. The policy for administration of medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter, during school hours is as follows:
A. Medication must be accompanied by a MEDICATION PERMISSION FORM signed by both the physician and the parent. A signed physician's order, stipulating specific diagnosis requiring treatment, accompanied by a MEDICATION PERMISSION FORM signed by parent will also be accepted.
B. Medication must be supplied by the parent in the original pharmacy container. (Please ask your pharmacist to provide a second container and send only the amount of medication needed to school.)
C. Medication is kept locked in the nurse's office and is dispensed by the School Nurse. For their own safety and the safety of other students, students are not allowed to carry medication to or during school.
D. All medication orders must be for treatment of specifically diagnosed medical need and must be renewed at the beginning of each school year.
Please have your child’s physician complete a Medication Permission Form any time your child will need to have medication administered during school hours. An adult must transport all medications to school in the original prescription or product container. The doctor’s order must match the label on the pharmacy container. New containers with the new medication order must be obtained when the prescription changes. When medication is discontinued, it must be picked up by an adult within two weeks or it is destroyed. Please note students are not allowed to carry any type of medication with them, either prescription or over-the-counter.
The prevalence of food allergies has increased in the school-aged population. In an effort to provide a safe environment for all students, we respectfully request the cooperation of all families in the implementation of the following policies: Any parent of a student who has a physician-documented food allergy is asked to meet with the nurse at the start of the school year to formulate an appropriate allergy action plan. The parents of children who have physician-documented allergies are asked to send in a supply of non-perishable “safe treats and beverages” that their child may consume when snacks or refreshments are sent in by other families to be shared. These “safe treats and beverages” will be kept in the classroom in a snack box or chest, and given to the child when celebrations occur. Non-food items are preferred for celebrations (i.e., pencils, stickers, etc.)
Universal Precautions for School Settings
Universal precautions refer to the usual and ordinary steps all school staff need to take in order to reduce their risk of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS as well as all other blood-borne organisms (such as the Hepatitis B virus). They are universal because they refer to steps that need to be taken in all cases, not only when a staff member or student is known to be HIV infected. They are precautions because they require foresight and planning and should be integrated into existing safety guidelines. Appropriate equipment (mops, buckets, bleach, hot water, hand soap, disposable towels, and latex gloves) must be readily available to staff members who are responsible for the clean-up of body fluid spills.
1. Treat human blood spills with caution.
2. Clean up blood spills promptly.
3. Inspect the intactness of skin on all exposed body parts, especially the hands. Cover any and all open cuts or broken skin, or ask another staff member to do the clean-up. Latex gloves contribute an added measure of protection, but are not essential if skin is intact.
4. Clean up blood spills with a solution of one part household bleach to ten parts water, pouring the solution around the periphery of the spill. Disinfect mops, buckets, and other cleaning equipment with fresh bleach solution.
5. Always wash hands after any contact with body fluids. This should be done immediately in order to avoid contaminating other surfaces or parts of your body (be especially careful not to touch your eyes before washing up). Soap and water will kill HIV.
6. Clean up other body fluid spills (urine, vomitus, feces), unless grossly blood contaminated, in the usual manner. They do not pose a significant risk of HIV infection.
The entire staff is trained in universal precautions and materials/supplies are readily available. The nurse and classroom teachers instruct children at their level of understanding.
Mass. Health Insurance
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has instituted a program that insures that all children are insured and have access to medical attention as needed. If you are unable to provide insurance for your children, please call the school nurse for information on MASS HEALTH.