September Nursing Department Update

Our school nurses are preparing for the reopening of schools and we look forward to welcoming our students back in the safest way possible during this pandemic. For the health and safety of all of our students and staff, there are several important items to be aware of.


When your child is sick at home

For the health and safety of our students and staff, it is essential that your child does not come to school if they are sick or exhibiting possible symptoms of the COVID-19.  Each morning before school, please ensure that your child feels well and does not show or express to you any of the following symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chill
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Headache (when in combination with one or more other symptoms)
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, when in combination with one or more other symptoms
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms


Notifying the school of your child’s absence

When you call the school to report your child’s absence, please state the specific symptoms your child is experiencing. If your child has COVID-19-like symptoms, the school nurse will contact you to advise you of the requirements that must be met before your child returns to school. 


When your child becomes sick at school

If your child develops any of the above symptoms while at school, you will be contacted to pick up your child as soon as possible. Students who are ill will be assessed by the school nurse and, if determined to potentially be COVID-19 related, will remain in our medical dismissal waiting room until they can go home. Your child will not be allowed to take the school bus home.


Return to School  

There are certain requirements that must be met before your child may return to school after COVID-19-like symptoms, or after a positive test result, or if they are a close contact of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. Your child may not return to school until the school nurse has notified you that the child may return to school.  This is the case even if your child’s health care provider has cleared the child to return to school.  For the health and safety of our students and staff, there are no exceptions to this requirement. 


Emergency Contact Information

Please complete BOTH SIDES of the student health information cards that will be sent home on the first day of school. Please provide at least four emergency contacts (in addition to the parent contact information) whom the school may call to pick up the child from school. 


Masks

Students in grades K-12 are required to wear masks while in school and on school grounds, except during mask breaks, and should bring their own masks to school each day. Please refer to the MPS policy on masks. 

 

Handwashing/Hand Sanitizers

Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19 and other illnesses, and when your students return to school, they will be asked to wash their hands throughout the school day to help keep themselves and others healthy.  Hand washing is the preferred method for removing germs, however, soap and water is not always readily available.  When hand washing is not possible, students will be asked to use hand sanitizer at school; alcohol based hand sanitizers work by killing certain germs that “sit” on the skin.  

Hand sanitizers are regulated by the FDA and are considered to be over the counter (OTC) medications.  This letter is to notify you that you have the ability to opt your child out of using hand sanitizer at school.   If you DO NOT want your student to use hand sanitizer during the school day, please notify your child’s school nurse in writing.  If you consent to having your student use hand sanitizer at school, no further action is necessary.  

PLEASE DO NOT SEND HAND SANITIZER IN WITH YOUR CHILD TO USE IN SCHOOL.  Bringing hand sanitizer from home is strictly prohibited.

 

Immunizations and Physical Examination

It is especially important for all of our MPS students to be immunized against contagious illness and disease. The Massachusetts requirements for immunizations for school entry have not been waived; therefore, your child must be up to date with their vaccinations in order to attend school.  This year,  Massachusetts regulations require all students to have the flu vaccine prior to 12/31/2020.  By that date, please send in a copy of your child’s immunization record showing that they did receive this vaccine. 

Yearly physical examinations are important to monitor your child’s growth and development, and for continued health and wellness. Massachusetts regulations require physical examinations for students prior to school entry and every few years in certain grades. For students in grades K, 4, 7 and 10, please provide the school nurse with a copy of your child’s recent physical examination and updated immunizations.

 

Vision and Hearing Screenings and Height and Weight Measurements at School 

Massachusetts has suspended the requirements for schools to conduct the above health screenings for the 2020-2021 school year. 

 

Communication

It is vital that our school nurses and parents/guardians communicate with each other and address medical questions or concerns that may arise over the course of this school year. You have an essential role in helping to ensure that students do not come to school when they are not feeling well and do not return to school until explicitly cleared to do so by the school nurse. Please contact your child’s school nurse with any questions. A directory of our school nurses is available on the MPS health services website.