Contacting the School Nurse & When To Stay Home

DPH School Health Manual - Revised 2007MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL HEALTH MANUAL

When to Call the School Nurse:

Sharing this information will allow the school nurse to better safeguard the health of each student, especially in times of emergency. In addition to the above guidelines, parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the school nurse with any questions or problems.

Newly diagnosed health problem (seizures, diabetes, asthma, allergy, stomach issues, immune disorder)

Newly prescribed daily medication or a change in dose of current medication

Documentation of immunization or boosters

Contagious or communicable disease such as chickenpox, flu, strep throat, whooping cough, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, or head lice

Head Injury Or Concussion

Health issues that may affect school performance, e.g., vision or hearing, attention deficit  disorder

Health problem that may affect school attendance

Treatment for any problem that may impair safety or mobility during the school day or restrict gym or recess, e.g., broken bones, orthopedic problem, on crutches, mononucleosis, recent surgery, upcoming surgery, concussions, or any head injury

Family experiencing a problem and needing support, assistance, or a referral for help, e.g., death in the family, change in marital status, parenting issues, substance abuse, mental health problems


Massachusetts Communicable/Infectious Disease Guidelines


If your child has a communicable illness, please notify your child's school nurse. Before returning to school, your child will need to be checked by the school nurse or have a certificate from your doctor (contact the school nurse to see which is applicable).     

 

Impetigo: 24 hours after medical treatment has begun, lesions must be covered in school.

Meningitis/Bacterial: 24 hours after antibiotic therapy has begun.

Meningitis/Viral: No restrictions.

Meningococcal Infections without Meningitis: 24 hours after start of treatment.

Pinworm: Students do not need to be excluded assuming treatment has begun.

Ringworm: 24 hours after treatment has begun. 

Scabies: Note from Doctor that child has been treated and may return.

Scarlet Fever: 12 hours after starting antibiotics and fever has been resolved for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications.

Strep Throat: 12 hours after starting antibiotics and fever has been resolved for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications.


When to Keep Your Student Home:


For the protection of your child as well as the school community, students should be kept home from school or will be dismissed from school under the following circumstances:

The child has a communicable disease. Students who are prescribed antibiotics for strep throat infection or impetigo (for example) must complete 24 hours of treatment before returning to school. For all other communicable diseases, the student may return to school based on Massachusetts Department of Public Health Guidelines (see below). 

The child has a temperature of over 100 degrees. The student may return after he/she is fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducers.

The child has an eye infection that has not been diagnosed by a physician. Students may return the day after any indicated treatment has begun for bacterial conjunctivitis, unless the child is at a developmental level that prevents them following standard precautions. Conjunctivitis is not an emergency, so students who are identified as having symptoms at school do not need to be sent home from school that day. Parents will be informed that symptoms were noticed. Infected students and staff can return the day after any indicated treatment has begun for bacterial conjunctivitis. Parents/guardians should notify the school if the health care provider decides not to prescribe medication. Individuals with viral conjunctivitis should still be presumed contagious until symptoms have resolved, but transmission can be controlled with adequate hand hygiene and individuals are allowed in school.

The child has persistent coughing or trouble breathing. He/she may need to be evaluated for asthma, or a serious respiratory infection.

The child has an undiagnosed rash. Rashes may need to be evaluated by a physician to rule out communicable disease.

The child has diarrhea which cannot be managed by the child’s ability to use the toilet or able to be contained in a diaper. Diarrhea is defined as multiple loose watery stools unrelated to food, medication or a diagnosed chronic condition. The student may return when he/she has been symptom free for 24 hours.

Individuals need not be excluded or sent home early from school because of head lice. Parents/guardians of affected children should be notified and informed that their children must be properly treated and may return to school on the day after treatment. Other close contacts may be checked to determine if there are other cases.

The child has an illness that prevents him/her from participating comfortably in activities as determined by the staff.


           MassPATSCHOOL HEALTH SERVICES
 


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