Partnering with your Nurse and Doctor
The school nurse should always be your health gateway to the school. You may reach a nurse by email or calling the school. Most nurses do not have a direct line, so you may have to go through the office and ask for the nurse. If they say the nurse is at another school, ask for the number. It is relatively easy to reach most school nurses by phone and some carry mobile phones.
Healthy children can focus on learning
Children need to be in school in order to learn. If your child has a medical problem, the nurse will need to know all the educationally relevant information to manage that health issue and keep him or her in the classroom, learning. Our nurses will create a health plan that is specific to your child.
Nurses also want to hear from your family's doctor (the Primary Care Provider, or PCP), so it is important that they have the forms that authorize direct communication between the two.Physicals
State regulations require all children entering school and in transition years, such as middle and high school, to have physical exams. Immunizations need to be up to date at enrollment. All student athletes need an exam that indicates they are cleared to play and any restrictions are clearly outlined. There also must be information about any previous history of concussions.Children who need accommodations
The ICHP (Individual Collaborative Health Plan) must be completed by the PCP and signed by both the PCP and the student's parent or guardian. The nurse uses this as a road map to designing an Individual Health Plan for that child.Privacy is important
Whenever health information is accepted by the school district it becomes protected educational information under federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act guidelines. This allows for any staff associated with the child’s learning to have access to the information. BPS has established several additional layers of privacy protection, where the nurse, in conjunction with the principal, are the gatekeepers. Parents and doctors may remove information from a child's health records that has no relationship to school prior to submission.Immunizations
The state requires children be up-to-date on immunizations and Boston requires children to be immunized when they register for school.Medical transportation
Students with a documented disability may qualify for medical transportation. BPS guidelines have been established based on local and national standards. The Superintendent's Circular on medical transportation outlines the process and eligibility. Each child is individually reviewed; but completion of the ICHP is required. If there is a question about medical need, please contact the Health Services Medical Director, Dr. Linda Grant, available on Wednesdays or Thursdays.Medication administrationIn order to administer medications to a student during the school day, the school district and/or state regulations requires that medication authorization forms be on file in your child’s health record before we begin to give any medication or make any accommodation at school.
- Medication Authorization: The written medication order form from the PCP should be completed and returned to the school nurse via the family and student. This order must be renewed as needed and at the beginning of each school year. When children come in for their annual Complete Physical Exams, please remember to include the medication authorization.
- Standing Orders are available for over-the-counter medications (with parent or guardian approval). There are also standing orders for Epi Pen administration and a one time nebulizer treatment for a known asthmatic who has not brought any medications or PCP medication orders to the school nurse. Parents can request self-medication options for an older child.
The Massachusetts regulation on home or hospital instruction provides a student receiving a publicly-funded education with the opportunity to make educational progress even when a physician determines that the student is physically unable to attend school. While it is impossible to replicate the total school experience through the provision of home/hospital instruction, a school district must provide, at a minimum, the instruction necessary to enable the student to keep up in his/her courses of study and minimize the educational loss that might occur during the period the student is confined at home or in a hospital.Eligibility: The student is confined to home or a hospital for not less than fourteen school days during the school year, either in one acute episode or if it is known that the child will have repeated absences totaling 14 days or more.Athletic Participation
State regulations require that all students participating in athletic programs must have a physical that clears them for participation within the last 13 months. This should either be a medical history form provided by the family doctor or a physical form from practice, which must indicate clearance status for sports participation and history of any concussions reviewed.Concussions
In order to promote the safety and well-being of young athletes in Massachusetts, the state requires all public schools and other schools that are members of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) to participate in a mandatory sports head injury and concussion awareness program. The law also directs the state to develop regulations to implement the policies specified in the law including: educating athletes and their parents about concussions, the documentation of student athlete’s past head injuries, requirements for taking a student athlete out of play or practice, and certification for “return to play”.Concussion/Head Injury Resources:
Children with special health care needs
- CDC Preventing Concussion fact sheet: English, Spanish
- American Academy of Pediatrics Policy on Concussion
A child who has complex medical needs may do best in a school with a full-time nurse. The deployment of nurses is designed to accommodate the changing needs of medical acuity across the district. As you apply to school, please let the enrollment specialist know your child’s health needs. They will ask you to complete a form about your child’s needs and the Health Services staff will review it.