WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME FROM SCHOOL
Because students are in close contact with one another during the school day, diseases spread easily through the school. We try to prevent this as much as possible through education and encouragement of frequent hand washing, proper diet and rest. However, children do get sick. We ask you to keep your child at home for the following reasons:
-has a temperature of 100 degrees or more. Temperatures should be normal for 24 hours before s/he returns to school.
-has been diagnosed with a strep infection. Your child should be on antibiotics for 24 hours before returning to school.
-has been vomiting during the night or before school
-has persistent diarrhea during the night or before school.
-has red swollen eyes that itch and are draining pus or have a crusty appearance upon awakening.
-has a productive cough that cannot be controlled with medication
If your child has been diagnosed with a communicable illness, please contact the school nurse to discuss when your child should return to school. Examples include, but are not limited to chicken pox, impetigo, scabies, and ringworm.
ILLNESS/INJURY AT SCHOOL
Students who become ill/injured at school are sent to the nurse’s office where their illness/injury is assessed by appropriate personnel. If the child needs to go home, the health room staff will contact the parent or guardian who has legal custody to come to school to take the child home. If the parent is not available the staff will contact the alternates that are listed on the emergency card.
VISION AND HEARING SCREENINGS
Vision screening will be done with all students during the year. Hearing screening is done with students in grades K-3, 7 and 11. Also students who failed the screening the previous year, or whose teacher indicates a concern will be screened. All students who fail either screening will receive a referral for follow up by their medical provider. Completed forms should be returned to the school nurse. An immediate concern should be directed to your family doctor.
Scoliosis is a lateral and rotary curvature of the spine, most commonly found during the adolescent growth period. A Scoliosis Screening is a systematic observation of the spine to detect deviations from normal. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has adopted regulations requiring each child in grades 6 and 7 and age appropriate (11 and 12 years of age) children in ungraded classes to be screened for scoliosis. It is estimated that approximately 4% of school-age children will have a curvature in varying degrees. The effect of scoliosis depends upon its severity, how early it is detected, and how promptly it is treated. Early identification and management of scoliosis is the purpose of the state screening program. The goal of a mass scoliosis screening program mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s regulations is the prevention of severe spinal deformity and its consequence.
Physical exams are required in grades K, 6th, and 11th. Most parents prefer to have the exam completed by their child’s own physician. If you do not have insurance to cover the cost of the exam, please contact the school nurse for assistance.
Dental exams are required in grades K, 3rd, and 7th. Most parents prefer to have the exam completed by their own dentist. If you do not have dental insurance to cover the cost of the exam, a screening exam can be completed by the school dental hygienist with written permission.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, head lice infestation is common in the United States among children 3 to 12 years of age; approximately 6 to 12 million have infestations each year. Lice are parasites that have been around for as long as people can remember. Anyone can get lice. They are not associated with disease, but can be difficult to destroy, and treatments can be costly and result in missed work and school time. In addition, there is evidence that they are becoming resistant to current treatments, much like bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Head lice are generally spread by direct, head to head contact with a person who is infested with live lice. Avoiding head to head contact is the best prevention. If your child’s head itches, check for lice! You may also wish to do the following:
- Teach your children not to use a comb, brush, hat or towel that belongs to someone else.
- Once a week check the heads of all of your family members for lice and eggs (nits).
Lice are grayish-white or light brown insects that crawl on or near the scalp. They are one-eight to one-fourth inch in length. Lice require a food source to survive, sucking blood from the scalp, which can cause itching and a tickling sensation. An unknown number of nits remaining on the hair after the first treatment will hatch into lice within a week to 10 days. For this reason, it is very important to apply a second treatment in 7-10 days to kill any newly hatched lice.
The eggs or nits are teardrop-shaped and are firmly attached to the hairs, usually within one-half inch of the scalp. They do not flick off, and therefore, can be distinguished from dandruff.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2010) Clinical Report on Head Lice “no-nit policies for return to school should be abandoned.” If you find nits or live lice on your child’s head and need advice about treatment, your school nurse will be able to advise you. You may also wish to consult your doctor or a pharmacist. Upon returning to school, the student must report to the school nurses office with a parent/guardian or parent/designee so that a school nurse or HRT may confirm that the student is free from live lice. The nurse maintains confidentiality. If live lice are still present, the parent/guardian will be asked to take the student home and treatment procedures will be reviewed. If live lice are present after several treatments, the parents will be advised to contact their physician for advice.
Per AACP (2010) “Head lice screening programs have not been proven to have a significant effect over time on the incidence of head lice in the school setting and are not cost effective. Parent education programs may be helpful in the management of head lice in the school setting.”
Information about lice and treatment for lice can also be found at the following sites:
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Growth and development will be taught in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades for girls and in 5th and 6th grades for boys. The school nurse and/or physical education teacher will teach these presentations. The video and handouts for these presentations are available for parents to preview in your child’s school. Contact the school nurse to make arrangements if you would to preview these materials.
The Pennsylvania State Laws require that information on AIDS be included in our curriculum. We also believe that to totally educate our students, it is our responsibility to present up-to-date information and emphasize the importance of healthful living. The video and handouts for these presentations are available for parents to preview in your child’s school . If you find this information objectionable and would like to have your child excused from this topic, please notify the school in writing.
As part of the Department of Health’s Required Growth Screening Program, all Pennsylvania families with school-aged children in kindergarten through twelfth grades are to receive notification informing them of their child’s height, weight, BMI, and BMI percentile. A child whose BMI percentile 85 percent or greater of their peers may be considered at-risk for being overweight. A child whose BMI percentile is equal to or greater than 95 percent of his peers is considered overweight. A BMI percentile less than 5 percent is considered underweight. The BMI measurement is considered a screening tool and is not a definitive measure of overweight as it does have limitations. Some athletes may have higher than expected BMI percentiles due to increased muscle mass. The BMI screenings will be done in the future and results will be posted on parent portal of Sapphire. Please call the nurse at your child’s school if you have any questions about the results or would like a paper copy. Being overweight has many serious effects on a child’s well-being, now and in the future. Maintaining a healthy weight will lessen the chance of your child developing medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. It may also help your child/children feel better about them selves and reduce their risk for depression. Keeping in mind that BMI measurement is only a health screening, please share the letter with your doctor, and if necessary, discuss steps that your family can take to lead a healthier life. The letter is being sent home because, when it comes to preventing children from becoming overweight, we know that parents can make a difference.