A school nurse assigned to West is available five days a week for emergencies. The school nurse, principal, and secretaries are responsible for the services of the school clinic.
Your RISD Health Services team is ready and anticipating your children’s smiling faces. Even behind a mask :) As you can imagine, we have implemented some specific changes to our clinics and processes this year.
Each day it is going to be imperative that you monitor and screen your child’s health prior to sending them to school for new, unexpected or worsening symptoms that include: feeling feverish, a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, a loss of taste or smell, coughing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, a headache, chills, a sore throat, shaking or exaggerated shivering, significant muscle ache or pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your student has any of those symptoms we ask that you keep your student home. Communication with your school nurse will be very important throughout the year. Please make sure you keep the nurse and front office informed of current phone numbers and email addresses to ensure this communication happens.
We look forward to continuing the medical care of your student(s) throughout the school day. Here are some important changes summarized for you from the RISD Blueprint (pgs. 10-11)
- RISD staff will only administer those medications that must be given during the school day. If the therapeutic use of the medication can be accomplished by dosage outside of the school day, the medication should not be administered at school.
- The first dose of a new prescription must be administered to the student by the parent who then must stay with the student for 30 minutes.
- All prescription medication must have a prescription label bearing the student's name, the name of the drug, and instructions for dosage.
- Non-prescription medicine must be in a properly labeled, original container including the student's name, the name of the drug, and explicit instructions for giving. Non-prescription medicine may be kept in the clinic for 10 days; after that, a note or fax from the doctor is required.
- A medication request form signed by a parent or guardian must accompany all medications. Medication forms are available from the nurse. Medication must be brought to school by the parent, not the student.
- Any unused medication shall be destroyed two weeks after the last dosage if not otherwise instructed by the parent. The parent may pick up medication in the clinic. Medication will not be sent home with the student.
- Nurses will determine processes for medication administration, keeping healthy students separate from those complaining of illness. Medication administration may occur (where confidentiality permits) in the classroom, in another room within the school, or in the clinic. Medication administration may be delegated to other staff designated by the principal.
- Students with asthma, anaphylaxis, or other life-threatening conditions will be encouraged to carry and/or self-administer medication prescribed (if it is developmentally appropriate) for these conditions provided the physician and the parent/ guardian provide permission for the student to do so on the medication administration paperwork. All students who self-carry medication at school are still required to complete and provide the appropriate paperwork to their campus nurse.
- Symptoms of asthma and COVID-19 may overlap, including cough and shortness of breath. Parents should collaborate with the campus nurse and personal healthcare provider to determine the best option for what to do when their child experiences an acute asthma attack.
- According to the CDC, during this COVID-19 pandemic, asthma treatments using inhalers with spacers are preferred over nebulizer treatments. Aerosols generated by nebulizer treatments are potentially infectious, allowing virus particles to spread throughout an entire area exposing other students and staff. Schools do not have designated areas where nebulizers can be performed as hospitals do. If students require a nebulizer at school, a physician note will be required explaining why that student cannot use an inhaler with a spacer during this time when it is not recommended.
- Students with seasonal allergies will be permitted in school. Students that have significant sneezing and coughing may be referred to the clinic so that the campus nurse can work with that parent to achieve better control. We recommend speaking to your physician now if your child has an on-going need for allergy management.
- Nurses will determine processes for performing medical procedures to maintain a clean area where the student will not be exposed to others. Medical procedures may take place in the classroom (where confidentiality permits), in another room within the school, or in the clinic.
When will the nurse call a parent/guardian during the school day?
In an effort to streamline communication, and to align expectations, campus nurses may call home for the following issues. If there are issues you wish to be notified of that are not on this list, please reach out to your campus nurse.
- When a student meets exclusion guidelines (fever, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, COVID-19 symptoms, rashes, pink eyes, wounds, scabies, ringworm, etc) and needs to be picked up.
- Injuries that may require additional medical intervention or follow up (fractures, lacerations)
- When a student is low on medication or supplies
- When a student has a medical condition that requires on-going notification of assessments related to their care following MD orders and their individual health plan. (Type 1 Diabetics, Seizure disorder)
- When requesting clarification in regards to student illness or health condition
- To remind you of upcoming immunization requirements
Health Services is diligently seeking educational opportunities to help our students remain healthy. Please let us know if you have a concern regarding the clinic and how it will operate for the school year. We encourage you to read the RISD Blueprint as well to address many aspects that weren’t mentioned specifically in this letter.
Katie Ardon, BSN, RN
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