School nurses collaborate with Dr. Joan Eagan and Dr. James Sheehy, school physicians, and the Westford Board of Health to provide confidential and prompt first aid, illness assessment, nursing care, referrals and health teaching.
If a student needs to take medicine in school:
- According to WPS Policy 5503, the school nurse is the only person allowed to administer medication to students in the Westford Public Schools. For field trips/short term events, the school nurse may delegate the administration of medication to unlicensed personnel.
- If medication is to be given at school, it must be in the pharmacy bottle with the prescription label attached.
- The parent/legal guardian must complete the Medication Administration Orders and Consent Form (available on the WPS website or at the school nurseís office.) Alternately, the parent/legal guardian may send written authorization to the nurse which contains: the parent/legal guardianís printed name, signature and emergency phone number; list of medications the student is currently receiving; approval to have the school nurse administer the medication and names of persons to be notified in case of a medication emergency.
- The licensed prescriber must complete the Medication Administration Orders and Consent Form (available on the WPS website or at the school nurseís office) or send to the school nurse a medication order which contains: the studentís name; name and signature of the licensed prescriber including telephone number; name of medication; the route and dosage of medication; the frequency and time of medication administration; date of the order and discontinuation date; diagnosis and other medical condition (s) and specific directions for administration. If appropriate, please have the licensed prescriber also provide the following information: any special side effects, contraindication and/or adverse reactions to be observed; any other medications being taken by the student and the date of the next scheduled visit to the physician, if known.
- Medications are kept in the Nurses Clinic.
- A Medication Administration Plan should be developed with the nurse, including plans for class trips.
- If your child takes regular medication outside of school, it is suggested you contact the school nurse.
- If your child has an allergy requiring an EpiPen, please contact the nurse to develop an Emergency Health Care Plan.
- Please telephone or meet with the nurse regarding special medication situations: a studentís self-administration of medications; short-term medications; over the counter medications and investigational new drugs.
- Parents/legal guardians should retrieve medications at the end of the school year or they will be properly disposed.
MEDICATION FOUND ON SCHOOL PROPERTY
If a student finds a prescribed or over-the-counter medication on school property, the following protocol will be followed:
- Student should NOT touch the medication
- Student will immediately notify a school administrator and school nurse
- Custodian will retrieve medication and deliver it to the school nurse
- School nurse will interview and check the student who found the medication for any signs of skin contact or ingestion
- School nurse will notify the parents/guardians of the child
- School administrator may contact the Westford Police Department
- School administrator may notify all parents/guardians of students via email and/or memo sent home with students
Documentation of an up-to-date physical examination including a vision screening is required prior to a childís entry to kindergarten. Physical examination documentation is also required in the third grade and when a student transfers to the school district from out of state. School nurses can provide forms for physical examinations, but all health care provider forms are accepted.
Massachusetts School Immunization Law (M.G.L. 76:15) requires that students present documentation of immunization compliance in order to be admitted to school. Exceptions are made only for students with written documentation of medical or religious exemption.
Prior to entering kindergarten students must show proof of the following immunizations: 3 doses of Hepatitis B; 5 doses of DTaP/DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis), 4 doses of Polio, 2 MMR doses (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) and 2 doses of Varicella vaccine.
A single dose of Tdap vaccine will be required for students attending 7th grade if it has been more than five years since the last dose of DtaP, DT or Td. If it has been less than five years since a student received his/her last dose of Dtap, DT or Td, Tdap will not be required, but may be administered according to the judgment of a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
Students entering all other grades must meet current Massachusetts Department of Public Health immunization requirements. School health records are reviewed periodically to determine the immunization status of each student. If it is found that immunization updates are needed, school nurses will telephone parents/legal guardians or send notices home.
Verification of immunizations given at a doctorís office or emergency room should be submitted to the school nurse to update the studentís health record.
LEAD BLOOD SCREENING
Massachusetts law and regulations (105CMR 460.050,060) requires that children present evidence of having been previously screened for lead poisoning as a condition for entry into kindergarten. Lead testing is available at the Westford Board of Health (978 692-5509).
School Health Services staff conduct vision & hearing and height & weight screenings annually:
Vision ñ grades K-5
Hearing ñ grades K-3
Height/Weight ñ grades 1 and 4
Body Mass Index (BMI) grades 1 and 4
Postural screening is conducted annually for all students in grade 5.
Parents/legal guardians will be notified of screening results by letter or telephone only if the student failed a screening examination or requires further care from their health care provider. Findings of these referrals for follow-up should be returned to school to update a child's health record.
In collaboration with the Westford Board of Health, dental screenings are offered in school for students with parental permission. Free dental screenings are offered to kindergarten, grades one, three and five. For grades two and four dental screenings, cleanings and fluoride treatments are offered for a small fee. Permission slips are sent home to all eligible students.
MEDICAL EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL
A student may be dismissed or excluded from school for any of the following reasons:
- Temperature over 100.4 F (oral temperature)
- Disruptive cough or cough with fever
- Severe abdominal pain or headache
- Suspected communicable disease
- Suspected pediculosis (head lice)
- Suspected fractures or any severe or disabling injury
- Questionable need for sutures
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Head injury
- Antibiotic therapy started less than 24 hours before returning to school
- Immunizations which are not up to date
Ultimately, it is at the discression of the school nurse to dismiss a student for medical reasons.
WELLNESS: EXCUSES FROM INSTRUCTION
Physical education is required of all students unless excused by a physician's written excuse. This written excuse must be given to the physical education teacher.
Proper dress is required for all wellness classes. This includes comfortable clothing and sneakers for all students.