WELCOME TO HEALTH SERVICES!
Holiday Wishes and Information
The goal of Health Services is to promote and protect the physical and emotional well-being of the students and staff at our school. We believe that encouraging healthy choices and lifestyles in adolescents enhances their academic achievement as well as helping them become healthy and successful adults.
The Health Office is staffed by a full time registered nurse, licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Education. We also have a school physician, Jonathon Schwab, MD, who is available to the school nurse for consultation.
The school nurse provides on-site health services to the school community such as first aid, medication administration, health counseling and education. She helps identify health problems in students and supports those with chronic illnesses so they can fully participate in school. She also oversees the state required immunization and health screening programs. In addition to providing direct services, the school nurse is a member of the Interdisciplinary Team, which addresses the needs of at-risk students, the Wellness Committee and the Health Advisory Board. She is always available to provide health resource information for students, staff and families, including access to health insurance for uninsured individuals.
The Health Office is located in Building B on the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School campus and is open Monday through Friday from 7:35 am to 2:20 pm during the school year. During the summer, hours are more sporadic but you can call or email the school nurse and she will try to get back to you as soon as she can. For questions needing a prompt reply, it is best to call the main office during summer hours. The Health Office phone number is: 413-587-1416.
When to Keep Your Child at Home
Keeping your child at home when he or she is sick is important for their recuperation as well as preventing the spread of disease to others at school. Remember, hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of any illness! Here are some guidelines for deciding when to keep your child at home:
If your child has a fever over 100 degrees, please keep them at home until they are fever free for 24 hours.
Children with redness and discharge from one or both of their eyes should be kept home and evaluated by their care provider.
If they are prescribed antibiotic ointment for their eyes, they should remain at home for 24 hours after the treatment has begun.
If your child has symptoms such as a rash, lethargy, a severe, persistent sore throat or cough or difficulty breathing they should be kept at home and their doctor called.
Keep your child at home if they have diarrhea or are vomiting. They should remain at home for at least 12 hours after the symptoms have subsided. Consult your care provider for persistent or worsening symptoms or if your child has weakness or a fever.
Sending your ill child to school to be evaluated by the school nurse does not mean they will have an excused absence.
Medication at School
Standing orders by the school physician allows for the administration of acetaminophen, ibuprofen or Tums by the school nurse to your child at school only if written permission is granted by the parent/guardian on the Emergency Health Form on file in the nurse’s office. According to regulations established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Department of Public Health, any other prescription or over the counter medication cannot be carried or taken at school without a signed Prescriber’s Medication Order Form and Parent/Guardian Medication Form on file in the Nurse’s Office. All medications must be brought to school by the parent/guardian or a responsible adult in its original pharmacy container.
Emergency/Health Forms will be sent home with the students at the beginning of each school year. This form gives the school nurse current contact information in case of illness or an emergency, as well as an annual update of any medical issues. It also includes a section at the end, where parents can check off permission for the school nurse to administer acetaminophen, ibuprofen of Tums to their child according to signed standing orders by the school physician. Per school policy, students will not be allowed in shop after one week if the emergency form is not filled out and returned to the school nurse.
Immunization and Physical Exam Requirements
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires that all students present an up to date immunization record and physical exam (within the last 365 days) upon admission to Smith Vocational. These records must be on file in the nurse’s office by the first day of school.
If your child is planning on participating in athletics, he or she must have a yearly exam on file, dated no further than 12 months from the first day of practice, in order to play. You also must fill out the MIAA form-see FORMS below.
The school nurse conducts the following yearly state mandated screenings:
Hearing and Vision-10th grade
Heights and weights with BMI (Body Mass Index) calculation-10th grade
Postural (scoliosis)-9th grade
If any referral is needed, the school nurse will send a letter to the parent/guardian who will need to schedule an appointment with their child’s provider for evaluation. Their findings and recommendations should be sent back to the school nurse so she can provide follow-up if necessary.
Student Accident Medical Insurance Protection
Smith Vocational offers optional Student Accident Insurance through Lefebvre Insurance, LLC. Student Accident Insurance is designed as supplemental cover. It assists parents with out-of-pocket expenses they may have after their own insurance has considered an accident that their child sustained. Those expenses may include, but are not limited to, deductible, co-payments, co insurance and non-covered services. It is not to be considered a substitute for regular health insurance as required by Massachusetts Law.
Many parents have the misconception that anything that happens to their child while at school is the school’s responsibility. With the exception of negligence, for which the school has liability insurance, there is no coverage for the child who simply has an accident at school As such, the Student Accident Insurance is an extremely affordable second layer of coverage that parents can purchase. The student Insurance also offer a 24Hour plan, which covers the students for accidents that may occur while they are out of school, and that coverage continues through the summer when school is not in session.
If you are interested in this coverage, please print the brochure and mail the application and check to Lefebvre.
Effective August 15, 2022. Guidance for Children and Staff in K-12 Settings:
Quarantine is no longer required nor recommended for children or staff in these settings, regardless of vaccination status or where the exposure occurred. All exposed individuals may continue to attend programming as long as they remain asymptomatic. Those who can mask should do so until Day 10, and it is recommended that they test on Day 6 of exposure. If symptoms develop, follow the guidance for symptomatic individuals, below.
Children and staff who test positive must isolate for at least 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving and they have been fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours, they may return to programming after Day 5 and should wear a high-quality mask through Day 10:
If the individual is able to mask, they must do so through Day 10.
If the child has a negative test on Day 5 or later, they do not need to mask.
If the individual is unable to mask, they may return to programming with a negative test on Day 5 or later.
Symptomatic individuals can remain in their school or program if they have mild symptoms, are tested immediately onsite, and that test is negative. Best practice would also include wearing a mask, if possible until symptoms are fully resolved. For symptomatic individuals, DPH recommends a second test within 48 hours if the initial test is negative.
If the symptomatic individual cannot be tested immediately, they should be sent home and allowed to return to their program or school if symptoms remain mild and they test negative, or they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and their symptoms are resolving, or if a medical professional makes an alternative diagnosis. A negative test is strongly recommended for return.
Information Regarding School Immunization Requirements