Management of chronic health conditions is the responsibility of many individuals and entities. The following section provides guidance on these responsibilities.
• Ensure that every school is staffed by a full-time nurse who is responsible for meeting the health needs of all students in accordance with appropriate protocols and guidelines.
• Provide a safe and healthy school environment.
• Develop, coordinate, and implement necessary training programs for staff that will be responsible for chronic illness care tasks at school and school-related activities.
• Develop and implement procedures to safeguard student health and safety on school buses.
• Ensure that staff are knowledgeable about and comply with applicable Federal laws, including Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504, and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
• Ensure that staff are knowledgeable about any State or local laws or district policies that affect the implementation of students' rights under Federal law.
School Administrator Responsibilities
• Communicate with school nurse to identify students with chronic conditions.
• Clarify the roles and obligations of all school staff, and provide education and communication systems necessary to ensure that students' health and educational needs are met in a safe and coordinated manner.
• Implement strategies that reduce disruption in the student's school activities, including physical education, recess, offsite events, extracurricular activities, and field trips.
• Communicate regularly with families and as authorized/necessary with the student's health care providers.
• Ensure that the school’s health services are staffed in a manner that enables each student to receive prescribed medications in a safe, reliable, and effective manner and to have access to needed medication at all times during the school day and at school-related activities.
• The school administrator will notify parents of identified children in the event that a school nurse will be not be in school on any given day; the school administrator and the parents will establish and agree to an alternative plan to ensure the child's health needs are met in the nurse's absence.
• Ensure that all staff who interact with the student receive appropriate guidance and training on routine needs, precautions, and emergency actions.
• Ensure proper record keeping, including appropriate measures to both protect confidentiality and to share information.
• Promote a supportive learning environment that views students with chronic illnesses the same as other students except to respond to health needs.
• Communicate with school nurse to identify and care for students with chronic conditions.
• Within the first two weeks of school, if appropriate, educate classmates to avoid endangering, isolating, stigmatizing or harassing students with chronic illness. Be aware of how any student with a chronic illness is being treated; enforce school rules about bullying and threats.
• Leave necessary health care information for substitute teachers.
• Individual Health Care Plans (IHCPs) will be developed and implemented as necessary according to each student's health needs. Key staff and the child's family must approve the plan. The plan may be incorporated into a 504 plan if the child's needs will be covered by this legislation. The 504 plan should include accommodations for classroom and standardized testing (including but not limited to MCAS, PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP) as warranted. School nurses perform the essential coordination role in this process which includes planning, communication, care coordination, and ongoing collaboration among parents/guardians, and school personnel.
• Nursing staff shall follow standards of care delineated in the Nurse Practice Act and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Comprehensive School Health Manual and in accordance with the orders, guidelines and protocols approved by the School Physician.
School Counselor Responsibilities
• Convene a meeting to discuss health accommodations and educational aids and services that the student may need and to develop a 504 Plan, Individualized Education Program (IEP), or other school plan, as appropriate.
o Meeting participants should include the family, student (if appropriate), school nurse, 504/IEP coordinator (as applicable), individuals trained to assist the student, and the teacher who has primary responsibility for the student. Health care provider input may be provided in person or in writing.
• Be knowledgeable about various chronic illnesses and the effects those illnesses may have on a student's ability to access an education.
• Be aware of appropriate resources in their schools and communities; as appropriate, share that information with school personnel, families, siblings, and students at the school.
• Be familiar with school district policies, special education and 504 regulations.
• Be familiar with available services and how to access these services. Provide support to parents in linking them with appropriate services.
• Arrange accommodations for standardized testing as necessary.
• Notify the school of the student's health management needs and diagnosis when appropriate. Notify schools as early as possible and whenever the student's health needs change.
• Communicate with the school nurse regarding your child's health needs and provide appropriate documentation.
• Participate in the development of a school plan to implement the student's health needs:
o Authorize appropriate exchange of information between school health program staff and the student's personal health care providers.
o Communicate significant changes in the student's needs or health status promptly to appropriate school staff.
o Communicate changes in contact information for your family or health care providers as necessary.
• Provide an adequate supply of student's medication to the school nurse according to the medication regulation. Medication should be provided no later than the first week of school or as soon as possible after a medication change.
• Educate the student to develop age-appropriate self-care skills.
• Be in regular contact with your child's teachers to determine if your child's health condition is affecting his/her schoolwork or behavior.
• Notify the bus driver and all after school activities, programs, athletics, etc. of all relevant health information regarding your child. Provide treatment supplies as appropriate. Be aware that the school nurse does not share health information with individuals working with children after school hours. The nurse is in the school building beginning 10 minutes before the start of school each day until one half-hour after the close of school each day. When the nurse is not in the building, the nurse's office is secured and there is no access to information, equipment or supplies.
• Notify an adult about concerns and needs in managing his or her symptoms or the school environment.
• Participate in the care and management of his or her health as appropriate to his or her developmental level.
The Wellness Advisory Committee shall be responsible for the routine review of this policy.
ADOPTED: 27 August 2009
REVISED: 24 October 2013