Staff contact, student medication, illness procedures, and more
Sarah O'Connor, School Health Aide
Laura Furnary, Public Health Nurse
When to Stay Home
- Students with symptoms such as rashes, watery and inflamed eyes, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea should stay home until a doctor evaluates their symptoms and determines whether or not they are contagious. The Fairfax County Department of Health recommends that children remain home fever-free for 24 hours after an illness prior to returning to school. Remember to call the Attendance Line at 703-242-6161 to report your child’s absence and please state the symptoms of your child's illness. Please visit the FCPS page on student health and absences.
When calling the attendance line or completing the online attendance form, please leave the following information: Please leave your student’s name, teacher name, and specific information regarding the reason for your student’s absence. If your student is ill, and has seen a health care provider, please be specific about your student’s condition. Examples include strep throat or pink eye. If your student is ill, but has not seen a health care provider, please be specific about your student’s symptoms. Examples include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, or vomiting
Taking Your Child Home
- Our clinic works to control and manage student exposure to contagious diseases. We will call you if your child exhibits symptoms of illness, such as:
- Fever over 100 degrees
- Persistent abdominal pain
- Unexplained rash
- Head lice
- Inflamed eyes with discharge
- A persistent cough
- We ask that you make arrangements to pick up your child as soon as possible. It is important to have all emergency numbers up to date in case we need to contact you. Anyone picking up your child must show identification.
A Physician's Note
- Some rashes, pink eye, strep throat, impetigo, ringworm, and scabies can be passed from one student to another. To protect all our students, we require a note from a physician for any child with symptoms of these illnesses. The note must state that the child is not contagious before he or she can return to school. Also, please provide notes for limitations due to sprains, strains or fractures of the upper and/or lower body.
Health Information Form
- The Health Information Form is to be completed by the parent or guardian at the start of each school year. The completed form is to be returned to the school clinic.
- Children who need to take medication during school hours must have a signed Medication Authorization, Release, and Indemnification Form. Prescription medications require the signature of both the parent and the physician. Inhalers and EpiPens® require authorization forms.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are drugs that can be purchased without a healthcare provider’s prescription and are used for the relief of symptoms on a temporary basis. With parent and physician authorization, OTC medications may be given on an "as needed" basis throughout the school year. Parents may authorize limited use for 10 consecutive days with a completed Medication Authorization Form (such as cough medicine for cold symptoms). OTC medications for pain relief ONLY for headaches, muscle aches, menstrual cramps or orthodontic pain may be given with parental permission and appropriate documentation. The medication must be supplied by the parent in its original container. Examples include Tylenol, Advil, Pamprin®.
Transport of Medications to and from School
- Parents must transport medications to and from school. All medications must be kept in the Health Room and taken under adult supervision. Only certain emergency medications, such as diabetes medications, Epipen® and inhalers may be carried with the authorization of their parent(s) and physician.
Scheduling Medical Appointments
- Please make every effort to schedule appointments outside of school hours. When this is not possible, please send a note to the school on the morning of the appointment stating the time the child will be picked up. Children should bring appointment notes to the attendance secretary before homeroom. The student's name will then be shown on an early dismissal list so teachers will know the student is not out of class. For safety reasons, parents must sign out children in the office.
Release of Student from School
- Only those individuals designated on the Emergency Care Information form will be contacted either to excuse or take your student home. If the Health Room contacts you to excuse your student from school, the Health Room requires the emergency contact to sign the child out per school procedure. In a health emergency, 911 will be called prior to contacting the parent.
The School Health Services Program is an extension of the Fairfax County Health Department. School Health Services staff and other Health Department employees work together to: School Health Aides (SHAs) and Public Health Nurses (PHNs) are Fairfax County Health Department employees who work with Fairfax County Public Schools staff. Together, they promote a safe and healthy educational environment by providing health support services in the school setting.
School Health Aides…
- Are trained paraprofessionals assigned to work in the Fairfax County Public Schools school health rooms during school hours.
- Provide care of illness or injury that occur during school hours based on standard protocols and guidelines.
- Help to ensure students take medications appropriately.
- Coordinate mandated vision and hearing health screenings for students.
- Respond to health emergencies.
- Monitor student absence data.
Public Health Nurses…
- Assess students by reviewing the information provided by parents.
- Coordinates care and if indicated, develops individual care plans to support the student with a health condition during the educational day.
- Train teachers, administrators and other school staff to support individual student health needs.
- Develop and implement health promotion and disease prevention programs to educate the school community about public health concerns such as nutrition, fitness, chronic disease and emotional well-being.
- Supervise, train and work closely with School Health Aides in multiple schools.
- Investigate reports of communicable disease and increased absences in schools.
- Play an important role in school health by providing documented health information about their children, which includes filling out a Health Information Form each year.
- Notify school health room staff any time their child’s health needs changed to ensure the necessary in-school supports are provided.
- Set policy and guidelines for school health to follow federal, state and local mandates.
- Promote healthy nutrition and fitness through the school curriculum.
- Support health needs of the students by participating in training and education provided by the PHN.
- Participate in education and training provided by PHNs.
- Promote health and wellness in the school community.