Frequently Asked Questions
My child needs to take medication during the school day. Can the school nurse administer the medication?
The school nurse is not authorized to treat students for illness. Students with cold symptoms should take their medication at home prior to arriving at school. The use of medication during the school day is discouraged.
However, if it is determined that your child requires medication during the school day, the Department of Education and the Board of Nursing require the following:
- Written parent permission for the administration of the medication at school
- A legal order from a physician or nurse practitioner, detailing the diagnosis or type of illness being treated, the name of the drug, dosage, time of administration and the side effects.
(A form for the above, “Authorization for Administration of Medication”, Is available on this website and in each health office)
- The medication should be brought to the school in the original prescription-labeled container.
All medication is to be kept in the school health office in a locked cabinet and administered by the school nurse.
Under certain conditions, the nurse may administer medications such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen and Benadryl to a student using the school “Standing Orders” issued by our district medical inspector. But these situations are very limited and the Standing Orders are designed to relieve symptoms on a one-time basis only.Can my child carry his or her own medication?
The only medications approved for self-administration in the school setting are Epinephrine Auto Injectors (for the emergency administration of Epinephrine), Asthma Inhalers, and a few other emergency medications.
Moreover, only students with self-administration orders on file in the health office are allowed to have medication in their possession (or in their backpack or locker). Self administration of medication is a privilege granted to students whose parents and physicians have authorized it.
(A form, “Authorization for Self-Administration” is available on this website and in each health office.)Why do I need to provide a doctor's order if my child needs an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol, Advil or cough syrup.
Nurses practice within the jurisdiction of the Board of Nursing and within the confines of the Nurse Practice Act. As such, no medication can be administered by a nurse without a physician's order. This is the case in hospitals, doctor's offices, outpatient clinics and schools. It is illegal for a nurse to administer medication without this order. In addition, as stated above, the Department of Education also requires written parent approval for medication to be administered in schools.Is a pharmacy label the same thing as a doctor's order?
No. A legal doctor's order must list information that is not included on a pharmacy label and it must be signed by the prescribing physician.My child has been sick. How do I know if they can come back to school?
The school district, in consultation with the school medical inspector, has issued guidelines for the minimum exclusion period for specific illnesses. These guidelines, known as the “Minimum Exclusion Times for Contagious Illness” are posted on this website.
These parameters are established to insure the health of the entire school community. Please keep in mind that the exclusion times listed are minimum requirements. Students, if they are not feeling well, are encouraged to spend more time recuperating from illness as they need it. The health of the school community depends on all of us!
My child has a chronic health condition. How can I work with the school to ensure that her special needs are met during the school day?
Your school nurse, in collaboration with you, will devise an Individualized Health Care Plan. This document is a “blueprint” for your child's care while in school. It is meant to inform school staff of your child's special health needs, to address school wide strategies for meeting those needs during the school day, and to support your child in taking responsibility for their own health as they mature.
If the nature of your child's condition warrants it, an Emergency Care Plan may also be created on their behalf.