School Health Screenings
Childcare K-12th Grade Immunization Requirements
The Tennessee Department of Health has immunization requirements for those who attend child care, pre-school, and school. The requirements can be found in the Tennessee Department of Health Rules.
The state’s immunization requirements follow the current schedule published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
Children enrolling in Kindergarten
All children entering 7th grade (including currently enrolled students)
Children who are new enrollees in a TN school in grades other than Kindergarten
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
Communicable Diseases (Influenza, MRSA, Pink Eye, Norovirus, Ringworm, Strep, Meningitis)
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza (flu) viruses: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. The best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications is by getting vaccinated each year.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus.
Many viruses and bacteria can cause acute pharyngitis. Streptococcus pyogenes, which are also called group A Streptococcus or group A strep, cause acute pharyngitis known as strep throat.
Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. It’s called “ringworm” because it can cause a circular rash (shaped like a ring) that is usually red and itchy. Anyone can get ringworm. The fungi that cause this infection can live on skin, surfaces, and on household items such as clothing, towels, and bedding. Ringworm goes by many names. The medical terms are “tinea” or “dermatophytosis.” Other names for ringworm are based on its location on the body – for example, ringworm on the feet is also called “athlete’s foot.”
According to the National Association of School Nurses, after the child’s home, school represents the second most influential environment in a child’s life. The role of the school nurse includes both health and educational goals. There is a recognized relationship between health and learning, as there is between nurse availability and student well-being and educational success. Students today may face family crises, homelessness, immigration, poverty, and violence, which increase both their physical and mental health needs. School nurses perform a vital role within the school health program by focusing on these health problems faced by children. School nurses need to be physically present in schools to address these responsibilities appropriately. Improved student performance results where schools have a full-time school nurse.
The National Association of School Nurses identifies 7 core roles that the school nurse fulfills to encourage child and adolescent health and educational success. The school nurse:
1. Provides direct care to students,
2. Provides leadership for delivering health services,
3. Provides screening and referral for health conditions,
4. Promotes a healthy school environment,
5. Promotes health,
6. Serves in a leadership role for school health policies and programs, and
7. Acts as a liaison between school staff, family, health care professionals, and the community.
For a school nurse to function properly, they need cooperation of the entire school community, including the school staff, parents, the child, and school administration.
Do not send your child to school if they are in pain, are lethargic, obviously sick, with fever, feel nauseated, are vomiting, have an unidentified rash, or have diarrhea.
Teach your children to do basic infection controls such as washing their hands, coughing into their elbows, and proper nose blowing.
Provide the school nurse with proper items to administer required medications to your child. These items would include routine and as-needed medications, epi pens, diabetic supplies, and any supplies needed for various procedures performed on the student on a daily basis as ordered by their physician and requested by their parents.
The Nurse’s Office can be a soft place to land for a student. Sometimes a student just needs a hug or someone to talk to during an especially trying day. School nurse’s can provide this type of support.
School nurses also provide services to school staff; providing routine blood pressure checks, counseling, and emergency care.