As your child’s school nurse, each of us enjoy the special privilege of caring for your child while they are at school. Homewood School District 153 has a full time registered nurse in every school building. We are all CPR and AED certified, and also have certifications in audiometric and vision screening.
Please take a few minutes to explore this page as it contains important information that will help us to provide the best care and service to your family. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding your student or health & safety in our schools.
Why is it important to have a school nurse?
- Provide a safe and healthy learning environment to ensure students are ready to learn.
- Assess individual complaints.
- Provide first aid and notify parent/guardians as needed
- Contact parent/guardians if additional evaluation is recommended
- Contact emergency personnel as needed
- Develop and communicate Emergency Action Plans for students with severe health conditions like food allergies, seizure disorders, asthma, diabetes, etc.
- Participate in Individualized Education Program development to ensure all students’ health needs are met while in school.
- Maintain health files, physicals, and immunization records according to Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education mandates.
What is school nursing?
School nursing is a specialized division of public health nursing, and we are in a unique position to care for students, staff, and our community. Research has shown that healthy students are better learners, and academic achievement bears a lifetime of benefits for health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). The American Academy of Pediatrics goes on to say how “the role of the school nurse has expanded to include critical components, such as surveillance, chronic disease management, emergency preparedness, behavioral health assessment, ongoing health education, extensive case management, and much more” (AAP, 2016). We take our responsibility very seriously, and do our best to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students.
School Physical & Immunization Guidelines
Homewood School District 153 has established an exclusion date of the first day of school in order to meet the requirements for health exams and immunizations. No appointment cards will be accepted.
A student must have a School Physical Exam within one year prior to entering:
- First year of pre-school
- 6th Grade
7th and 8th graders who wish to participate in sports must have a new Sports Pre-Participation Physical Exam submitted each year. While the school physical form can be used in place of a sports physical, a sports physical will not qualify as a school physical. Please be sure to have the correct form completed by your student's practitioner.
Even though our students are learning virtually, immunization requirements have not changed. The Centers for Disease Control states the following:
"Efforts to reduce transmission of COVID-19, such as stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. Ensuring that routine vaccination is maintained or reinitiated during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations and further strain the healthcare system. For the upcoming influenza season, influenza vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses in the population and resulting burdens on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Communicating the importance of vaccination to patients and parents/caregivers as well as the safety protocols and procedures outlined in this guidance can help provide reassurance to those who may otherwise be hesitant to present for vaccination visits."
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health Guidelines, students must show proof of basic immunization and required boosters for:
- Haemophiluis Influenzae Type B (required for pre-school only)
- Meningococcal (6th-8th graders)
- Pneumococcal (24-59 months)
- Hepatitis B (required for pre-school and 6th-8th graders)
- Tdap (required for 6th-8th graders)
Lead Screening: Students entering pre-school and kindergarten must show proof of lead screening.
Dental Exams: All Illinois children in Kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades are required to have an oral health exam by a licensed dentist prior to May 15 of the school year.
Eye Exams: All Illinois children enrolling in Kindergarten and any student enrolling for the first time in public, private, or parochial school are required to have an eye exam before the first day of school The exam must be completed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Waiver: The Department of Public Health shall establish a waiver for children who show an undue burden or lack of access to obtain either a dental or eye exam.
Religious Objection: Children whose parents or legal guardians object to health or dental examinations, or to the required immunizations, may submit and Illinois Certificate of Religious Exemption from their doctor’s office.
These required health examinations, immunization and lead screening may be obtained at the doctor’s office or clinic of your choice. If you need information on other local resources, please call the nurse at your student’s school.
COVID-19 Health & Safety
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged late 2019 and has become a global pandemic. This virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. While most people infected will have mild or no symptoms, it can be very dangerous to some individuals, especially those with underlying conditions.
Homewood School District 153 takes to heart the safety guidelines from Centers from Disease Control, Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois State Board of Education. Layered masks must be worn by everyone in the building, and social distancing and hand hygiene is encouraged whenever feasible. Every teacher and staff member must provide a certification that they have not felt any COVID-19 symptoms in the last 24 hours before they are permitted to enter the building. Students who present to school without proof of a health certification completed by a parent/guardian will be isolated until contact with a parent/guardian is made and no symptoms is confirmed. PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR STUDENT TO SCHOOL IF ANY THEY HAVE ANY COVID SYMPTOMS:
- Fever 100.4°F or higher
- New onset of moderate to severe headache
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New or worsening cough
- Sore Throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Fatigue from unknown cause
- Muscle or body aches
If symptoms develop during the school day, your student will be isolated and he/she will need to be picked up from school immediately. Isolation/quarantine of the student (and siblings) may be necessary and will be handled on a case by case basis. We understand how difficult these guidelines can be, but please cooperate with the recommendations in order to Slow The Spread of the virus to others.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our local and state public health authorities strongly recommend avoiding all non-essential travel. If you must travel, you will find useful information about how to travel more safely on the CDC’s Travel Page. The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has issued the following guidance for anyone coming into suburban Cook County from designated states with a significant degree of community-wide spread of COVID-19.
Anyone traveling from a state on the orange list on this webpage is directed to:
- Obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in suburban Cook County; OR
- Quarantine for a 10-day period (or for the duration of their time in suburban Cook County, whichever is shorter); OR
- Be fully vaccinated, maintain strict masking and physical distancing, and not have any COVID-19 symptoms. Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after one dose of a single-dose vaccine.
These are recommendations from CCDPH, not formal quarantine orders for travelers (unless testing positive). To provide the safest environment for our staff and students, we would request that your family is tested and quarantined upon returning from travel. Please contact your student’s school to create a plan for your student during quarantine.
- CDC When to Quarantine
- IDPH Exclusion Decision Tree
- IDPH School Guidance FAQ
- New England Journal of Medicine - Vaccine FAQ
- Mayo Clinic - COVID-19 Vaccines: Get the Facts
Reminders for Parents/Guardians
Please keep your student at home if he/she exhibits any of the following symptoms:
- Any COVID-19 symptom: fever (100.4 or higher) new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, new or worsening cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of sense of taste or smell, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches. If an alternative diagnosis is made, please submit a doctor’s note to the school.
- Red, inflamed or discharge from the eye(s). This can be a form of conjunctivitis or pink eye which is highly contagious. Your child should be seen by a physician and begin medication as soon as possible. The student may return to school 24hrs after treatment begins.
- Acute rashes or any skin lesion that is "weeping." With any of these conditions, your child will need to be examined by a physician and appropriate creams or oral medications prescribed. Medication that needs to be taken at school will require a Medication Administration form or a duplicate prescription provided by the physician.
- If your child did not have a good night’s sleep and appears very tired. He/she cannot concentrate and usually puts his/her head down on their desks. You can bring them in late, just notify the office of the situation.
- Students that are absent for more than three days require a note from his/her physician indicating that he/she may return to school.
Hearing and Vision Screening
HSD 153 Medication Forms: Contact your school nurse for more information.
Other Health Topics
- Childhood Immunizations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that diseases are becoming rare due to childhood vaccinations. Please explore the CDC Website for more information on vaccines and why it is important to immunize (CDC, 2018).
- Communicable diseases
We must provide for the health and well-being of every student and staff member in our school, by preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Contagious illnesses can spread very easily within a school setting. We encourage good hand washing and the covering of sneezes and coughs to help contain some of these diseases. When you call the school to report your child ill, please state what symptoms your child is displaying. It is through this knowledge that we can try to control the spread of various contagious illnesses.
A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild bump to the head can be serious. Concussions can have a more serious effect on a young, developing brain and need to be addressed correctly.
- Flu Shot
Influenza (flu) is a contagious, viral respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe symptoms. The best and most important step to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. This helps to reduce flu illness, doctor's visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations (CDC, 2016).
“Meningococcal disease refers to any illness caused by bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis, also known as meningococcus. These illnesses are often severe and can be deadly. They include infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia)... Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best defense against Meningococcal disease” (CDC, 2020).
- Head lice
Head lice are a common community and school problem. An estimated 6 to 12 million lice infestations occur each year in the United States, most commonly among children ages 3 to 11 years old. Live lice feed on human blood and live close to the human scalp. They are not dangerous and do not transmit disease, but they do spread easily. Parents will be notified by email when there are two or three confirmed cases of head lice at their child's school.
If you suspect your child has head lice, call the doctor! Physician involvement in the diagnosis and treatment of head lice from the start often saves time and money for affected families.
Additional Resources for Parents:
School Immunization Reports 2021-2022
Other local resources