Updates & Reminders from the Nurse
27 March 2022

Updates & Reminders from the Nurse

 

Illness and Daily Symptom Checking - when sick, please stay home!

With cold, flu, and allergy season upon us and continuing COVID cases among vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, daily symptom checking remains one of our most important mitigation strategies. If your student is sick, please keep them home until fever free for 24 hours (less than 100.0 without the use of fever reducing medications) and symptoms have improved to reduce the spread of all illnesses.

Be sure to review the SYMPTOM CHECKER  before sending your student to school each day. Find answers to some of the frequently asked questions surrounding our illness policy.

What should I do if my student is sick?
If you answer “yes” to any of the questions on the daily symptom checker, please keep your student home and fill out the Butler absence form and get a covid test. Filling out this form notifies me that your child is sick so that a safe return plan can be made.  Please be sure to call the absence line daily at 617-993 5552 and update your classroom teacher.

What kind of covid test does my student need if they are sick?
BPS continues to recommend PCR testing but lab antigen and at-home antigen tests are also accepted. All test results must be reported to the nurse. Individuals with covid infections in the past 90 days may use at-home antigen tests when symptoms are present.

What do I do if my student has tested positive for covid within the past 90 days and they are feeling sick?
If any student fails the symptoms checker, regardless of vaccination status or recent COVID status, please fill out the absence form and keep them home until symptoms are improving and they are fever free for 24 hours. At-home antigen tests can be used for students with recent covid infection. If symptoms persist, reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance to rule out other illnesses such as strep and flu.

When can my student return to school following symptoms or illness?
Students can return to school only IF symptoms have improved significantly, AND fever free for 24 hours prior to return to school (less than 100.0 without fever-reducing medication).

What if my child’s covid test is negative but they are still sick?
If symptoms have not improved, please be sure to keep your student home until fever free (less than 100.0 without fever reducing medications) and symptoms have improved to reduce the spread of all illnesses. Although masks are now optional, best practice would include wearing a mask until symptoms fully resolve. Best practice would include wearing a mask while in school until symptoms fully resolve. If symptoms have not improved, be sure to keep your student home until the criteria is met.

Please feel free to reach out directly to me if you have any questions or concerns. Your continued vigilance and partnership are very much appreciated.

BPS Illness Policy
Daily symptom checker
BPS Health and Safety Protocols

Seasonal Allergies

Does your child suffer from seasonal allergies  or asthma? If so, please be aware that allergy season is upon us. Reach out to your child’s doctor about starting any treatments including daily medications to get a head start on the season and keep symptoms under control.  There is a poster outside of my office explaining seasonal allergies including the daily pollen levels for Belmont to help students understand more about their health.

Those with asthma and seasonal allergies may experience an increase in symptoms as pollen levels rise. Some symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, cough and even allergic asthma symptoms of wheezing and shortness of breath mimic those of covid. Be aware of your child’s typical allergy symptoms and be sure not to ignore or confuse symptoms. Antigen tests can be used to rule out covid in those experiencing allergy symptoms..

Testing Updates and Information

Pool Testing
Monday is Butler’s Pool Testing drop off day. This is an optional weekly PCR test collected at home and brought to school. Please remember to register the kit and clearly label your student’s tube each week. Tubes must include the student’s full name (first and last name, no initials or nicknames) and date of birth as it appears on the consent. Make sure that all information is legible and correct so that your student’s sample will be processed. No nick names or initials are allowed, all information must match the consent on file.

Students that test positive for COVID cannot participate in pool testing for 90 days from their positive test but are encouraged to sign consent again when they are eligible.

At-home antigen testing
If you have not already opted-in to the DESE at-home antigen test program, we encourage you to do so. For previous notices and to opt-in, click Here. If you are already in this program, please do not resubmit the form. This program is available to all students despite vaccination status and previous covid infection.

Recommended use for at-home antigen tests include: when your student is experiencing symptoms (testing daily while symptoms are present is recommended) or when your student is deemed to be a close contact (test on day 5 or later is recommended). Please reach out to me if you have any questions about our testing programs.

Vaccine Information

There will be a presentation and community discussion on March 31, 2022 from 6-7 p.m. about COVID vaccination for children ages 5-11 with special health needs. The presenters will discuss the importance of COVID-19 vaccination, address common questions and concerns about the vaccine, and talk about how they made decisions about vaccinating their medically complex children.There will be time for Q&A and conversation.

This event will have simultaneous interpretation in the following languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.

More information and registration: Children & Youth with Special Health Needs (CYSHN) Town Hall – Federation for Children with Special Needs (fcsn.org)

If you have questions about COVID vaccination for your student, please reach out and I would be more than happy to discuss and help guide you.

 Nutrition Corner 

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Eating a wide range of foods including fruits and vegetables is an important step in promoting healthy habits for children. Here are some helpful tips on how to promote healthy eating together at home:

  • Print and hang up this fruit and veggie tracker to help your child eat the daily  recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.
  • Create a garden with your child. Planting and caring for their own food can create a sense of responsibility, patience, ownership of their health, and celebrate the success of hard work.
  • Try these recipes - Frozen Corn Five Ways

Lisa Harteveldt BSN, RN
Butler School Nurse
617-993-5556
lharteveldt@belmont.k12.ma.us