School nursing is a specialized practice of professional nursing that advances the well being, academic success, and lifelong achievement of students. To that end, school nuses facilitate positive student responses to normal development; promote health and safety; intervene with actual and potential health problems; provide case management services; and actively collaborate with others to build student and family capacity for adaptation, self-management, self advocacy and learning. The school nurse links the health service program within the school and the community.
As we transition to a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves getting closer to pre-pandemic norms. With COVID-19 vaccines now readily available, treatments accessible to those at higher risk of severe disease, and widespread availability of home self-tests, the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines given to school districts by Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) have significantly diminished. On August 15, 2022, DESE updated their guidance on COVID-19 matters.
While isolation protocols for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are still in place, most other mitigation strategies have ended. Mask mandates have been lifted, but as always, any individual who wishes to continue to mask, including those who face higher risk from COVID19, should be supported in that choice. In addition, social distancing is no longer required, and the state-wide COVID-19 school testing program has concluded. The Commonwealth is not recommending surveillance testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing, or test-to-stay testing in schools. As we move forward, it is still important that our students and families adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and traditional health and safety guidelines in order to keep both students and staff safely in school.
If your student is not feeling well, we ask that you keep them home until they have been fever free for 24 hours and their symptoms improve. If they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, we ask that they have a negative test (at-home tests are acceptable) before return. Since no negative results are required to be submitted to the nurse for your student to return to school, we are depending on our families to partner with us to keep all of our students and staff members safe. Please consult with your school nurse if you have any questions.