Student Services - Student Health Services

Student Services

General Information

Student Health Services is a significant component in the educational process. Healthy students learn better! Our district recognizes the importance of the health and safety of the students and staff.

The program is currently staffed by one Lead Nurse and nine Registered Nurses, who each serve a cluster of schools to assist in managing the health care and medical needs that affect students’ ability to be successful in school. There are 7 LPNs that are school based and 54 part time clinic workers. The clinic workers are located at each school and are there for half of the day.

Their focus is on health services, staff training, health education, and safe school environment.


  • The team of RNs and LPNs are committed to assist in the removal of barriers to learning that may be health related. They provide:
    • Clinic worker and staff training on all medical issues.
    • Consultation and care management for children with chronic illness or who are medically fragile in order to support all children in the educational process.
    • Monitoring of immunization status and work closely with the Health Department to identify and prevent communicable illness issues in our student population.
    • For additional information, please reference the FAQ section.


Chronic Illness/Health Condition:

If your child has a Chronic Illness/health condition that requires medical attention or could become an emergency, please complete the health portion on the registration form/ clinic health record and contact the school immediately. We must know how to provide the best care possible for your child and be able to reach you at all times. If your child requires a procedure to be performed at school we will need a doctor's order for that procedure. It is our goal to keep all students safe and healthy during the school day.

Medication:

Please read the MCSD Medication Policy JGCD for detailed information regarding medication during the school day.

  • If possible medication should be given at home, however if it is necessary for your child to receive medication at school, certain guidelines must be met.
  • The medication must be in the original container and labeled with the child's name, Physician's name, name of medication, and the dosage instructions for the child.
  • There must be a Medication Administration Authorization Form signed for each medication, even over the counter medication. This form is listed in the Documents area or can be obtained at your child's school.
  • Parents are responsible for bringing medication to school and turning it in to the clinic or office staff.
  • Emergency medication, such as a rescue inhaler, auto inject-able epinephrine, and insulin, can be carried on the student's person with physician's permission and completed paperwork. The appropriate form is located in the documents section. CONTACT your child's school if this applies to your child's health situation.


Communicable Conditions:

It may be necessary to exclude your child for symptoms consistent with a communicable condition, temperature of 100º or higher, vomiting or diarrhea. We understand that this may be an inconvenience, however, this is necessary to keep your child healthy and protect the health of the other students.

Infection Control in the School Setting:

One of the goals of student health services is to assist students in maintaining a level of health that enables them to learn. Schools, by their very nature, can be considered incubators for many viral and bacterial infections. Young school-age children are still developing their immune systems and are more vulnerable to common infections. Children's natural affinity for each other and school activities promoting the values of sharing, cooperation and collaboration also add to the potential spread of infections. But there are things that everyone can do to help minimize the spread of viruses and bacteria:

  • COVID-19 is a virus that is spread from person to person by respiratory droplets. Spread is more likely when people are within close contact (within 6 feet of each other). Contact your primary care provider if you think you may have been exposed or developing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea). More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html. Please see the COVID-19 link on MCSD's homepage or at http://sites.muscogee.k12.ga.us/covid-19/
  • Hand washing: Hand washing is the single most important activity to decrease the spread of infections of all kinds. Studies have shown that school attendance, and therefore school success, can be positively affected by diligent hand washing. School Nurses promote good hand washing techniques in Muscogee County Schools through the use of hand washing classes/demonstrations, videos, posters and other educational materials. Parents and guardians can aid in developing good hand washing habits by encouraging hand hygiene at home.
  • Stay home when sick: As a general rule, children are considered too sick for school if they have any of the following symptoms: Fever (temperature of 100 degrees or greater); Vomiting; Diarrhea; Widespread Rash; Difficulty Breathing/Struggling to Breathe. Children who have seasonal allergy symptoms (runny nose, red/itchy eyes, etc) or other seasonal cold symptoms can be sent to school.
    • A runny nose is the way many children respond to pollen, dust or a cold virus. Minor cold or allergy symptoms should not be a reason to miss school. Many healthy children have as many as six colds per year, especially in the early school years.
    • Coughing, especially if it is persistent during the day, can indicate a worsening of cold or allergy symptoms. It may be a sign of a secondary infection (sinusitis, pneumonia), which may require medical treatment. It may also indicate mild asthma. If your child’s cough is worse than you might expect with a common cold, you need to consult your child’s doctor. You should do so immediately if the child is not acting normal, has a fever, or has any difficulty breathing.
    • Diarrhea and vomiting make children very uncomfortable. If diarrhea or vomiting are frequent or are accompanied by fever, rash or general weakness, consult your child’s doctor and keep the child out of school until the illness passes.
    • Fever is an important symptom – especially when it occurs along with a sore throat, nausea or a rash. Your child could have a contagious illness, which could be passed to classmates and teachers. While you can treat the fever, and usually make the child feel better temporarily, the cause of the fever (and the risk of passing it to others) is still there. Children with fever should stay home until they are fever free, without the use of fever-reducing medication (Tylenol, Motrin, etc.) for 48 hours.
    • Strep throat and scarlet fever are two highly contagious conditions caused by the same bacterial infection. Children may arrive with a sudden complaint of sore throat and fever, and often stomachache and headache. With scarlet fever, a rash usually appears within 12 to 48 hours. A child with these symptoms should see his doctor for diagnosis and treatment, and should remain out of school until he is without fever and has been on antibiotics for 24 hours.
    • Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergy. The first two are very contagious. The eye will be reddened, and a cloudy or yellow or green discharge is usually present. The eye may be sensitive to light. Consult with your child’s doctor if you suspect an eye infection. Again, the child should stay home until symptoms subside and he has been on antibiotics for 24 hours or until the doctor recommends the child return to school.
    • Middle ear infections can cause great discomfort and often fever, but are not contagious to others. The child should see his doctor for diagnosis and treatment and should stay at home if he has fever or pain.
    • Flu is a contagious virus that usually occurs between October and May. Symptoms include body aches, high fever, chills, congestion, sore throat, and, in some children, vomiting. The child should stay home until these symptoms improve, usually five to seven days. Consult your child’s doctor for treatment suggestions to make your child more comfortable.
    • Impetigo is a staph or strep infection that creates a red, oozing blister-like area that can appear anywhere on the body or face. A honey-colored crust may appear on the area. It can be passed to others by direct contact. Consult your child’s doctor for treatment and length of time the child should remain out of school, especially if the area cannot be covered.
    • Scabies and lice brought into a school can quickly produce an epidemic of itching and scratching. Scabies are tiny insects that burrow into the skin and cause severe itching. Lice are tiny wingless insects, like ticks, that thrive on the warm scalps of children and also cause itching. Both should be treated immediately, with advice from your child’s doctor. Children need to stay home from school until head lice are dead and until all nits or eggs are removed with a special fine comb, as MCSD has a "no nit" policy. Head checks should continue for 10 to 14 days. Caution your child against sharing combs, brushes, hats or other clothing. In the case of scabies children should stay home for 24 hours after treatment.
  • Maintain Accurate Contact Information at School: If your child should become ill while at school, it is imperative that accurate phone numbers for the parent/guardian and an emergency contact be available in the school clinic. The school clinic worker, secretary, clerk or school nurse may need to reach you at any point during the school day to pick up a child who has become ill. Should your phone number change, or the phone number of any emergency contacts, during the school year ensure that you notify both the school office staff and the school clinic. Children should be picked up as soon as possible after becoming ill at school. Picking up sick children from school in a timely manner helps to prevent the continued spread of illness.


Immunizations and Screening:

All students entering or attending Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grades are required to have a valid Georgia Certificate of Immunization Form 3231, issued by a licensed Georgia physician, or qualified employee of the local Health Department or the State Immunization Office. The students must have been immunized against those diseases as so specified by the Georgia Department of Human Resources. Parents/guardians are responsible for seeing that their children are properly immunized in accordance with Georgia law. For further immunization information, visit the Georgia Department of Human Resources website at http://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section

Georgia's immunization requirements for children attending seventh grade have been revised to align with the current Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Effective July 1, 2014, all children born on or after January 1, and children who are new entrants into a Georgia school in grades eight through twelve, must have received one dose of Tdap vaccine and one dose of meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

Effective July 1, 2020, children 16 years of age and older who are entering the 11th grade (including new entrants) must have received one booster dose of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), unless their initial dose was administered on or after their 16th birthday.

Please note, the student’s name on the Georgia Immunization Certificate must match the name on their birth certificate. Immunization forms are considered invalid if the names do not match.

The only exemption for any vaccine is Medical Exemption or Religious Objection. The Medical Exemption must be renewed each year and signed by a physician. The Religious Objection must be documented, by parent or guardian, on “The Religious Objections to Required Immunizations Form 2208. This form may be obtained at your child’s school, or by visiting the Georgia Department of Public Health website. The form must be notarized and does not have to be renewed.

Your student must have the updated immunizations, unless he/she has an exemption. Students without a valid immunization certificate (or valid exemption) on file may be withdrawn from school until a valid form is provided. If you have any questions about vaccinations, please contact your student’s health care provider. The vaccine and the appropriate form are both available at your healthcare provider’s office and the Columbus Health Department.

Parents of students without health insurance or those whose health plan does not cover these vaccines, may call the Columbus Health Department at 706-321-6300 and ask about getting no or low cost vaccines through the Vaccines for Children program. For more information on the vaccination requirements for school attendance in Georgia, visit dph.georgia.gov.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states: “On-time vaccination throughout childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening disease. Vaccines are tested to ensure that they are safe and effective for children to receive at the recommended ages.” For more information on vaccinations, and the diseases they help prevent, visit cdc.gov/vaccines.

Each new student is also required to have a Georgia Form 3300 Eye Ear Dental and Nutritional Screening form upon entry Pre- K - 12. This testing can be done by your health care provider or the Columbus Health Department.

For additional information on school entry requirements, please visit the Georgia Department of Public Health website .

Hospital/Homebound Services:

Hospital/Homebound (HHB) services are designed to provide continuity of educational services between the classroom and home or hospital for students in Georgia public schools whose medical needs, either physical or psychiatric, do not allow them to attend school for a limited period of time.

HHB services are not intended to supplant regular school services and are by design temporary. The student must anticipate being absent from school for a minimum of ten consecutive or intermittent school days due to a medical or psychiatric condition. The student's inability to attend school for medical or psychiatric reasons must be certified by the licensed physician. Physician's Assistants and Nurse Practitioners may sign forms if delegated to do so. Psychiatric patients are to be only completed by a psychiatrist not a designee.

Documents and Resources

Asthma Care Plan - Student Specific
Authorization for Student to Carry Prescription Medication
Concussion Care Plan - Student Specific
CDC Cover Your Cough
CDC Flu Guide for Parents
CHOA - Asthma Summer Safety
CHOA - Too Sick for School
Department of Public Health Skin Cancer Prevention
Diabetes Care Plan - Student Specific
Gastrostomy and Jejunostomy Tube Care Plan - Student Specific
Health Care Plan - Student Specific
Hospital Homebound Application July 2021
Immunization Information 11th grade - English
Immunization Information 11th grade - Spanish
Immunization Information 7th grade Entry English
Immunization Information 7th grade Entry Spanish
Immunization Information Kindergarten
Immunization Information Pre-K
Immunization Summary Chart
Medication Administration Authorization and Release - updated 090921
Migraine Headaches Student Health Care Plan
Parent - Guardian Authorization for Administration of Health Procedure by Authorized Personnel
Post Op Care Plan - Student Specific 9-2021
RN School Assignment by Region - updated 09092021
Seizure Care Plan - Student Specific
Severe Allergic Reaction Care Plan - Student Specific
Sickle Cell Care Plan - Student Specific

Chronic Illness Frequently Asked Questions


Medication Administration Frequently Asked Questions


Communicable Illness Frequently Asked Questions


Immunizations Frequently Asked Questions


Hospital/Homebound Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

* For a list of the 9 Itinerant RN's contact information and the schools they serve, view the RN School Assignments in the Documents and Resources above.


Jeananne Polhamus RN Lead Nurse


706-748-2233


Mr. Kevin Scott Director of Student Services


706-748-3217


Tameka Greene Secretary


706-748-3217