Student Health Services - Information

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 three 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 RN team is 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/condition that requires medical attention or could become an emergency, please complete the health portion on the registration form/ clinic card 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 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 Permission 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, elevated temperature, 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:

  • 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 medication (Tylenol, Motrin, etc.) for 24 hours.
    • Strep throat and scarlet fever are two highly contagious conditions caused by the same bacterial infection. They usually 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 nits or eggs are removed with a special fine comb. 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, 2002 who are attending seventh grade, 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.

The only exemption for any vaccine is Medical Exemption or Religious Objection. The Medical Exemption must be renewed yearly 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 is located in the resources area or it may be obtained at your child’s school. The form must be notarized and does not have to be renewed.

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 there is a link listed under the resources tab.

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 three 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

Authorization for Student to Carry Prescription Medication
Better Together Newsletter - March 2018
Better Together Newsletter - April 2018
Better Together Newsletter - May 2018
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
Immunization Information 7th grade Entry English
Immunization Information 7th grade Entry Spanish
Immunization Information Kindergarten
Immunization Information Pre-K
Immunization Summary Chart
Medication Administration Permission Form
Religious Objection to Immunization English
Religious Objection to Immunization Spanish
RN School Assignment by Region 2017-18

Chronic Illness Frequently Asked Questions

What type of illness is considered a chronic health condition/illness?

Conditions such as Anaphylaxis (Severe Allergic Reaction), Asthma, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes (Type 1 or 2), Eczema, Seizure Disorder, Sickle Cell, etc. Any condition that does or could need medical management during the school day, as these conditions can become an emergency situation very quickly.

What can I do, as a parent, to help keep my child safe at school?

Provide the school clinic worker, RN and other designated school personnel with accurate medical information about your child's health condition and any treatment needed.

  • Provide all needed medication or medical supplies needed for the management of your child's health condition.
  • Notify school personnel any changes regarding his/her care and ensure the school has good contact information for you so you can be reached in the event of an emergency.
  • Please complete all portions of the health information section of the registration form and notify the school prior to school starting so that we can be prepared and, with your assistance, provide needed staff training.
  • Provide all necessary care plans and Physician's Orders for any procedures and special treatments required throughout the school day.

What do I do if my child is hospitalized?

Please notify the school as soon as possible if your child is hospitalized. Upon discharge, we will assist with any necessary planning for a successful return to school. If a referral to Hospital Homebound services is needed, we will be glad to assist.


Medication Administration Frequently Asked Questions

Can my child take morning medications at school?

If medications can be given at home, prior to school, please do so. Giving morning medications at home allows adequate time for the medication to become active in the student's system allowing for a more successful day at school.

  • If your child takes ADD/ADHD medication in the morning, this medication can be given with a small amount of food at home (i.e. crackers), and the student can still eat breakfast at school.
  • If your child takes medication twice a day, the morning dose should be given at home. The second dose should also be given at home, unless ordered at noon/lunch. Lunchtime medications can be given at school.
  • For specific questions regarding your child's medication times, please contact your child's School Itinerant RN.

Can my child take over-the-counter medications at school?

Yes, with signed authorization and medication provided from home, your child can take over-the-counter medications at school. Medication dosage must be age appropriate. Products that contain Aspirin can cause a condition known as Reyes Syndrome in children. Please do not send products that contain Aspirin.

What if my child needs special equipment?

Parents/guardians must provide all medications and special equipment required.


Communicable Illness Frequently Asked Questions

What can cause my child to be excluded from school?

A number of illnesses can cause your child to be excluded from school. This is necessary in order to protect your child's health, as well as the health and safety of other students. Some conditions may require a physician's examination and medical clearance in order to return to school.
Examples include:

  • Symptoms consistent with Conjunctivitis
  • Elevated temperature, over 100 degrees
  • Students excluded due to elevated temperature cannot return to school until fever free for 24 hours, without fever reducing medications.
  • Rash of unknown origin
  • Head lice and/or nits
  • Symptoms consistent with Gastroenteritis (i.e. diarrhea, vomiting)


Immunizations Frequently Asked Questions

Does my child have to be immunized to attend school?

Each new student entering Georgia for the first time, PreK - 12, must meet the Georgia Requirements for Immunization and provide a Georgia Form 3231. It is the responsibility of the parent to obtain the required immunizations as indicated.
If you are already a Georgia student there is a new requirement for 7th grade entry (Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine and Tdap vaccine).
The only exemption for any vaccine is Religious Objection or Medical Exemption from a physician.

  • • Parents who object based on their religious beliefs may sign the Religious Objection Form (2208) and have it notarized. It is located under the Resources Tab or can be obtained at your child's school.
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.

If we are new to the school district, what happens if my child does not have all immunizations on the first day of school?

Children without completed immunizations will be given a 30 day waiver, which allows them to attend school while obtaining the required immunizations. Children in this process will be given a form 3231, with an expiration date. It is the parent/guardian responsibility to complete the immunization process.

If we are new to the school district, what happens if my child does not have an Eye/Ear/Dental/Nutrition assessment on the first day of school?

If you move into the school district from out of state, you will be given a waiver for up to 90 days to complete the necessary Eye/Ear/Dental/Nutrition exam (form 3300). This should be completed as soon as possible, as vision and hearing can impact your child's academic performance. This exam can be completed by your child's private physician or by the Health Department.


Hospital/Homebound Frequently Asked Questions

How do parents request HHB services?

You may request form from the school or district office. The form is first completed at the school level and signed by the principal/designee and then completed by the health agency with appropriate signatures and diagnosis. All forms will come to the Muscogee County Public Education Center to the office of Student Services located at 2960 Macon Road on the first floor for review.

Who provides HHB instruction?

Instruction is provided by a Georgia certified teacher.

When students are hospitalized in out-of-state health care or psychiatric facilities, are services provided?

Yes. It is our obligation to provide services even if the student is hospitalized out-of-state as long as they are a registered student of Muscogee County School District.

Contact Information

* For a list of the 9 Itinerant RN's contact information and the schools they serve visit the Resources page.

Jeanne Polhamus RN Lead Nurse


706-748-2233

Marcus L. DuBose Director of Student Services


706-748-3217

Jackie Mosley Secretary


706-748-3217