Special Health Needs Overview
MCPS encourages parents to meet a student’s health care needs at home. If a student needs health services to be provided at school (for example, but not limited to: medication administration, seizure precautions, catheterizations, gastric tube feedings, blood sugar checks, emergency action plans, or others), parents should schedule a time to meet with the school nurse to arrange for these needs to be taken care of during the student's school day.
Treatments & Procedures
Health care treatments and procedures require both a written physician's order and a parent/guardian's signature. The school nurse will assist the parent by preparing an individual plan of care for the student and advising parents as to what supplies the student will need at school.
- To help provide quality and standardized care for a student who has diabetes, there are forms the parent and physician will need to complete on the Virginia Diabetes Medical Management Plan by Virginia Department of Education website.
MCPS encourages parents to administer a student’s medication at home and, if possible, on a schedule other than during school hours. The first dose of any new medication should be given at home so that parents may observe the student for possible reactions. When medication is needed during school hours, the following procedures must be followed:
- Prescription medication
- The medication must be in a current pharmacy-labeled container with the student's name and dosing instructions. Dosing instructions should include the student’s name, the name of the medication, the dosage, the time, the duration of time the medication is to be given, and the parent/guardian signature.
- There must be a completed Medication Consent Form with written parent permission. For prescriptions to be given for more than ten (10) days, the prescriber’s signature is also required.
- Any change in the prescriber’s order requires an updated form, including prescriber signature. The change may be on the form or on the physician’s stationary/prescription pad and signed by a physician.
- Medications shall only be administered by the school nurse or principal’s designee in compliance with the physician’s directions and Medication Consent Form.
- Many pharmacies will prepare a special bottle for school use if requested.
- If the medication is not in the pharmacy/manufacturer labeled container, the Medication Consent Form is incomplete, or there is a discrepancy, medication cannot be given.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medications
- Must be in a sealed, original-labeled container with the name of the medication and expiration date clearly visible.
- The parent must add the student’s name and complete a Medication Consent Form with specific dosing instructions.
- For safety reasons, if a child needs to receive OTC medications for more than five consecutive (5) days or a dose that is outside the manufacturer's label directions, a doctor's order is needed for the OTC medication.
- No OTC medications are stocked in MCPS school clinics and must be provided by the parent.
- At the beginning of each school year, all medications require new documentation for administration.
- Parents/guardians are required to notify the school nurse of any change in medication, dosage, or time of administration of medication.
- Due to the lack of Food and Drug Administration Standards for the safety/efficacy of dietary, nutritional, or herbal supplements, those OTC products will require a provider’s order for the school to administer.
- Medications are usually kept in the school office/clinic and should be brought to school by an adult, not the child.
- In some situations, if your child has a health condition and needs to carry and self-administer certain prescribed medications such as asthma medication (an inhaler), auto-injectable epinephrine, diabetes care, or if you have questions, please contact the school and school nurse for additional information and forms.
- At the end of the school year, any unused or expired medications and supplies must be picked up by a parent or by an adult with a signed note from the parent. Medicines not collected by the parent, by the last staff workday before summer vacation, will be destroyed.
- A link to the Medication Consent Forms is on this page in several places. Forms also may be obtained from your child's school.
Medicaid and FAMIS Information and Application
Encouraging Good Attendance
Part of teaching a child commitment and life preparation is encouraging healthy habits. One habit that is important to success is regular school attendance. When regular school attendance is a priority, it demonstrates to a child the value and importance of education. Missed instructional work may be difficult to make up.
While MCPS strives to meet student health care needs at school in support of encouraging a student’s self-care ability, good attendance, and educational success, there are instances when a student does need to stay home from school for health reasons. Below are some examples:
Reasons a Student Needs to Stay Home from School
- Your student has a temperature of 100°F, orally, or higher in the last 24 hours. Children should be fever-free for 24 hours, without taking fever-reducing medication, before returning to school.
- Your student was vomiting or had diarrhea, due to illness, in the last 24 hours.
- Your student is injured or obviously unwell, even without an elevated temperature.
- Your student has an undiagnosed or suspected contagious illness or rash.
- Your student has been diagnosed as having a contagious illness such as strep throat, chicken pox, or the flu. In cases of a contagious illness, your health care provider will advise when the child may return to classes.
- You have been advised by your child's health care provider to keep your child home to recover from an illness/injury.
If the school calls you to come and pick-up your child due to illness or injury, please be prompt.