Healthy children are prepared to learn | GUEST OPINION
July 11, 2012 · 11:02 AM
According to the Center For Disease Control the academic success of America’s youth is strongly linked with their health. Academic success is an excellent indicator for the overall well-being of our youth and an overall predictor of student future academic achievement and adult health.
Arlington Public Schools has had a long-standing commitment to the health and well being of school age children. The purpose of the Health Services Department at Arlington Public Schools is to support student achievement through wellness promotion, illness prevention, infection control and maintenance of a safe and healthy school environment. We can achieve this, in part, by partnering with the parents/guardians and physicians of our students within the community. Health care plans for students with life-threatening health conditions, medication orders, treatment administration plans, and implementation of the mandatory state immunization requirements must be addressed by parents/guardians, schools and physicians each new school year. The Health Services Department of Arlington Public Schools partners with the Snohomish County Health District each school year to assist in the surveillance of immunization compliance, disease outbreak and the containment of any infectious outbreaks.
We desire parents and guardians to be actively involved in the process of ensuring our students’ health and welcome their involvement in the promotion of student health. As a parent or guardian, you can partner with your school nurse to ensure your child achieves optimal health at school and unlock their full learning potential.
This is just one reason it is so important to take time this summer to visit your child’s primary care physician for an annual well-child check up. Your pediatrician will update your child’s immunizations each summer to ensure a smooth and healthy start to the school year. Parents and guardians need to make sure this information is sent to their student’s school nurse at some time during the week prior to the start of the school year. A school nurse will be available in each school at that time to update student immunization records to reflect their current immunization status. The Washington State Department of Health requires mandatory immunization compliance as a condition of school attendance.
If your child requires medication to be given at school such as an asthma inhaler, Tylenol, or an Epipen and Benadryl, to name just a few, the medication administration prescription form should also be filled out at this visit to the doctor. This form is necessary for the school nurse to give any medications, including over-the-counter medications and cough drops. This form is available from your school nurse or it can be downloaded from the school health services web site at asd.wednet.edu.
If your child has a health condition such as asthma, diabetes, seizures, or life threatening allergies to foods, insects, pollen or other allergens, your family doctor should also complete a plan of care/treatment instruction form at this time. The forms needed for health care planning are also available on the district website in the health services department, and are a requirement of attendance for any life-threatening health condition. Sports physicals can also be addressed at this time. Make this a commitment to your child’s health and visit your family doctor each summer.
In addition to the health care planning process, medication administration, and immunization program, the school nurses are dedicated to health screenings each year and are involved in the vision and hearing screening programs. The first week of November 2012 will also bring the return of the SmileMobile program, which offers greatly reduced and low-cost dental care for the kids in Snohomish County. The SmileMobile is a program Arlington Public Schools has hosted annually in an effort to promote good dental health for low-income families in Snohomish County. We look forward to their return and will keep the parents and community apprised of their arrival here in Arlington.
We look forward to the return of each of our students in the fall. In the mean time, have a safe, restful and healthful summer.
Christina Bassford, RN, BSN, is the Arlington Public Schools District Nurse and can be reached at 360-618-6223.