School Health FAQ

Why does the health department and not APS provide school health services?

As public health employees, school health staff brings public health expertise and partnerships to their work with students. For instance, nurses in the schools work closely and quickly with the Community Health Protection Bureau in the Public Health Division to prevent further spread of communicable diseases within the school and community.

Why do I usually see the school health aide in the clinic? Where is the nurse?

One school health clinic aide is assigned to every school clinic; they provide most routine services in the clinic. A public health nurse (PHN) who is a licensed registered nurse (RN) is assigned to cover two schools at the elementary and middle school levels. At the high school level, one full time nurse is assigned to each school. In addition to providing services to students in the schools, nurses work in the public health clinics where students and others receive immunization and other services.  Nurses (or their supervisors) are available by cell phone when they are not in the clinic.

School Nurses

What health information is shared with my child’s teachers and coaches?

Health information is kept confidential and shared with others only when necessary to protect the safety and promote the education of your child. The nurse will obtain your permission before sharing health information, except in an emergency situation. Although parents/guardians or students often share health information with school staff, we do not do this unless there is a need for staff to know and then only with your permission. Confidentiality of medical information is protected by law and School Health staff are careful to guard your child’s privacy

Why can’t the clinic staff give my child over-the-counter medications when I ask them to?

Parents/Guardians may give their children medication without a prescription. However, according to Virginia law, giving any medications without a doctor’s order is considered diagnosing and prescribing. This is prohibited under RN licensure. By law, nurses may not carry out orders given by a parent/guardian or anyone other than a licensed prescriber. Parents/Guardians may come to the school to administer a medication to their child if they choose.

Can my child carry over the counter (OTC) medications in school?

High school students may carry two doses of over-the-counter medications with written permission from their parent/guardian. This medication must be in the original labeled container. Elementary and middle school students are not permitted to carry over the counter medications. Parents/guardians may complete this Medication Authorization Form(PDF, 525KB) for over the medications that are needed at school.

Can my child carry his/her asthma inhaler in school?

All students may carry an inhaler with written permission from a healthcare provider and parent/guardian. The nurse, parent/guardian, and physician must be confident that the student can properly use the inhaler. The student should let the clinic staff know when the inhaler is used.

Does the clinic use antibiotic creams or ointments on cuts?

Clinic staff clean all open wounds with soap and water and apply a dry bandage to cover the wound. This is done according to recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. We do not use antibiotic creams, ointments or antiseptic cleaners for open wounds because some children may be allergic or sensitive to the various ingredients and because there is no indication that they are immediately necessary.

What immunizations are required for school? Where can I get them?

This varies according to age. Click here to see a complete list of immunizations required by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The nurse in your child’s school will review your child’s immunization record to make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date and notify you if your child needs additional vaccines for school.

Students may get immunizations at:

  • The office of your child’s health provider;
  • Immunization Clinic at the Department of Human Services, Public Health Division at 2100 Washington Boulevard, 2nd Floor. Click here for schedule;
  • Check with your School Nurse(PDF, 65KB) if immunizations can be given in the school clinic.

What is your lice management plan?

The role of School Health staff in lice management is to:

  • Provide education to parents/guardians, children and staff about head lice
  • Help identify students with head lice
  • Make recommendations to parents/guardians about treatment of head lice

We work in conjunction with families and teachers to identify lice and with health providers to treat and manage lice infestations.

My child does not have a regular physician because we do not have health insurance. What should I do?

The nurse in the clinic can help you find a doctor and help determine if you are eligible for some kind of insurance.  There are a few options for income eligible children.

  • FAMIS is Virginia’s health insurance program for children and FAMIS PLUS (Medicaid) provides medical insurance for children in low income families. You can apply for Virginia Medicaid by picking up an application at your child’s school health clinic, or call the Arlington Economic Independence Division at (703) 228-1350.