School Nurse Office

  • Every Dedham Public School building has a full-time nurse on duty during regular school hours. The nurse is responsible for maintaining accurate health records for all of our students, administering first aid and overseeing the general health needs of all our students while they are attending our schools.  

    • No student may be dismissed from the school building without the approval of a parent or guardian.
    • Parents/guardians are asked to pick up, or arrange for their child to be picked up, within a half hour of notification, for the benefit of their child and other students coming into the health office.    
    • Nurse dismissal or time spent in the nurse’s office is considered an absence from class.  These dismissals are not considered ‘excused absences’. 

    The school nurse can be reached by telephone or email if you have any questions about guidelines for school attendance or if you are in need of any health-related information. 

    Health-related and emergency information must be completed and updated annually by parents/guardians online through Powerschool and SNAP.  All communication with the school nurse will be held confidential. 

    The school nurse should be notified by the parent/guardian of any: 

    • Serious injury,  illness or hospitalization 

    • Planned surgery 

    • Communicable diseases 

    • New diagnosis or change in your child’s health status 

    • Fracture, sprain, stitches, cast, or crutches 

    • New medication and/or dosing change.   

    • Need to be excused from Physical Education


    Universal Precautions:

    Universal precautions are the recommendations developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to control the spread of infectious diseases. Universal precautions treat all human blood and bodily fluids as infectious. Strict adherence to universal precautions is practiced by all DPS nurses in all clinical situations.

Student Illness Guidelines

  • To minimize the spread of infectious disease and to provide for a safe environment, students should be kept home from school for: 

    • Fever greater than 100° within the last 24 hours
    • Fever should be under 100° for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications before returning to school 
    • Vomiting-or-diarrhea within the last 24 hours 
    • A communicable disease 
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath 
    • New loss of taste or smell 
    • Muscle aches or body aches not due to a known cause 
    • An upper respiratory illness with significant coughing and/or nasal discharge 
    • Pain that requires the use of narcotic medications 


Medication Policy

  • The Dedham Public Schools Medication Policy complies with the state guidelines which are available for review at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health website.  The following are some important highlights of our policy: 

    • We encourage that medication be administered before and after school hours, if possible.
    • All medications, prescription or over‐the‐counter, require a physician’s order and a completed parental permission form.    
    • Medication will not be administered until documentation is complete and received by the school nurse.  A new medication order from the physician is required for all dose changes.  All required forms are available on the Health Services website.   
    • All medication orders expire at the end of each school year. 
    • All medication must be delivered to the school nurse in a correctly labeled pharmacy or manufacturer’s medication container by a parent/guardian or responsible adult. Medications will not be accepted in containers such as plastic bags.   
    • Students are not permitted to bring medication into school. 
    • Medication must be picked up at the end of each school year.  Medication not picked up by the close of the school year will be destroyed. 

    For short‐term medications, i.e., those requiring administration for ten school days or fewer, the pharmacy‐labeled container may be used in lieu of a licensed prescriber's order; if the nurse has a question, she may request a licensed prescriber's order. 

    After consultation with the school nurse and development of a plan, students who fall into the following categories may self‐administer medication: 

    • Students with asthma or other respiratory diseases may possess and self‐administer prescription inhalers 

    • Students with life‐threatening allergies may possess and administer prescription epinephrine via an auto‐injector. 

    • Students with cystic fibrosis may possess and administer prescription enzyme supplements 

    • Students with diabetes may possess and administer a glucose monitoring test and insulin delivery system. 


Health Requirements For Registration

  • The Dedham Public Schools, in accordance with the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of  Public Health, requires the following information before a student enters school: 

    Required Immunizations: an immunization record must be submitted to and reviewed by the school nurse prior to school entry, noting that the student has received the MA state required immunizations.

    • Exemptions: If there is a medical reason why immunizations are not done, a certificate must be obtained from your physician and forwarded to the school nurse.
      • For a religious  exemption, parents/guardians must fill out a Religious Exemption from Immunization form which can be found on our website or write a note to the school nurse.
    • Parents/guardians should be aware that students who are not immunized due to an exemption or those who are under-immunized will be excluded from school in the event of a disease outbreak. 

    Physical examination: A physical exam is required for all new students.

    • The examination  should have been carried out within one year of the start of school.
    • An updated physical exam is also required in grades 4, 7 and 10. However, parents/guardians are encouraged to send a copy of the student’s physical to the nurse annually. 


Concussion Protocols

  • Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury can occur whenever there is a blow or jolt to the head.  DPS seeks to prevent concussions and provide a safe return to activity, both academic and athletic, after a head injury.  Although every concussed student is different, the care and management of students who have sustained a concussion requires education, supervision, and close collaboration between students, parents/guardians, school nurses and, when applicable, the athletic trainer, athletic director, administrator, guidance counselors, and medical professionals. 

    In accordance, when a student sustains a head injury, DPS’ protocol for Re-entry to Academics and Return to Physical Activity is as follows:

    • Student is removed from physical activity until medically evaluated

    • Head Injury report filled out by Athletic Trainer, Coach, or school nurse as appropriate

    • Parent/guardian notified and student is dismissed from school or athletic activity and referred for medical evaluation

    • Medical provider evaluates student and documents diagnosis or traumatic brain injury or concussion

    • Parent provides school nurse with documentation of head injury from medical provider and plan of care including accommodations for academic and physical activity.

    • School nurse will initiate the Return To Academics protocol

    • School nurse will notify, as applicable, the athletic trainer when student has completed the Return to Academics protocol and is ready to begin the Gradual Return to Play protocol.


    Symptoms to look for following a blow to the head:

    • Headache or feeling of pressure in head

    • Nausea/vomiting

    • Loss of consciousness 

    • Feeling groggy

    • Sensitivity to noise or light

    • Blurred or double vision

    • Appears dazed or confused

    • Balance problems or dizziness

    • Answers questions slowly

    • Behavior or personality changes

    • Concentration or memory problems


    Some of these symptoms will appear immediately after the blow to the head.  Some may disappear quickly while others can increase or develop hours or even days after the injury.  What to do if your son/daughter has sustained a concussion:

    1. Seek medical consultation.  If there has been loss of consciousness (even briefly), your child should be taken immediately to the hospital or MD office for evaluation.  For concussions not involving loss of consciousness, report symptoms to the primary care provider right away for advice on how to proceed.

    2. Brain and Physical Rest is the main treatment for a concussion.  Doing as little as possible will allow symptoms to begin clearing and a graduated return to school and sports will be planned.

    3. Proper evaluation.  Make sure to get written recommendations from medical provider who understands current concussion management.  Progression is very individualized with factors such as duration and type of symptoms and previous history of concussion.

    4. Inform your child’s school nurse that your child has been diagnosed with a concussion and discuss the procedures and plans for your child’s return to academics, physical activity and athletics.

Health Screenings

  • The Dedham Public School nurses follow the Mass Department of Public Health guidelines for vision, hearing, scoliosis and growth screenings. When a student fails any of these screenings, the parent/guardian will be notified and asked to follow up with a medical evaluation.

    You can learn more about these screenings, screening protocols and more at the Mass Department of Public Health page on School Health Screenings.

Life Threatening Food Allergy Policy

  • The Dedham Public Schools recognizes the increasing prevalence of food allergies and the life threatening nature of these allergies for many students.

    The implementation of this policy aims to minimize the risk of exposure, to assist students with assuming more individual responsibility for their health and safety as they grow older, and to ensure full participation in their educational programs and school-sponsored activities. The management of students with food allergies requires the awareness, support and response of the entire school community.

    If a student has a life-threatening allergy, he/she must have access to emergency medication (EpiPen) at all times. Parents/guardians must be responsible for the school nurse obtaining the necessary medical information about child’s emergency allergy action plan.

    Key points of the DPS Life-Threatening Allergy policy include:

    • An individualized healthcare plan will be developed for each student with a medically diagnosed life-threatening allergy.

    • Our school programs are not declared as allergen-free and foods with known allergies are not banned from our schools.

    • Communication, planning, and education with staff, parents/guardians, and students will aim to minimize the risk of exposure to allergens that pose a threat to students.

    • DPS staff is not responsible for implementing the Food Allergy Policy during school-sponsored events beyond the school day that are open to the public (e.g. plays, concerts, athletic contests, ceremonies).

    • DPS staff is not responsible for implementing the Food Allergy Policy for programs or events on DPS property that are sponsored by various parent, community and private groups.

Special Medical Care or Equipment Needs

  • Children with Special Health Care Needs

    When a student has asthma, allergies, diabetes, seizures, attention deficit disorder, or any other medical or mental health condition requiring special health services in the school and/or requires the assistance of medical technology, it is vitally important that the parent/guardian meet with the school nurse to develop an Individualized Healthcare Plan as soon as possible.


    Students with Medical Equipment Needs

    A medical order is mandatory if a student requires the use of crutches, wheelchair or any other medically necessary equipment. If a student comes to school without a note for this equipment, the student will be sent home for reasons of liability and the potential for further injury. It is imperative that the nurse be aware when students with crutches, etc. are in the building so that, in the event of an emergency, an evacuation plan can be developed.


  • Anystudent playing an interscholastic sport at DPS is required to have a current physical (within the last 12 months) on file in the Health Office.