DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Students who have diabetes and other health ailments are familiarizing themselves with Decatur City Schools health policies. Late-registering students and parents are being told about new rules concerning vaccinations.
Sarah Payne is head of the school nurses for the city school system. "They did change the tetanus shot, the booster, for those 11 year olds, 5th and 6th graders, and they've added that they want coverage for pertussis, so it would be the DTaP. They're trying to kind of catch back up and make sure that those that missed it are up to date," Payne said.
She said a record of those vaccines is on a blue card the student turns in at school. "The school has the right to say you can't come back until this is up to date with the appropriate vaccinations," she advised.
Students transferring late don't know about state and local rules. Experts say you should have the blue sheet up to date earlier during the summer if possible. "It's really important, because you run into this time where you've got a few days before school starts and doctor's can't accommodate. They're not going to be able to get your paperwork signed because they have a turnaround time," said Payne.
More advice for parents: "Don't send your child with medicine in their backpack, please," Payne advised. "We have to have a parent and physician authorization form and it has to be signed by the parent and the physician. That's for over-the-counter meds as well as any prescription medicine," Payne added.
Payne said that is specific to Decatur City Schools, but it's a good idea to call your school or central office to see what their rules are.
When it comes to the health of students, each school system has their own set of regulations. They do follow state guidelines, but some can be more strict. A perfect example is when it comes to a student being at school with a fever.
"The policy here is going to be a hundred or greater," said Payne. "And it is because of that risk. You just don't know: Is it just a virus? Is it some sort of infection? Is it something that's contagious to others?"
If you are not familiar with the school policy in your area, ask the school nurse or visit them on line.