Henrico Schools strives to be proactive in anticipating school health-care needs that may arise. The HCPS Department of School Health Services believes that students thrive in a collaborative, holistic environment; we communicate regularly with instructors about their students’ needs. Our approach to student health care is all-inclusive. If students, teachers, staff members or families think someone in the school community needs medical care, we want to know.
Each of HCPS’ middle and high schools has a registered nurse staffing its clinic. There is also an itinerate registered nurse who moves among the schools.
At the elementary level, each school clinic has a clinic attendant, a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse. Seven itinerate registered nurses also move among elementary schools for backup and support. Since the 2016-17 school year, all elementary school clinics have been staffed by licensed nurses.
Each school also has clinic backups to fill in if necessary. The backups are trained in such areas as administering medications, inhalers and nebulizers; helping with diabetic care; and using EpiPens.
In addition to a clinic employee, each school has at least two staff members per floor certified in providing CPR and using an automated external defibrillator.
Every HCPS teacher receives basic CPR training and has the option to receive more instruction and become certified.
Each staff member has the authority to call 911 if necessary.
Our staff members don’t use email to communicate about student medical needs or emergencies. Instead, health staff members use phones and hand-held radios to communicate directly with parents, guardians or authorities.
At the start of the school year we ask parents or guardians to give us an updated health history of their student. Nurses review these and collaborate with families and health-care providers to ensure accurate care. We give teachers lists of their students with particular medical needs, and put medical alerts into our PowerSchool software where teachers can see them easily.
Students who need additional support get specific emergency medical plans; 504 disability plans; or individualized education programs.
At times it may be necessary for your child to receive medication during the school day. For the safety of all students, the HCPS Department of School Health Services strictly enforces the Henrico County Public Schools medication policy. Please do not ask the school nurse or clinic attendant to make an exception to the policy.
All prescription and over-the-counter medications (including cough drops, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and cold and cough preparations) must be administered by the school nurse or clinic attendant in the school clinic.
All medication must be in the original, unopened bottle.
A parent or guardian must transport any needed medications to school. They cannot be sent with the child.
Written parental permission on the appropriate form is required before any medication may be administered. Forms are available at the school clinic and at the links below.
Asthma medication It is highly recommended that inhaled asthma medication be administered in the school clinic so the school nurse can assess the child’s breathing and monitor his or her response to the medication. The following conditions must be met in order to possess and self-administer inhaled asthma medications:
Written parental consent that the student may self-administer inhaled asthma medications must be on file with the school.
A physician’s order and signature on a prescribed medication form must be on file at school stating the diagnosis of asthma and approving the self-administration of inhaled asthma medications. The frequency and circumstances, which may warrant its use and attesting to the student’s demonstrated ability to safely and effectively self-administer the medication.
An individualized health care plan must be prepared for any life-threatening conditions, and include emergency procedure (Download the Asthma Action Plan Form). The inhaler must be properly labeled by the pharmacy.
Permission to self-administer asthma medications will be effective for one school year and must be renewed annually.
Permission may be limited or revoked after appropriate school staff members consult with the student’s parents.
Self administration of EpiPen-style auto-injectible epinephrine It is highly recommended that students with prescriptions for auto-injectable epinephrine keep both doses in the school clinic in event of an anaphylactic episode occurs during the school day. School nurses and clinic attendants are trained to assess and respond to severe allergic reactions that required immediate injection of emergency medications. The following conditions must be met in order to possess and self-administer auto-injectable epinephrine:
Written parental consent that the student may self-administer auto-injectable epinephrine must be on file with the school.
A physician’s order and signature on a Prescribed Medication Formmust be on file at school stating the diagnosis of anaphylaxis and approving the self-administration of auto-injectable epinephrine. The frequency and circumstances that may warrant its use and attesting to the student’s demonstrated ability to safely and effectively self-administer the medication.
An individualized health care plan Emergency Allergy Action Plan must be prepared for any life-threatening conditions, and include emergency procedures,
The auto-injectable epinephrine must be properly labeled by the pharmacy. Permission to self-administer auto-injectable epinephrine will be effective for one school year and must be renewed annually. Permission may be limited or revoked after appropriate school staff members consult with the student’s parents.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction involving the respiratory system and leading to circulatory shock. It is caused when a person is exposed to an allergen. The initial reaction may cause localized itching and swelling, but may rapidly spread throughout the body in the form of: rash or hives over the skin; swelling of the face, mouth and throat; intense itching; a feeling of nervousness or worry; and loss of consciousness.
Common allergens that may cause anaphylaxis include but are not limited to: animal dander, fish, latex, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, eggs, insect venom, medications, peanuts, soy and wheat. A severe, life threatening, allergic reaction usually occurs quickly, within minutes to hours. Prior to their first anaphylactic reaction, most people are unaware of the significance of their allergy. Prevention and early recognition and management of allergic reactions are vitally important to prevent anaphylactic shock.
Henrico County Public Schools recognizes that students with life threatening allergies attend school, and in accordance with the Food, Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), provides an allergy-safe environment to minimize the chance of anaphylactic reactions.
In case of an emergency, it is imperative that you do not respond to the school unless you are contacted by school authorities and asked to do so. As you are aware, our school system has a very strong partnership with Henrico County’s departments of Police, Fire, and Emergency Services, and those resources will be mobilized whenever they are needed. Your decision to respond to the school during an emergency will interfere with the ability of emergency service vehicles to get into and out of the school zone and possibly compromise the safety of everyone involved in the emergency. Please read the “Crisis Preparedness: Parents and School Emergencies Handbook,” and follow the instructions presented.
School Security Officers and School Resource Officers Who are they, and why are both assigned to a school? School security officers and school resource officers work in tandem, but each has a very different set of responsibilities. The school security officer, or SSO, is hired by the School Board and is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the learning environment. The SSO also enforces the Code of Conduct. The School Resource Officer, or SRO, is employed by the Henrico Division of Police and is assigned to the school to deter crime, conduct investigations, and enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Both wear uniforms, but the SSO is unarmed.
SSOs are trained and certified by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and they have to seek recertification every two years. They take their daily assignments from their school principal but are actually assigned to the HCPS Office of Safety and Security. The SSOs are trained in search and seizure, emergency readiness and conflict management. They take classes in suicide prevention, bullying prevention, first aid, CPR, and child abuse and neglect. SSOs are encouraged to develop a positive rapport with the students. The SSOs are often the first school employee a student sees every day, and they are usually the first on the scene of an incident. The well trained SSOs and SROs work hand in hand to keep our students, staff and visitors safe.
School Crossing Guards School crossing guards are employees of the Henrico Division of Police and are assigned to work at schools to help students cross the street safety. They provide a very valuable service to the schools where they are assigned and they have an excellent safety record. A school crossing guard’s role is often misunderstood. Their responsibility is to manage the gaps in traffic to help children cross the street. They do not direct traffic. Often, they will wait until several children are on the corner, and then they look for a gap in the traffic. When they can do so safely, crossing guards step into the crosswalk to make sure traffic stops each way, and then they signal the students to use the crosswalk to cross the street. When all children have reached the other side, the crossings guards return to the sidewalk and the traffic begins to move again. Crossing guards work for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. If you are interesting in becoming a Henrico School Crossing Guard, please contact the Henrico Division of Police.
To maintain a high level of safety in our schools, each school is annually evaluated through a safety and security audit process conducted by an audit team comprised of internal and external stakeholders. The team includes school division staff and public safety officials.
Comprehensive school safety and security audits take place on a three-year audit cycle with schools participating in an interim safety audit for the two remaining years. During the first year of the cycle, the audit team visits a school to conduct a thorough, comprehensive evaluation of the school’s safety practices and emergency plans. During the comprehensive audit visit, audit team members interview school administrators, staff and students. The team conducts a walk-through of the school, observes an emergency drill and reviews safety-related documentation. During each of the subsequent two years of the cycle, audit team representatives conduct a follow-up or interim audit. During an interim audit, audit team members interview appropriate staff members, conduct a walk-through of the school and seek information that demonstrates progress on the recommendations made during the school’s most recent comprehensive safety and security audit. In the fourth year, the cycle begins anew.
The evaluation of school safety programs is a critical component in maintaining a safe and secure environment for our students, parents and staff. Using the audit process, we are able to provide school staff with site-specific safety recommendations and best practices to enhance school safety in Henrico County.
Henrico County Public Schools, an innovative leader in educational excellence, will actively engage our students in diverse educational, social, and civic learning experiences that inspire and empower them to become contributing citizens.