Salem Public Schools (SPS) Nursing, Health and Wellness supports, promotes and protects the health, wellness and safety of students, teachers, staff and families across the district.  All schools have a health office that is staffed by full-time registered nurses.  As licensed healthcare providers, our school nurses are valuable resources for any health related questions or concerns.  Nurses facilitate student health through education, student advocacy, annual state required health screenings, flu vaccine clinics, maintenance of student health records, communication and outreach with families and medical providers.  Their work helps all students to be successful academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What health forms are needed for my child for kindergarten?

In addition to the health history forms provided through the Parent Information Center, children entering kindergarten require documentation of a current physical exam and evidence of up-to-date immunizations. Medical providers’ offices quickly fill their scheduled appointments for school physicals during the summer. Please be sure to contact your provider soon to schedule an appointment for your child’s school physical.

A few other health forms will be sent electronically to you by the school next fall. These include an Emergency Information form to identify individuals who are allowed to pick up your child if you cannot be reached and a Permission to Treat (PTT) form which allows the school nurse to provide care to your child, as needed. These will be sent home the first week of school, so please look out for these forms, complete them and return them to the school in a timely manner.

What happens if my child gets sick or hurt during the school day?

Each elementary school has a full-time School Nurse 5 days/week. If your child gets sick or hurt during the school day, the nurse will evaluate and treat them immediately. You will be contacted right away if the injury is severe, or if your child needs to go home due to illness. Therefore, it is critical that we have current and valid telephone numbers to reach you in the event of an emergency or illness during the school day. Please keep the school nurse alerted throughout the school year of any changes in your phone number or contact information.

When should I keep my child home from school?

Particularly during a pandemic, children with any of the following symptoms should not come to school:

  • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

If a child experiences any of the above symptoms, the child must get a test for active COVID-19 infection prior to returning to school. If not tested, the child may return to school 10 days after the start of symptoms, as long as fever and symptoms have completely resolved for at least 24 hours. These strict health and safety protocols keep all children, teachers, and staff as safe as possible.

Can my child receive prescription or over-the-counter medication during the day?

Yes. However, if your child needs medication during the school day, please be aware that the district has strict policies and follows state mandated guidelines regarding the administration of both prescription and over the counter/non-prescription medications.

For administration of all medicine in school, a child’s caregiver must sign a special permission form. On the same form, the child’s medical provider must provide written instructions to the school nurse for administration of the medication. Your child will be supervised by the school nurse when taking their medicine at the stated time and in the amount prescribed by the medical provider.

Caregivers must provide medication in the original container to the School Nurse. Pharmacy directions on the label may not be altered. Under no circumstances will any over-the-counter medications be given to children without written consent from caregivers and a licensed medical provider.

Parents/caregivers should deliver all medications directly to the School Nurse. Please do not send ANY medication to school with your child. If you are unable to deliver the medication yourself, please contact the School Nurse to make alternate arrangements.

Is it safe for my child to attend school during a pandemic?

This is likely a question on everyone’s mind. Rest assured, through strict health and safety protocols including hand-washing, masking, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation, we strive to keep everyone as safe as possible from the virus. However, our collective health relies on individual attention and responsibility. We ask that caregivers please conduct daily health screenings for Covid-19 before children come to school. The single most important thing to do if any of the symptoms of COVID-19 are present is to STAY HOME. Please remember: Keeping illness out of our school buildings helps prevent transmission within them. Thank you in advance for partnering with us in this effort.

What are annual state required health screenings?

According to Massachusetts general laws, all SPS students in grades Pre-K-12 are required to be screened for vision, hearing, and height and weight. In certain grades, body mass index (BMI) and postural screening are also performed. Additionally, a substance abuse screening is conducted  at certain grades in middle and high school.  

The schedule for health screenings in school is as follows:

Vision: Pre-K through grade 5 and once in grade 6-8 and once in grade 10

If a student does not pass the vision screening, a referral letter recommending further evaluation by their care provider or eye specialist, will be sent home. Please contact your child’s health care provider promptly for an evaluation if you are notified that your child has not passed the vision screening. Early detection and correction may prevent problems in school performance and permanent vision loss.  Optimal vision is essential in order for your child to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to maximize his/her educational experience and success.

Hearing: Pre-K through grade 3 and once in grade 6-8 and once in grade 10

Students who do not pass the hearing screening are rechecked at a later date, as a decrease in hearing may be related to cold symptoms or congestion. Please contact your child’s health care provider promptly for an evaluation if you are notified that your child has not passed the hearing screening. Early detection and correction may prevent problems in school performance and permanent hearing loss. Optimal hearing is essential in order for your child to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to maximize their educational experience and success.

Growth ScreeningGrowth screening is conducted for students in grades 1, 4, 7 & 10. Heights and weights are measured and calculated into BMI or Body Mass Index.        

Postural: Grades 5 through 9 

Spinal screening is conducted for all grades 5 – 9. Parents are notified of concerns and referred to their child’s health care provider for follow-up.             

SBIRT:  Grades 7 & 9

SBIRT is an evidence-based screening to promote prevention and identify early risk for substance use in adolescents. SPS nurses and counseling staff use the CRAFFT-II screening tool (translations here), which is the Department of Public Health (DPH) recommended substance tool.  Please refer to for further information and resources.

Students who report that they are not using substances will have their healthy choices reinforced by the school staff.  Staff will also provide brief feedback to any student who reports using substances or who is at risk for future substance use.  Results of the screening are confidential and will not be included in your child’s school record, nor will the results be shared with parents or any school staff without written consent from the student. If school staff feel there is a potential for your child to engage in risky behavior in the immediate future or identifies a risk to your child’s safety, they will refer them to appropriate counseling staff for further evaluation. All students will receive educational material and a resource list at the time of the screening.

All screenings are performed in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regulations. Students may also be screened at any time during the year at a teacher or parent’s request. If screening results indicate the need for follow-up care by a healthcare provider, parents/caregivers will be notified through ParentSquare. Parents & caregivers who choose not to have their child participate in a screening should notify their child’s school nurse through Parent Square.

2022 Health Handbook

For Students and Families

Under Construction

For more information, contact the Director of Nursing and Health Services:
Director: Dr. Charlene Moske-Weber PhD RN
Located at: PPS Office, 29 Highland Ave. Suite 115
Telephone Number: 978-265-4059
Email Address: