School Health Services
DoDEA School Health Services aims to optimize learning by fostering student wellness. The school nurse serves as the health service expert, providing health care to students/staff and implementing interventions that address both actual and potential health and safety conditions. The school nurse collaborates with the school administrator to promote the health and academic success of students and serves as the liaison between the school, community, and health care systems. This collaborative effort creates opportunities to build capacity for students' self-care, resilience, and learning.
The school nurse's responsibilities include:
- Providing leadership in promoting personal and environmental health and safety by managing communicable diseases, monitoring immunizations, and providing consultation and health-related education to students and staff to promote school health and academic success;
- Providing quality health care and intervening with actual and potential health problems through health screenings, health assessments, and nursing interventions, including the development of health care and emergency care plans to enable students to safely and fully participate in school;
- Providing case management services to direct care for students with chronic health conditions in order to ensure their safety and increase their access to the educational program; and
- Collaborating with school and community-based resources to reduce health-related barriers to student learning, improve access to health care and develop school-community partnerships to support academic achievement and student success.
A waiver for immunization exemption may be granted for medical or religious reasons. Philosophical exemptions are not permitted. The applicable DoD Command must provide guidance on the waiver process.
A statement from the child’s health care provider is required if an immunization cannot be administered because of a chronic medical condition wherein the vaccine is permanently contraindicated or because of natural immunity. The statement must document the reason why the child is exempt. This request for immunization exemption from specific vaccines due to vaccine contraindications or natural immunity must be completed and submitted to the school at the beginning of the child’s enrollment or when a vaccine is due. Request for exemption only needs to be completed one time for the duration of the child’s enrollment at the school.
If an immunization is not administered because of a parent’s religious beliefs, the parent must submit an exemption request in writing, stating that he or she objects to the vaccination based upon religious beliefs. The immunization waiver request must be completed and submitted to the school at the beginning of every school year. For students arriving after the school year has started, this request/written statement must be submitted at the initial enrollment and at the beginning of every school year.
During a documented outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease (as determined by local DoD medical authorities), a student who is attending a DoDEA school program under an immunization waiver for that vaccine will be excluded from attending. This is for his or her protection and the safety of the other children and staff. The exclusion will remain in place until such time that the DoD Command determines that the outbreak is over and that it is safe for the student to return to school.