Health & Wellness
Northgate's Health & Wellness Department is composed of two certified school nurses. In addition to providing direct services to students, school nurses promote healthy habits and plan and coordinate comprehensive health care programs and services for students in collaboration with families and medical professionals.
For the health and comfort of your child, please make sure that Student Emergency Contact Information is updated to include designated emergency contacts who are local and available during the school day in the event that parent/guardian cannot be reached.
Pennsylvania State Law mandates specific screenings for students in certain grades within each school year.
The Pennsylvania School Health screening program includes the following:
Hearing Screenings: Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 7, 11 and may be done yearly for students with special needs.
Vision Screening: Grades K-12
Growth Screening: Grades K-12
Height and weight measurements are used to calculate Body Mass Index-(BMI)-for-Age percentile. The BMI-for-Age percentile is used as a guideline to help assess whether an individual may be overweight or underweight. BMI should be considered a screening tool only. The child's health care provider is the best person to evaluate whether or not the measurements are within a healthy range.
Physical Exam: Grades K, 6 and 11
It is recommended that this exam is done by your private physician who is more familiar with your child's medical history. The form for reporting the exam can be obtained from your school nurse.
Dental Exam: Grades K, 3 and 7
It is recommended that this exam is done by your private dentist who is more familiar with your child's dental history. The form for reporting the exam can be obtained from your school nurse.
*Students who do not submit a completed, private physical or dental exam form will be scheduled for an exam with the school doctor or dentist in compliance with the Pennsylvania School Health Law.
Scoliosis Screening: Grades 6, 7
The purpose of this screening is to detect any abnormal curvature of the spine.
What does a referral mean?
If you receive a referral form after any school screening, it simply means that the screening detected a possible problem and further evaluation is recommended. The form is to be completed by your private physician, dentist or eye doctor and returned to the school nurse. As always, if you have any questions, contact the school nurse.
Health Screenings for Homeschool Students
Pennsylvania School Health Law
Listed above are the state-mandated health screenings for all Pennsylvania students. These screenings are provided during the school day by our school nurses. If your child does not spend any time in a school building, they are still entitled to these screenings and you may contact the age-appropriate building nurse to make arrangements to bring your child into the school. You may also choose to decline these services.
Effective January 1, 2018, children in Allegheny County (Article XXIII) are required to be tested for lead exposure at approximately 9-12 months of age and then again at approximately 24 months of age. Children who have not had their blood tested at one of those required intervals must be tested as soon as possible before age 6 or prior to entering kindergarten, whichever comes first. Written proof of lead testing is required for kindergarten registration.
School Nurses provide first aid and emergency care for students who become ill or injured during the school day. If your child is too ill to remain in school, parents will be expected to make arrangements to pick up the student in a timely fashion.
Please contact the School Nurse if your child has an illness or health condition that may affect attendance at school or if an illness results in a prolonged absence.
The following criteria have been established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health for exclusion of students demonstrating symptoms suggestive of specific communicable diseases and infectious conditions. These are the guidelines for return to school:
- Pinkeye: 24 hours after initiation of treatment.
- Strep throat, scarlet fever: 24 hours after initiation of treatment.
- Chickenpox: Six days from the outbreak of the last crop of blisters, with all pox marks dried.
- Impetigo, scabies, and ringworm: Until judged noninfectious by the physician.
- Lice: Until free of all lice and nits. Students who have been excluded must be checked by the nurse before entering the building.
It’s important that children stay at home until they are completely well. The child recovering from one of the above diseases may no longer be able to transmit it to others, but his/her resistance may be so low that he/she is susceptible to other infections. In addition, a student should remain home when they show any of the following symptoms:
- Fever: Temperature of 100.0 or greater
- Red, watery eyes or crusted lids
- Swollen glands or sore throat
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Skin sores or Rashes
- Acute cold or nausea
Northgate School District follows the Allegheny County Health Department school immunization requirements. Immunizations for all students are listed below.
All Grades K-12
- 4 doses of tetanus, diptheria, and acellular pertussis (1 dose must have been given on or after the 4th birthday.) If series is started after 7 years of age, only 3 doses are required.
- 4 doses of polio vaccine (4th dose on or after 4th birthday and at least 6 months after previous dose given.) If series is started after 7 years of age, only 3 doses are required.
- 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR)
- 3 doses of hepatitis B
- 2 doses of varicella or written statement from physician/designee indicating month and year of disease or serologic proof of immunity.
- 1 dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap)
- 1 dose of meningitis vaccine (MCV4)
- 1 dose of meningitis vaccine (MCV4)
If a child does not have all the doses listed above, needs additional doses, and the next dose is medically appropriate, the child must receive that dose within the first 5 days of school or risk exclusion. If the next dose is not the final dose of the series, the child must also provide a medical plan within the first 5 days of the school for obtaining the required immunizations or risk exclusion.
These requirements allow for medical reasons and religious beliefs. If your child is exempt from immunizations, he/she may be removed from school during an outbreak.
Every effort should be made to administer medication at home. If it becomes necessary for a student to receive prescription medication during the school day, a medication form must be filled out by the attending physician and signed by the parent.
Students are not permitted to carry any prescription or nonprescription medications with them during school unless appropriate permission has been obtained through the school nurse. All medications, prescription or nonprescription must be delivered to the school nurse in the original container or current prescription bottle with the student’s name. No medication will be accepted in plastic bags or unidentifiable containers.
- Motrin (Ibuprofen), Tylenol (Acetaminophen), and Tums (Antacids) will be provided to students when needed at the discretion of the school nurse. Parents/guardians MUST sign the medication permission on the emergency record. Phone calls for permission will be limited and only on an emergency basis.
- All prescription medications must be delivered in a current labeled prescription container. The container must contain the student’s name, prescribing physician’s name, the date of the original prescription, the name of the medication, dosage, and directions for administration.
- Physician’s orders for medications for use by the student shall specify in writing the duration of the order, the name of the drug and the dosage, and shall be renewed each school year if long term (or more often if a change in medication, dosage or time schedule is indicated). The School District Medication Permission Form should be used.
- In some instances, it is necessary or more beneficial for a student to carry medications on their person rather than keep them in the Health Office (e.g.inhalers, glucose tablets). Approval must be obtained from the school nurse and written permission for the possession of the medication must be obtained from the physician and parent/guardian.
- Not more than one month’s supply of a prescribed medication shall be stored at school.
Unused medications must be picked up by the parent/guardian on the last day of the school year or they will be disposed of by school nurse.
The Northgate School District recognizes that good health and nutrition affect a student's ability to learn and prioritizes programs that contribute to the physical, emotional and social growth of all children. We are committed to providing a school environment that promotes student wellness, proper nutrition, nutrition education, and regular physical activity as part of the total learning experience. Students will learn about and participate in dietary and lifestyle practices that are intended to improve student achievement.
As part of our focus on Wellness, the district has an established Wellness Committee comprised of School Board members, district administrators, the Director of Food Service, students, parents/guardians, school health professionals, teachers, and community members. It is our goal that committee members include representatives from each school building and reflect the diversity of the community.
The Wellness Committee serves as an advisory committee regarding student health issues and is responsible for developing, implementing, and periodically reviewing and updating our School Wellness policy. The committee meets twice a year to review and consider evidence-based strategies and techniques in establishing goals for nutrition education and promotion, physical activity and other school-based activities that promote student wellness as part of the policy development and revision process.
If you are interested in joining the Wellness Committee or have questions, please contact Dr. Caroline Johns at (412) 732-3300 ext. 2110.