There are times during the school day when students will require the administration of medication. When at all possible, medication should be given at home but there are circumstances when it is important to maintain therapeutic levels or to keep a student pain free and comfortable during school hours. Students with medical conditions should have emergency and as needed medication available at school as well.
The following information is a guideline for you in deciding if medication administration during school is appropriate for your child. This information is part of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations on administration of medication in a school setting. You school nurse will help you navigate through the process of establishing a medication routine for your child while at school.
- Medication orders must be renewed at the beginning of each school year.
- All medications require a written order from the health care provider and written parent/guardian consent. This includes all daily medications, both prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications.
- If short-term antibiotic medication (10 days or less) is to be administered during the school day, the original pharmacy container may be used as the “written order” from the health care provider. A written consent form signed by the parent/guardian is required.
- All medication must be supplied in the correctly labeled original pharmacy container. Only a thirty (30) day supply will be accepted at any time.
- Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen administration:
- At the elementary school, the nurse may administer acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen to an individual child with a written order from the health care provider and written consent from the parent/guardian. The parent/guardian must supply the acetaminophen or ibuprofen in the original pharmacy container.
- At the middle and high schools, the nurse may administer ibuprofen or acetaminophen to the student once during the school day for dental pain, headache, menstrual cramps or muscle soreness. Written parent/guardian consent is required. The middle school and high school supply ibuprofen and acetaminophen in tablet form only. The parent/guardian must provide chewable or liquid medication, if their child is unable to swallow tablets.
- The nurse may administer allergy eye drops to an individual child once during the school day for treatment of allergy symptoms. The parent/guardian will provide written consent and the medication in its original container.
- Complimentary/Alternative medications such as homeopathic medications, herbal medications and dietary supplements require a written order from a licensed Massachusetts physician and written parent/guardian consent. Medication must be FDA approved and provided in its original container.
- Medications are administered only by the school nurse and are stored in a locked cabinet in the nurse’s office. The nurse may delegate administration of student medication during a field trip.
- For safety reasons, students should never transport medication to and from school or keep medicine in their possession during the school day. The parent/guardian or an authorized adult are requested to deliver medication to the health office. Exception to this policy is the “self-administration” consent, which allows students to carry their personal inhaler and/or EpiPen and self-administer as directed. Consent from their health care provider and parent/guardian are required for the self-administration order.
- School nurses and trained non-nursing personnel may administer Epinephrine (Epi-Pen) by auto-injector to students with identified severe allergic reactions.
- At the end of the year, all medications must be picked up by a parent/guardian. Any medications not picked up will be discarded.