School health services in BCSD are provided by professional registered nurses. Our school nurses have a multi-faceted role within the school setting, one that supports the physical, mental, emotional, and social health of students and their success in the learning process. Our nurses provide a variety of school health services, functions and programs. These services are based upon current evidence, best practices, and professional school nursing standards.
Illness and Absences
- Elementary parents who need to report an absence should call their child’s main office.
- Middle school parents who need to report an absence should use the Middle School’s online absence reporting form.
- High School parents who need to report an absence should use the High School’s absence reporting form.
- Calling the main office is still an option to report an absence at both the Middle School and High School.
Public Health Law 2164, as amended by Chapter 35 of the Laws of 2019, prohibits a school from permitting any child to be admitted to such school, or to attend such school, in excess of 14 days without sufficient evidence that the child has received all age-appropriate required vaccinations. The 14 days may be extended where the student is transferring from out of state or from another county and can show a good faith effort to get the necessary evidence or where the parent, guardian or any other person in parental relationship can demonstrate that a child has received the first age-appropriate dose in each immunization series and that they have age-appropriate scheduled appointments for follow-up doses to complete the immunization services in accordance with the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 through 18.
Acceptable proof of immunizations is a health care practitioner record, signed by a practitioner licensed in New York State. Records acceptable without a signature include: NYSIIS Record; Official registry from another State; Official record from a foreign nation, Electronic health record; School health record, (must be transferred directly from one school to another).
Demonstrated serologic evidence of measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, varicella or all three serotypes of polio antibodies is acceptable proof of immunity to these diseases. Diagnosis by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner that a child has had varicella disease is acceptable proof of immunity to varicella. Please be advised that students not in compliance with the required immunization requirements, or those lacking proof of satisfactory progress toward completion, will be excluded from attending school until adequate proof is submitted.
Under a law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo (Chapter 35 of the Laws of 2019), exemptions based on religious beliefs will no longer be allowed for the childhood vaccines that are currently required for entry or attendance at school in New York State.
If you have any questions, please contact your building nurse or principal.
- Immunization Requirements – English [PDF]
The translations above are provided by the New York State Department of Health. If you require translation in a different language, please contact your child’s school principal.
Health Screening and Examination Information
New York State Education Law 903, Chapter 281, permits schools to request a dental examination report for all newly enrolled students, and for students in grades K, 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Dental Health Certificates are to be completed by parent or guardian and the child’s dentist. Completed certificates should be sent to your school nurse.
Physical Exam Requirements
A physical exam is required for all children entering this school system for the first time and for all children entering grades K-1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Proof of this exam must be a signed physical appraisal form from a New York State licensed medical provider. (A physical exam performed within the 12 months prior to the start of the school year is acceptable. All forms are due by the first week of October.) If such an examination is not provided, the school is required by law to provide the exam at the school’s expense. We prefer that parents make appointments to have the family doctor complete the physical as he/she will perform a more complete physical exam and will give the required immunizations.
School Health Screenings
New York State Education Law, (Article 19, Section 905), and the Commissioner’s Regulations, Section 136.3, requires that schools provide the following health screenings:
- Vision screening for color perception, distance, and near vision acuity will be required for new entrants within 6 months of admission to school.
- Distance and near vision acuity will be required for all students in grades K, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11.
- Hearing screening will be required for students in grades K, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11; and, for new entrants within 6 months of admission to school.
- Scoliosis screening will be required in grades 5 and 7 for girls and grade 9 for boys.
- Parent(s) will be notified if there are any concerns during their child’s screening. Results of all screenings will be documented in the student’s school health record.
The Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act
Students who display signs and symptoms of pending sudden cardiac arrest during athletics or physical activities must be removed from such activities and receive clearance from a health care provider. Learn more about the Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act.
Body Mass Index Information
As part of a required school health examination, a student is weighed and his/her height is measured. These numbers are used to figure out the student’s body mass index or ‘BMI’. The BMI helps the doctor or nurse know if the student’s weight is in a healthy range or is too high or too low. New York State Education Law requires that BMI and weight status group be included as part of the student’s school health examination. Each year, a sample of school districts are selected to take part in a survey by the New York State Department of Health (DOH).
When the district is selected to be part of the survey, parents will be notified that physical exams from the previous school year will be used for that NYS report. Bethlehem has been selected to be surveyed in the 2023-24 school year. When surveyed by the state, only summary information is sent. No names or information about individual students are sent. Parents may choose to have a child’s information excluded from this survey report. To opt your student out of the BMI survey, please contact your child’s school nurse.
Medications in School
New York State Education Department Guidelines state that ALL medications, including over-the-counter medications, given at school, require the following:
- A written order from your child’s physician stating the name of the medication, dosage, frequency and time of administration;
- Written statement from the parent or guardian requesting administration of the medication in school; and
- Delivery of the medication to the health office by parent or guardian in a properly labeled “original” pharmacy container.
At the secondary level, emergency medications such as epi-pens and inhalers can be carried by those students who are determined to be self-directed with written orders from the student’s medical provider.