Policies & Protocols for Health Services

Health Screening

Regular state mandated screenings are conducted in the following grades;

  • Hearing – K-3rd, 8th, 10th grades
  • Vision – Pre-K, K-5th, 8th, 10th grades
  • Heights and weights with BMI calculation – 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th grades
  • Postural – 5th-9th grades
  • SBIRT (see below) 8th & 9th grades

If a referral is necessary the school nurse will inform the parent/guardian in writing. It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to schedule the appropriate referral and to provide follow-up information to the school nurse. If assistance is needed to accomplish this parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the school nurse.

SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) 

Because school nurses and counselors are uniquely positioned to influence substance use among young people, it is recommended that schools allow for opportunities for appropriately trained staff to screen for substance use, to provide counseling and to make referrals to treatment as necessary.  The adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) protocol focuses on early detection, risk assessment, brief counseling and referral intervention that can be utilized in the school setting.  This protocol will enable school nurses and counselors to detect substance use-related problems in adolescents before they start or to address them at an early stage.  The tool used to conduct screening in this setting, the CRAFFT, is empirically based and developed through primary research and is the most frequently used substance abuse screening tool in Massachusetts.  The CRAFFT is a series of six questions that can quickly screen adolescents for high-risk alcohol and/or drug use simultaneously, and can assess whether a longer conversation about use, frequency and related consequences is warranted.

Please call Karen Jarvis-Vance, the Director of Health and Safety, for more information at (413) 587-1364, or email her at kjarvisvance@northampton-k12.us.  Please refer to the documents below to view the CRAFFT screening tool (available in English and Spanish) and to read more information about SBIRT.

Sexuality Education

The school nurses present puberty education classes to the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Parents can contact the Director of Health Services for more information.

The Health Teacher at JFK presents units on reproduction and HIV/AIDS.

The Wellness Teachers at NHS present units on healthy relationships and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

Parents may choose to opt their children out of these classes. This must be done in writing and sent to the Director of Health Services. Before making this decision parents are encouraged to contact the Director of Health Services at 587-1364.

Health Records

The health record is considered a temporary record and it is the practice of the Northampton Public Schools that if a student transfers to another school district, the record will be transferred.  A copy of the immunization record will be kept. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to provide current immunization records and a copy of the most recent physical exam. When a student graduates from the high school, he/she will receive a copy of their immunization record for future use.

Exclusion from School

It is Massachusetts state law that students who are not up to date with the immunization requirements for school entry be excluded from school. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to provide current immunization records in a timely fashion to avoid exclusion of their child. The school nurse is available to help parents/guardians in this area.


All medications, prescription and over the counter (including cough drops), may only be given by the school nurse with a doctor’s order and a signed parent/guardian authorization. The school nurse has these forms. Antibiotics that are given for a limited time may be given without the MD order but the original prescription bottle must be given to the school nurse. Parents/guardians are required to bring in all medications and discuss the administration plan with the school nurse. For further information, please refer to the Medication Policy document below.

Other policy and informational documents found below include general office policies, chicken pox protocol, head lice policies, and documents in Spanish.