Farm to School Continues to Thrive in Goochland

Goochland’s Farm to School program continues to thrive! Here, a partnership between Chef Stephanie Charnes’ culinary arts students at Goochland Tech and nutrition staff at the secondary complex brings gourmet fall treats using locally-grown foods to students!

Begun in 2009 when nutrition supervisor, Lisa Landrum, had a vision for bringing more locally-grown produce and foods into school cafeterias, Farm to School has expanded. Once each week locally-grown foods comprise the entire menu in every school cafeteria. Local farmers come to teach students about the processes they use to develop healthier, organic foods as they’re served in the school cafeterias.

 

Statement About Meningitis from Dr. Lane

A Message from the Superintendent:

“Team Goochland,

We were notified by the health department that a teenager who was served at a facility in Goochland died from a possible case of bacterial meningitis. We were very sad to hear this tragic news and encourage everyone to keep the family in your thoughts.

Based on the information that we have received at this point, we have no reason to believe that any Goochland County Public Schools students have been in contact with this child. GCPS does not operate the facility where the child was served nor have any GCPS students attended this school in recent history.  Additionally, we do not believe the affected child was a permanent resident of Goochland County.

Because our students are not directly involved in this incident and we have no reason to believe that our students were in the vicinity of the affected child, we encourage any concerned parents or citizens to contact the Goochland County Health Department for further questions.

For contact information for the health department, please follow this link:

http://www.co.goochland.va.us/Departments/Departments(GZ)/HealthDepartment.aspx

If any of the information we have reported changes significantly, we will let you know as soon as possible.”

Wellness Concerns for Students Preparing for the School Year

We are happy to share a link to this Student Health & Wellness Guide, developed by the communications team at OnlineColleges.net. Though it has been created with college students in mind, the information is appropriate for our older students as well.

Physical health and nutrition have a direct, profound impact on students’ school experience.

As we seek together to maximize the potential of all learners, let’s keep students’ health at the forefront!

School Nurse Day May 6

National School Nurse Day is May 6, 2015.  We are honored to join the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) by celebrating National School Nurse Day as a way to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting.

Today’s children face more chronic health illnesses (e.g., asthma, diabetes, food allergies) than ever before.  The knowledge, assessment skills, and judgment of licensed professional school nurses help ensure the provision of quality health care to children.  School nurses take on a variety of roles every day.  For many children, the school nurse is the only health professional they may have access to on a regular basis.  This becomes even more important as the prevalence of chronic social, emotional, and other health problems increase.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), asthma is the leading chronic illness among children and adolescents in the United States.  On average, in a classroom of 30 children, three are likely to have asthma.  Further, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

Today, approximately one in every 400 children and adolescents has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.  According to a study released in 2013 by the CDC, food allergies among children increased approximately 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.  The CDC reports that food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated four to six percent of children in the United States.

School nurses develop, implement, and monitor Individualized Healthcare Plans for these students. Please join us in celebrating these amazing professionals!

Staff Health Resources

As a follow up to this post, we provide the following communication from the Department of Education for staff and any interested citizens:

The current outbreak of measles in the United States has been highly covered in the media.  To date, there have been no reported cases of measles in Virginia.  In 2014 there were two cases and none were reported in 2012 or 2013.  Despite these facts, school staff may still have concerns about their students and themselves.  The information that follows is intended to provide staff with information to make informed decisions regarding their personal status with regard to measles immunity.

There has been no change in the vaccination recommendations for adults regarding the measles vaccines.  You would be presumed immune against measles if you meet at least one of the following:

Written documentation of adequate vaccination:

  • One or more doses of a measles containing vaccine administered on or after the first birthday for preschool-age children and adults not at risk
  • Two doses of measles-containing vaccine for school-age children and adults at high risk, including college students, health care personnel, and international travelers
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity
  • Laboratory confirmation of measles
  • Born in the United States before 1957

Provider-diagnosed disease, without laboratory confirmation, is not considered acceptable evidence of measles immunity

If an adult, born after 1957, and not in a high risk group, wishes to receive a second dose of vaccine it would be allowable under the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Inactivated vaccine was given between 1964 and 1967.  If you are not sure which type of vaccine was given, you should consult your health care provider to determine if laboratory testing for immunity or re-vaccination is appropriate.

As always, hand washing remains the best way to avoid becoming ill.  If you are sick, you should stay home until fever-free for 24 hours without medications to reduce fever.  Cover your cough and wash hands after coughing or sneezing.

Resources

CDC, general information on measles: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html

CDC, measles vaccination information: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html

If staff members are concerned about measles immunity, they should consult their primary health care provider.  Questions may be addressed to the school nurse, local health department immunization coordinator, or Tia Campbell, school health specialist at the Virginia Department of Education, Tia.campbell@doe.virginia.gov or804-786-8671.

Measles Health Alert

This Center for Disease Control health alert was distributed to healthcare facilities and providers (and schools) to educate people and provide guidance regarding a recent outbreak of the measles. Here is an excerpt:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State Health Departments are investigating a multi-state outbreak of measles associated with travel to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks (which includes Disneyland and Disney California Adventure). The purpose of this HAN Advisory is to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities about this measles outbreak and to provide guidance to healthcare providers. Healthcare providers should ensure that all of their patients are current on MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. They should consider measles in the differential diagnosis of patients with fever and rash and ask patients about recent international travel or travel to domestic venues frequented by international travelers. They should also ask patients about their history of measles exposures in their community. Please disseminate this information to healthcare providers in hospitals and emergency rooms, to primary care providers, and to microbiology laboratories.

Read the full alert here and contact your child’s school nurse with any questions.

Cold and Flu Season Reminders

Families,

As we press on through cold & flu season, here are a few helpful resources and reminders to stay healthy:

Complete information about the flu and how to contain and manage it is given at www.flu.gov and atwww.cdc.gov/flu/.  The Readiness Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center also has useful resources and information for addressing infectious diseases as part of a comprehensive emergency operations plan (EOP), including coping with a widespread outbreak at rems.ed.gov/KeepSchoolsSafeFromDiseases.aspx.

We encourage you to continue to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth;
  • Avoid close contact with those who are already sick;
  • Get plenty of sleep;
  • Eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids;
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or the crook of your arm;

Stay home if ill for at least 24 hours after fever is gone.

Handwashing and Prevention of Illnesses

When it comes to the spread of illnesses, prevention is invaluable. We encourage you to review the resources in this post and give special consideration to discussions with your children about the importance of washing hands thoroughly. Parents of young children, please consider not only talking about this issue but also demonstrating proper technique at home. Our nurses conduct “handwashing classes” in our elementary schools and your additional support at home will make a world of difference.

The resources below can help.

What Do We Recommend?

Our health professionals emphasize that what gets hands clean is the use of antibacterial soap with water and the friction of rubbing the hands together. Washing both sides, between the fingers and under in nails for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday”, followed by rinsing all the soap off and using a clean towel or paper towel to dry will ensure clean hands and greatly minimize the spread of germs.

Resources for You

What About Water Temperature?

We follow the guidelines offered by the Department of Health and World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care specifically note:

“Apart from the issue of skin tolerance and level of comfort, water temperature does not appear to be a critical factor for microbial removal from hands being washed. (see page 31 of this document)

While hot water is available in most areas of our schools, it is not available in the oldest sections of the three elementary schools. All renovated areas of the elementary schools as well as all areas of the secondary complex do include hot water faucets which self regulate to 100 degrees.