|Leigh Harper BSN, RN, CSN –||412-464-3600
|Christie Barron, BSN, RN, CSN –||412-464-3600
|Middle and Senior High|
|Amber Thomas MSN, RN, CSN –||412-464-3600
Mandated School Health Requirements
The following are the minimum immunizations that are required for all students entering school for the first time.
ALL GRADES K-12
- 4 doses Tetanus, Diptheria, and acellular Pertussis (1 dose on or after the 4th birthday)
- 4 doses Polio (1 dose on or after 4th birthday, and 6 months after previous dose given)
- 2 doses Measles
- 2 doses Mumps
- 2 doses Rubella
- 3 doses Hepatitis B
- 2 doses Varicella - **or a written statement from physician/designee indicating month and year of disease or serologic proof of immunity
In addition to the requirements listed above, students in grades 7-12 are required to have the immunizations listed below. Please note that 7th grade students will not be permitted to start their 7th grade school year without completion of the Tdap and the 1st dose of MCV. Twelfth grade students will not be permitted to start their 12th grade school year without completion of the 2nd dose of the MCV.
- 1 dose Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (Tdap)
- 2 doses Meningitis vaccine (MCV)
**The Allegheny County Health Department offers free immunizations. Please call 412-578-8062 for information.
Exemptions to Immunization Regulations
Medical exemption - when the physical condition of the child is such that immunization would endanger life or health (requires physician's signature).
Religious exemption – when the parent/guardian adheres to a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to such immunizations (requires parent/guardian signature).
Lead Testing- Kindergarten Only
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.
Parents who object in writing on religious grounds or on the basis of a strong moral or ethical principle similar to a religious belief can opt out of blood testing. Parent should put their objection in writing by sending a letter to the child's physician and their school nurse. The letter should state the reasons for opting out of blood testing. For more information, click here: Blood Lead Level Testing
Printable Form: Blood Lead Level Testing [PDF]
The school health law requires physical examinations for children entering school for the first time (Kindergarten or 1st grade) and in grades 6 and 11.
All students entering school for the first time (Kindergarten or 1st grade) and in grades 3 and 7 are required by the State of Pennsylvania to have a dental examination.
The state recommends these exams be done by your private physician/dentist since they can best evaluate your child. If you would like the school physician/dentist to do the required exams please let your school nurse know at the beginning of the school year.
Before any type of medication (prescribed or OTC) can be dispensed at school we MUST have a signed order from your licensed physician and parent/guardian signed consent. Medication MUST be furnished to school personnel in the pharmaceutical container bearing student identification and instructions or administration as indicated by physician. No medication will be administered until both forms have been returned.
Too Sick for School?
Children of all ages work hard during the school day, and for an ill child, the energy required to complete the day is often not there. Not only does this put your child at risk for prolonged illness, but it also puts the children around him/her at greater risk for becoming ill. As your school nurse, I am dedicated to the health and wellness of all the students. Please see the following information to assist you in making an informed decision about your child.
These are some reasons when your child should be kept at home:
- Fever - ((100° F (37.8°C))- Child should remain at home until 24 hours fever free without fever-reducing medications.
- Nausea and Vomiting - Children should be free of vomiting for 24 hours before returning to school.
- Diarrhea - Children should be free of diarrhea for 24 hours before returning to school.
- Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) - Children should be kept out of school until 24 hours after the start of the appropriate treatment or until physician certifies child as non-infectious.
- Influenza (Flu) - Children should be fever free for 24 hours without the aid of a fever reducing medication. Please consider cough status as well. Persistent cough interferes with your child’s ability to participate in the learning process. Cough should be under control before returning to school.
- Strep Throat - Children should be kept out of school until 24 hours after antibiotic is started.
- Fifth’s Disease - Children should be kept out of school if fever is present. Student can come to school with rash.
- Acute cold and/or persistent cough - It is difficult for your child to concentrate with a constant cough and or nasal congestion. Consider keeping child at home until cough and or congestion is under control.
- Inability to sleep most of the night - If a child is up all night because they do not feel well, sending them to school to “try and get through the day”; most likely won’t work as they won’t have the energy available necessary to finish the day.
- Pediculosis (head lice) – Stay home at least until removal of all nits and completion of proper shampoo treatment. The school nurse must check your child before they can return to school.
- Norovirus - Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. Norovirus infection causes gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). This leads to diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Please see this site for more information on how long to keep your child home from school:
Mon Valley Air Quality 2019:
Norovirus Norovirus (CDC)
Tick and Lyme Disease: Information (CDC)
Understanding: Tick and Lime Disease
Beware of Ticks: Questions & Lyme Disease
Bed Bugs Go to School [PDF]
Vaping Associated Lung Illness
The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) is currently investigating 14 possible cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping (age range 17 to 31 years). Nationally 530 confirmed and probable cases have been reported including 7 deaths as of Sept 17, 2019. Reported symptoms associated with the illness include cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; fatigue, fever, or weight loss. Time from onset of illness to seeking care varies from a few days to several weeks. Symptoms do not generally improve with antibiotics. Most cases in Pennsylvania have been associated with vaping illicit products, primarily recreational marijuana or other THC products.
If you suspect a case, please advise the child and parents to seek medical care as soon as possible. For more information about the syndrome, call Pittsburgh Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or ACHD (412-687-2243).
CDC recommends that providers ask all patients with respiratory symptoms about their vaping habits as e-cigarette use is common among young people. CDC data from 2018 indicate that 21% of high school students used e-cigarettes during the past 30 days.
Attached is some information on vaping products which may be helpful but we cannot verify accuracy (shared by a colleague). Also here are links to some posters which might be useful:
PA Department of Health press release:
PADOH Health Alert:
CDC outbreak information:
If you have any questions or concerns, please call ACHD at 412-687-2243.
LuAnn Brink, Ph.D.,
Chief Epidemiologist and
Allegheny County Health Department