Nurse's Notes


News from the School Nurse:
                           Donna Hensley, RN

Clinic hours are 7:30 to 3:00

Revised  May 20, 2020

I hope all my FES students are well.....I miss you guys!

We have been forced to navigate uncharted territory since schools were closed on March 13th.  Please stay informed and up to date on all that is happening in this unforeseen pandemic.  It seems that everyday we learn a little more.  It's important that we stay up to date on the many changes that are being reported.

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome

What is multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)?  Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) is a new health condition appearing in children.  Some doctors think the condition is related to having coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the connection is still not clear. MIS-C is like other serious inflammatory conditions such as Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Children with MIS-C can have problems with their heart and other organs and need to stay in a hospital to receive support in an intensive care unit. MIS-C is a rare condition. However, because it is life-threatening, it is important that parents know the signs and symptoms, so they can get help right away.

What are the signs or symptoms of MIS-C?

Most children have fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees F or greater) lasting several days, along with other symptoms. Common symptoms include: • Irritability or sluggishness • Abdominal pain without another explanation • Diarrhea • Vomiting • Rash • Conjunctivitis, or red or pink eyes • Enlarged lymph node (“gland”) on one side of the neck • Red, cracked lips or red tongue that looks like a strawberry • Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red When should I call my child’s doctor or get emergency care? You should call your doctor immediately if your child becomes ill and has had continued fever. Your doctor will ask about any signs or symptoms your child has and use that information to recommend next steps. If your child is severely ill, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately. Is MIS-C contagious? MIS-C is not contagious. However, it is possible your child has COVID-19 or another underlying infection that may be contagious. Until we know more, hospitals that are treating children with MIS-C are taking the same precautions they take for patients with COVID-19. Is there a treatment for MIS-C? Currently, children with MIS-C are being treated with different therapies, including intravenous immunoglobulin and steroids. These drugs help reduce the body’s immune response that causes the inflammatory syndrome. Children are also being given other medications to protect their heart, kidneys and other organs. How can I prevent my child from getting MIS-C? Although we do not know yet if MIS-C is definitely related to COVID-19, taking steps to prevent your child from being exposed to COVID-19 is important.

Face coverings, hand hygiene, and physical distancing are the best way to prevent COVID-19.


Students should practice social distancing when they are out of the house.  It is important to limit contact with others in an effort to stop the spreading of this virus.

You can stay up to date on information regarding COVID-19 by visiting the  following websites:

Virginia Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Covid-19 vs. Cold vs. Flu vs. Allergies

COVID-19 Mental Health Supports - Jeffco Public Schools


Bedford County Public Schools is working to carefully monitor the health status of our school and community in relation to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Our school division maintains regular communication with the regional offices of the Virginia Department of Health, which serves as the conduit of information for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

Our School Nurse Team continues to provide appropriate preventative health instruction for students and families in regard to any communicable conditions, especially those of a respiratory or viral nature. 

  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes, then dispose of the tissue. When a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially in areas where someone is known to be ill. 
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds. Washing hands often under clean, running water can help prevent the spread of germs. If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol.

Please encourage your child to 

I am available in the school clinic 7:30-3:00 each day to assist students and parents with health and illness concerns.  

Water Beads: Harmful if Swallowed, Put in Ears


Water-absorbing gel beads sold as children's toys and used in vases and gardens are a growing problem among young children.

The non-toxic water beads are called jelly beads, water orbs, hydro orbs, polymer beads and gel beads. When the tiny hard plastic balls are placed in water, they can grow up to 200 times their size. The clear colorful beads can be dried out and reused. Because they look like candy, children may be tempted to swallow them. Children also have put them in their ears.

"These particular objects can grow bigger as they pass through the intestines, ultimately paving the way for obstruction," said Jenifer  R. Lightdale, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, a pediatric gastroenterologist. The beads may not be visible on X-rays.


Your child should come to school feeling well enough to participate fully in all school program activities including going outside when the temperatures are dipping down to the upper 30's.  A daily dose of fresh air is great for children.  Please dress your child for the weather of the day.  Wear loose fitting clothes and consider layers for days when our morning temperature is much different than our afternoon temps.


What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders affect both males and females of all ages
Eating disorders are real, complex, and devastating conditions that can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships. They are not a fad, phase or lifestyle choice.
They are potentially life-threatening conditions affecting every aspect of the person’s functioning, including school performance, brain development, emotional, social, and physical well-being.

Eating disorders can be diagnosed based on weight changes, but also based on behaviors, attitudes and mindset. Be alert for any of these signs in your child.

Weight is NOT the only indicator of an eating disorder, as people of all sizes may be suffering.

Key things to look for around food:

  • ¨ Eating a lot of food that seems out of control (large amounts of food may disappear, you find a lot of empty wrappers and containers hidden)
  • ¨ Develops food rules—may eat only a particular food or food group, cuts food into very small pieces, or spreads food out on the plate
  • ¨ Talks a lot about, or focuses often, on weight, food, calories, fat grams, and dieting
  • ¨ Often says that they are not hungry
  • ¨ Skips meals or takes small portions of food at regular meals
  • ¨ Cooks meals or treats for others but won’t eat them
  • ¨ Avoids mealtimes or situations involving food
  • ¨ Goes to the bathroom after meals often
  • ¨ Uses a lot of mouthwash, mints, and/or gum
  • ¨ Starts cutting out foods that he or she used to enjoy

    Key things to look for around activity:

  • ¨ Exercises all the time, more than what is healthy or recommended – despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury
  • ¨ Stops doing their regular activities, spends more time alone (can be spending more time exercising)

    Physical Risk Factors:

  • ¨ Feels cold all the time or complains of being tired all the time.Likely to become more irritable and/or nervous.
  • ¨ Any vomiting after eating (or see signs in the bathroom of vomiting – smell, clogged shower drain)
  • ¨ Any use of laxatives or diuretics (or you find empty packages)

    Other Risk Factors:

  • ¨ Believes that they are too big or too fat (regardless of reality)
  • ¨ Asks often to be reassured about how they look
  • ¨ Stops hanging out with their friends
  • ¨ Not able to talk about how they are feeling
  • ¨ Reports others are newly judgmental or “not connecting”

If Your Child Shows Signs of a Possible Eating Disorder

Seek assistance from a medical professional as soon as possible; because they are so complex, eating disorders should be assessed by someone who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. The earlier a person with an eating disorder seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery. 

How to Communicate with Your Child

  • Understand that eating disorder sufferers often deny that there is a problem.
  • Educate yourself on eating disorders
  • Ask what you can do to help
  • Listen openly and reflectively
  • Be patient and nonjudgmental
  • Talk with your child in a kind way when you are calm and not angry, frustrated, or upset
  • Let him/her know you only want the best for him/her
  • Remind your child that he/she has people who care and support him/her
  • Be flexible and open with your support
  • Be honest
  • Show care, concern, and understanding
  • Ask how he/she is feeling
  • Try to be a good role model- don’t engage in ‘fat talk’ about yourself
  • Understand that your child is not looking for attention or pity
  • Seek professional help on behalf of your child if you have ANY concerns
  • Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders (F.E.A.S.T.)


  • National Eating Disorders Association


          Toll free, confidential Helpline, 1-800-931-2237


Vaping has become prevalent among our youth.  Are you able to detect vaping tools that are being sold online and in local stores?  Watch the video in the link below.

The vapor from a juul or vape is an aerosol mist full of small particles of nicotine and other harmful chemicals.  A juul pod could have as much nicotine as in a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.  Nicotine will actually alter the structure of the developing brain, and we do not yet have a clear picture of what the final impact of that will be.  Your child's brain continues to develop until about age 25.  BE AWARE OF WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE DOING!

If your child has health concerns please provide the school nurse with the necessary form that enables our staff to assist your child with health needs that may arise during the school year.  These forms expire at the end of each year and cannot be carried over from year to year.  Medication cannot be administered without the appropriate Bedford County form.  Hand written notes are not acceptable (even for cough drops).

All medications that a student takes during the school day must be brought to the clinic, in the original container and proper forms signed.

We do not supply cough drops at
Forest Elementary School

You may be hearing a lot about measles lately.  And all of this news on TV, social media, Internet, newspapers and magazines may leave you wondering what you as a parent really need to know about this disease.  CDC has put together a list of the most important facts about measles for parents like you.
1.  Measles can be serious.  Look for the symptoms listed in the chart below:
measles chart
2.  Measles is very contagious.  It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  
3.  Your child can still get measles in the United States.  Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000 thanks to a highly effective vaccination program.  However, measles is still common in many parts of the world.  Even if your family does not travel internationally, you could come into contact with measles anywhere in your community.  Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.
4.  You have the power to protect your child against measles with a safe and effective vaccine.  The best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.  Your child needs 2 doses for best protection.

AFM (Acute Flaccid Myelitis)
The news has recently reported an increase in the number of cases. This continues to be a rare condition but yet very serious.  Symptoms to be alerted to are listed below:
Difficulty moving eyelids or drooping eyelids
Facial droop or weakness
Difficulty swallowing or slurred speech
Sudden arm or leg weakness
If your child develops any of the above symptoms please have them evaluated by a physician immediately.

Don't forget to enroll your child in CAREDOX which is Bedford county's electronic medical documentation program.  We must have your current email address for you to participate.  This will allow you to receive documentation of your child's clinic visit electronically.  If you have not signed up and would like to do so please contact your school nurse for more information.

This is the only way you will be notified of your child's visit to the clinic unless there is an emergency.  Sign up today at

Health forms that are required for students are listed below.    

A new form is required each year.

Health Forms

Medical Form - Asthma Revised.pdf

Medical Form - Bus Driver.pdf

Medical Form - Diabetic.pdf

Medical Form - Dietary.pdf

Medical Form - Health Service Plan.pdf

Medical Form - Physician-Parent Med Admin Form.pdf 

Medical Form - Seizure.pdf

Antihistamine Form.pdf

Allergy Action Plan

Health Form Instructions.pdf

School Entrance Health Form.pdf

Acute Concussion careplan

Release of Information Form.pdf

Healthy Food Snack List
Fruits/Veggies: Avocado, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery sticks, cucumber, green beans, lettuce/spinach, pepper slices, snap peas, squash, tomatoes, apple slices, applesauce, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, craisins, dried apricots or other fruit, dates, frozen 100% juice bar, grapefruit, grapes, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon
Protein & Dairy:  Cheese sticks or chunks or slices, yogurt, lowfat cottage cheese, lowfat string cheese, hardboiled eggs, lowfat dips, nuts (be alert to allergies), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, turkey/ham/chicken slices
Whole grains:  Cheerios, Graham crackers, Fig bars or other fig cookies, oatmeal, popcorn, pretzels, rice cakes, sesame sticks, tortilla chips/salsa, trail mix, whole grain bagels, English muffins, whole grain crackers, whole grain wheat/grain bread
Other items:  100% fruit juice, milk (non-fat or 1%), plain or flavored water, sherbet, low fat icecream, popsicles, pizza
This list is not free of food allergen concerns.  The teacher has the right to limit food items.

Get the year started off right!

children playing

Healthy Kids Make Great Students!

sick info picture

  • Please encourage your child to eat breakfast!
  • Sugary drinks should be avoided and replaced with water as often as possible
  • Give frequent reminders to wash hands to prevent the spread of germs
  • Encourage your child to be active and to play safe

    It’s important that we give a “Hoot” and take care of our body because it’s the only place we have to live in.

Give a hoot

Medication Administration
Medications cannot be administered without a "permission to dispense medication" form on file in the school clinic.  Prescription medications, herbal medication, or doses higher than the bottle recommends will require a physician signature.  Please do not send medication to school by the student.  A parent or guardian needs to bring all medications to school.  If your child requires a prescription medication to be taken during the school day....please request a separate bottle form the pharmacy for the school clinic.  All medication must be provided in the original container.  No medication whether it is prescription or over the counter will be accepted in baggies!
A parent or guardian must administer the first dose of any new prescription medication or over the counter medication that the student has never taken previously.  Close supervision by the parent/guardian is recommended for 12-24 hours to detect if any serious reactions occur.  New medication will not be administered the first time in the school clinic.  Medicine must be picked up at the end of the school year.  Any medicine not picked up will be discarded.  
Any changes in prescription medication dosages must have a physician's order.  Each medication requires it's own medication form.

Guidelines of when to keep your child home

  • Fever that is more than 100 degrees (students should be without fever for 24 hours without receiving fever reducers before returning to school.
  • Diarrhea/vomiting within the prior 24 hour period
  • Respiratory congestion with fever and thickened yellow or greenish drainage
  • Severe and persistent earache
  • Continuous coughing
  • Redness of the white of the eyes accompanied by yellowish discharge and matted eyelashes


           Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns (434-525-2681)

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