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School nursing has evolved over the years, as more children come to school with more complex medical, social and emotional challenges. At each school, the school nurse (a Registered Nurse licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) acts as a liaison between school and home regarding health concerns. Tyngsborough Public School nurses are on duty during academic school day hours. School nurses collaborate with Karen Balestrieri CPNP, AE-C and collaborating MD Dr. Russell Coleman of Pediatrics West to provide first aid, nursing care for illness, accidents and other medical situations. In addition, the school nurses assist in promoting good health and maintaining a healthy, safe environment for staff and students. It is the responsibility of the parents to inform the nurse of chronic illness and provide appropriate equipment for treatments and medications. It is also the responsibility of the parents to notify the school nurse annually of any condition that your child has which might precipitate an emergency situation (i.e. allergies to food, medication, insect bites, etc.; asthma; diabetes; seizures; cardiac history; etc.).


In accordance with Mass. General Laws Chapter 71, Section 97, schools are required to include a substance use preventative screening as part of their annual mandated universal health screening program. Our district is using the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) protocol with students in grades 7 and 9. The SBIRT protocol facilitates a one-on-one conversation between each student and a school nurse or counselor in an effort to prevent or at least delay the start of using harmful substances, such as alcohol and marijuana. SBIRT does not result in disciplinary action, this program focuses on reinforcing healthy decisions and addressing concerning behaviors around substance use with the goal of improving health, safety and success in school.

We will use the CRAFFT II screening interview, which is the most commonly used substance use screening tool for adolescents in Massachusetts. The screenings are brief (5-10 minutes) and will be conducted in a confidential setting in private one-on-one sessions with one of the nurses or counselors trained in SBIRT screening. Students who are not using substances will have their healthy choices reinforced. The screener will provide brief feedback to any student who reports using substances, or is determined to be at risk for future substance use. What your child tells the screener is confidential, and will not be shared with any other person without prior written consent of the student, parent or guardian, except in cases of immediate medical emergency or when disclosure is otherwise required by state law. No written record of the results of this verbal screening are kept with information that identifies any individual student. Screening results will not be included in your child’s school record. As with any school based screening, you have the option to opt your child out of this process. Additionally, students may also opt out of the process at any time. If you do not want your child to participate, please notify the nurse in writing.