Onondaga Road-Notes from the Nurse

Nurse’s Notes Sept. 2018-Posted on September 24, 2018

What’s Going Around at Onondaga Road?

So far we have seen a few cases of the stomach bug, some minor sore throats, and a few cases of a viral illness with a fever.

Please arrange to have someone ready to pick up your child during the school day if you are without a car or are not available. Children worry when they need to be sent home and they don’t know if anyone can pick them up, so let them know what your back-up plan is.

New Grade Levels for Physicals:

The NY State Department of Education has made a change in the grades for which physicals are required. Kindergartners, 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th graders and new entrants to the school district will need to provide completed physical forms to the school. Most children have a physical each year, and physicals remain current at school for more than a year, so this should not create any extra work for most parents. Letters will go out later this fall if your student needs to bring in a new one.

Also, in the past, any physical form provided by a doctor was accepted at school. There is now a single form that must be used. It has been sent to all the doctors and is available on the West Genesee website. This form is being eased in, so all types of forms will be accepted in 2018-19, but only the new one can be used starting next school year.

School Anxiety:

A surprising number of children have trouble coming to school in the morning because they have feelings of fear, upset, or anxiety about coming to or staying at school. Even if you never figure out why this is happening for your child, there is help to overcome this distressing situation. Some things to try are:

  1. Being a good listener for your child and problem solving together can help. There may be a problem with a friend, or a situation on the bus or at recess that is easily sorted out.
  2. Talking to the teacher is also important. Teachers have a unique perspective on what happens with each child during the day.
  3. For some children, making morning goodbyes short and matter-of-fact and discussing the positive aspects of their day after school may be enough.
  4. Listening well, not dismissing a child’s feelings, and yet not sharing your own anxiety about their feelings seems like a fine line to walk. Not many words may be needed. Being heard is very healing.
  5. Our School Counselor, Barbara Randall, and our School Psychologist, Alison Conley are available to help if the anxiety persists and they may refer you to resources outside of school.

The two articles below are good sources of information about handling school anxiety. You are not alone.

  1. https://www.anxietybc.com/parenting/helping-your-child-cope-back-school-anxiety
  2. https://www.heysigmund.com – Article is called How to Empower Your Child to Deal With School Anxiety

June 2018 Notes from the Nurse-Posted on June 12, 2018

What’s going around at Onondaga Road?

I am happy to say that there is no illness going around at O. Road this week. There are a few fevers, stomach upsets, and injuries, but only a few.

Staying Healthy:

Having a routine at home will help the whole family during the summer. Regular mealtimes and bedtimes are basics. Organized sports teams are great, but don’t forget the value of free indoor and outdoor playtime. Eat meals together as often as possible. Elementary school children need 9-12 hours of sleep per night. Keeping a regular sleep schedule during the summer will make it easier when school starts in September.

General things to remember for the Summer:

  • Bike helmets
  • Elbow pads and knee pads
  • Life jackets when boating
  • Check daily for ticks
  • Fresh fruit for snacks
  • Canned soup is way better than fast food
  • Outdoors is better than screens
  • Board games
  • Sprinklers
  • Play outdoors in the rain

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” (at least sometimes)  ~Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus

See you in September!

May 2018 Notes from the Nurse-Posted on May 4, 2018

What’s Going Around at Onondaga Road:

In the past few weeks there have been quite a few students with the stomach bug, including stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes fever and headache. With the warm weather and the startup of sports teams and outdoor play we have been seeing an increase in injuries that need a doctor’s care. Seasonal allergies are starting up as well.

Media Use and Children:

We all know that children’s time with electronic devices should be limited and supervised by adults. How to do that and what the rules should be are not quite so clear. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with new recommendations as well as an online planning tool that can help you create a personalized plan for your family. With summer vacation coming, it is a good time to review and plan how your child will be using electronic devices rather than falling into a pattern you hadn’t intended. Cyberbullying, sexting, depression, and exposure to violence are things that children are being exposed to at younger ages than we ever thought possible. Take some time to look at the website below and get some good information to protect your family.



The recent and welcome sunny days have started the season for sunburn. Any amount of sunburn, even as a child, can increase the risk of getting skin cancer later on, so sunscreen use should be part of your child’s routine.

Students can bring in sunscreen with written permission from a parent/guardian. It can be kept in the student’s locker and they can apply it to themselves. It may not be shared with another student. A student who is physically unable to apply sunscreen can be assisted by school staff if the parent note states that this is permitted.


As the days get warmer, many elementary students need to use deodorant daily – even some of those in 2nd and 3rd grade. Crowded classrooms become challenging to the nose! Of course, nothing replaces a daily bath or shower in hot weather for children of all ages.

February/March 2018 Notes from the Nurse-Posted on February 16, 2018

What’s Going Around?

We have had an increase in cases of flu this week, but still not the large numbers that schools in other districts have seen. It is very important, however for parents to keep sick children home from school –fevers, sore throats, headaches, stomach troubles are symptoms that could signal the beginning of the flu, and people are very contagious at this early stage.

Measuring Medications:

With all the illnesses that are going around at this time of year pediatricians are prescribing a wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications for children. Medication doses for children are calculated using their weight and are very specific. Medications like antibiotics and pain relievers need to be given accurately for them to work best. Too little won’t work, and too much can be harmful. When measuring a dose of liquid medication, always use a medication spoon or cup, available from the doctor or pharmacy. Teaspoons and tablespoons from the silverware drawer can vary a great deal, causing the wrong dosage to be given. Always give prescribed medications at the prescribed time intervals and give the entire bottle unless it is discontinued by the doctor. Even though symptoms may be getting better, it is important to finish the entire amount to avoid a recurrence or even antibiotic resistance.


It is hard to sum up the information that can be accessed at this simple 3 digit phone number. Calling 211 connects callers to a referral service called 211CNY. They provide a 24 hour information service where you can talk to a real person 24/7. Residents of Central and Northern New York can get information regarding assistance with food, shelter, spousal/child abuse, substance abuse, mental health, employment services, and even resources for military personnel. 211CNY can also be found online at 211cny.com. If you need help finding services of almost any type, this is a great place to start. After the initial (very short) voice mail, you will be connected to a person who can help guide you in the right direction. This service is free and confidential.


Most of the hearing and vision screenings have been completed this year at Onondaga Road. Notices have been sent to parents of all children who need follow up in either area. Scoliosis screenings for 5th graders will be done this spring as well. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that may start to show up in the later elementary years.


Our school physician will be at Onondaga Road in March to complete physicals on any students who do not have a 2nd or 4th grade physical on file at school.

January 2018-Posted on January 15, 2018

What’s Going Around at Onondaga Road:

The illness we are seeing most right now is the stomach bug with vomiting and diarrhea. Fever, cold, and coughs are going around too. There have been very few confirmed cases of flu so far at our school. Children should be free from vomiting, diarrhea, and fever (without the use of fever reducing medications) for 24 hours before returning to school.


Dr. Scialdone will be at Onondaga Road School in March to complete physicals for all 2nd and 4th graders who do not have one on file in the Health Office. Please send them in ASAP or fax to 315-487-2598.

 Help for Food Allergies:

There is a new device on the market that can detect the presence of gluten or peanuts in food. It is portable and can be used in restaurants or to check almost any food. For more information go to the Nima website at https://nimasensor.com/. As always, consult with your doctor before you decide if a new product is right for you.


The CDC is reporting widespread flu activity in New York State. The best prevention is still the flu vaccine. Good handwashing every time you arrive at home can help prevent many illnesses. The flu usually comes on suddenly. Symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, headache, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. Treatment with antiviral medications can lessen symptoms and shorten the illness, but they must be given soon after the onset. If you are in a high risk group, call your doctor right away if you get flu symptoms. People at high risk of serious complications are young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or heart and lung disease, as well as those over 65 years of age. Extensive information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/three-actions-fight-flu.htm. Flu can be a very serious illness, so protect yourself and your family by being informed.

Send to School Daily:

Boots, snow pants, hats, gloves, lip balm.

November 2017-Posted on November 19, 2017

What’s Going Around at Onondaga Road:

This week the most common complaints keeping children home are cough, colds, and fevers. These coughs have been lasting for several weeks in some cases, and can require a doctor’s care whether they have a viral or bacterial cause. There have been an increasing number of cases of strep throat, ear infections, and the stomach bug this week too.  It is important to use good handwashing. The germs that cause stomach troubles may not respond to hand sanitizers.

Brushing teeth:

There are so many reasons that children and adults should brush their teeth at least twice a day –  in the morning and before bed. Brushing removes plaque (a film of bacteria), and keeps teeth and gums healthy. Dentists are learning about the connection between gum disease and other chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease (see webmed.com/oral-health). Caring for baby teeth is important because they hold the spaces where permanent teeth will grow in. In addition, cavities are painful, and caps and fillings are expensive. Teeth that are not brushed in the morning cause bad breath for the rest of the day. Student and teachers work in close spaces and bad breath is an issue with peers as well. So take a few minutes every morning and as part of a bedtime routine to see that those teeth are brushed! It is an important habit to instill for both health and social wellbeing.

Cough Drops and Lip Balm:

Cough drops are an over the counter medication. To have your child use them at school you must provide a doctor’s order and written permission from the parent. The cough drops must be kept in the Health Office and given by the nurse, and must always be delivered to the school by an adult.

If your child needs something to sooth an irritated throat, hard candy, like lifesaver, may be just as helpful. E-mail the teacher first. Lip balm may be used at school and kept in a locker or backpack. It does not require a note from home. In the cold weather chapped lips get cracked and bleed. Staying well hydrated and using lip balm several times a day can help prevent this. Lips will look better, feel better, and save trips to the Nurse for Vaseline.


Here is one more call for physicals for students in 2nd and 4th grades. If you have not sent one in, please do so now. Physicals with our school doctor will be scheduled early in the spring for those who do not have one on file.


I am so thankful for your children and the joy they bring to my life. I hope you enjoy this holiday and have some time to spend with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

 October 2017 Posted on October 18, 2017

What’s going around at Onondaga Road:

Lately we have been seeing colds, coughs, fevers and stomach upsets that sometimes come back once the child seems well. There have been a few students with the stomach bug, and a few cases of strep. Most of the sore throats have been viral. Ear infections have been showing up too.


To have a safe Halloween, make sure that children can see easily through their masks, walk along with them while they are trick or treating, and have them go only to the houses of neighbors you know. Check candy that is collected and throw away anything that is unwrapped or has an open wrapper, or that just doesn’t look right. If you allow your child to bring candy to school with lunch please limit it to 1 or 2 pieces a day.

 Flu Shots:

Remember to get the whole family vaccinated against the flu!  The vaccine comes in a nasal mist or as an injection. Although it is not 100% effective, the flu vaccine protects most of those who get it. Getting the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. Give your family a better chance of staying well and not missing days at school or work. Many pharmacies give it without an appointment, and it is often free by showing your insurance card.


Many thanks to all the parents who have provided current physicals for their K, 2nd, and 4th grade students or contacted me with the dates of upcoming appointments. There are still about 44 other students I do not have them for. If you have been putting this off, put that physical into the backpack today or call the doctor and have it faxed to the school (315-487-2598)!

Absent or Tardy?

If you know that your child will be absent or tardy, please call or e-mail the Health Office by 9:30 AM. (487-4655, knason@westgenesee.org). There is voice mail at this number so you can leave a message any time. If you are going on vacation while school is in session, contact me ahead of time with the dates so I don’t call your cell phone while you are at Disney World! If your child is not here and I have not received a message, I will call you. These calls are made primarily to be sure that children are safe.

September 2017 Posted on September 24, 2017

What’s going around at Onondaga Road:

So far we have been seeing some colds, coughs, viral sore throats, and fevers. There has also been a small number with strep throat. There have not been many absences due to illness so far. Please keep your child home from school if they have had any fever over 100 degrees, vomiting, or diarrhea in the last 24 hours. Students who are on antibiotics for infections like strep must take them for 24 hours before returning to school.

K, 2nd, and 4th Grade Physicals:

Students in Kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grade are required by New York State to have a current physical on file in the Health Office. This also applies to students in all grades who have just entered this school district.  There are many, many students who do not meet this requirement right now. Please call for an appointment with your pediatrician right away or send a copy of a physical that has been done within the past year to the Health Office. They may also be faxed to the school at 315- 487-2598.

Making Snack Time a Healthy and Safe Time for Everyone:

Most grades have at least one child with a severe food allergy this year. Because snacks are eaten in the classrooms, foods that are brought in for snack time must be free of peanuts and other allergens. Students can bring any food they want for lunch because it is eaten in the cafeteria. Thank you for respecting the list your child’s teacher has sent home as safe snacks for their classroom. If you need a new list please ask your child’s teacher.

Use of Orthopedic Equipment in School for Injuries:

If a student needs to wear a brace, cast, or splint in school a physician’s order is required in writing. The physician must specify the length of time the student will use it and how long the student needs to be excused from Physical Education class. The same policy applies to the use of crutches. When possible, students using crutches should be transported by car, to and from school.