New York City schools offer many health services to support student health. School physicians and nurses conduct physical exams and help manage the health of students with health issues like asthma, allergies and diabetes. Students with health issues and disabilities can receive prescribed medicine, skilled nursing treatments and 504 Accommodations in school.
Schools also offer mental health services, reproductive health services (select high schools), classes on asthma management and diabetes prevention (Open Airways and HOP), and health programs such as Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH) and Screening the At-Risk Student (STARS).
School Nurses and Physicians
Your child’s health is our priority. Office of School Health nurses and physicians are dedicated to improving the health of New York City students. Click below to read the services each can offer your child:
Ninety percent of all New York City public schools have school nurses. Our school nurses are actively involved in school health programs. School nurses:
- schedule students for physician assessments if needed.
- give prescribed medicine to students with a medication administration form (MAF) on file.
- provide prescribed nursing services to students with a medically prescribed treatment (non-medication) form on file.
- monitor students with chronic health problems, and inform parents if health problems are getting worse.
- teach classes on asthma management (Open Airways) and diabetes prevention (HOP).
- run programs like Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH) and Screening the At-Risk Student (STARS).
Our school physicians are board-certified or board-eligible physicians. They provide care in a select number of public and private schools in New York City. School physicians:
- are involved in school programs that help manage asthma, prevent obesity and pregnancy, and screen for depression.
- give students medical exams. Students are encouraged to receive medical exams by their health care providers. However, if this is not possible, school physicians can give students:
- a new admission examination.
- a pre-participatory sports examination.
- a working papers examination.
- perform the exam with a chaperone present in the room. If the school physician finds any health issues, the student will be referred to his/her health care provider for follow-up care.
Medicine at School and Skilled Nursing Treatments
Help your child feel healthier and more comfortable during the school day. If your child has a health condition, they may benefit from taking prescribed medicine at school or a skilled nursing treatment. Talk to your child’s health care provider. Ask if taking medicine at school or a skilled nursing treatment would help your child better manage his health condition.
- All students with a diagnosis such as asthma, allergies or diabetes should submit a Medication Administration Form to their school.
- Submitting a Medication Administration Form enables the school nurse to treat your child in the case of a medical emergency.
- Even if your child can take his/her own medicine, it is important for the school clinical team to be aware of the student’s medical needs in case of an emergency.
- Medication Administration Forms are accepted on a rolling basis. You must submit a new Medication Administration Form each school year.
How to Apply for Health Services
Applying for your child to take medicine at school or getting a skilled nursing treatment is easy:
- Download a Medication Administration Form from this website or ask your 504 Coordinator for a 504 packet. Sometimes these forms are called "MAFs".
- Have your child’s doctor fill out the form.
- Bring the signed and completed form to your child’s school nurse.
Review the Guidelines for Provision of Health Services for more details on how to apply:
Taking Medicine at School
We offer three different levels of supervision while your child is taking medicine. Your child’s independence level will determine if (s)he can take medicine unassisted, or will need to be supervised by a trained staff member or a nurse. Consider talking to your child’s health care provider to decide which option is best for your child.
Your child’s prescribed medicine will be given by the school nurse. The school nurse will ensure that your child’s medicine is taken correctly, as prescribed.
- This option is best for students who may not take their medicine correctly on their own. For example:
- they may not understand the medicine’s purpose or what would happen if it isn’t taken.
- they may have trouble consistently identifying their medicine, knowing how to take it (the correct route), the right dose, or when to take the medicine.
Your child will be assisted by a trained adult. The staff member will help your child take his medicine according to the health care provider’s directions. For example, if your child asks, the staff member may help open bottles, pour liquid or assemble a nebulizer.
- This option is best for students who know how to take their medicine correctly, but still need some help taking it.
- Staff members help if the student asks, so students must be responsible enough to identify their medicine, know when and how to take it, and the correct dose.
Your child will give themselves medicine without any help. For rescue medicines, like those needed for asthma, diabetes, and allergies, your child will carry the medicine with them during the school day. This option is best for students who can consistently take their medicine correctly on their own.
If your child’s medicine is not a rescue medicine, they will go to the school health office to take it. Controlled substances must be kept in the school medical room.
Automated External Defibrillators and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation
As mandated by New York State Education Law Section 917, each public school building has at least one AED installed at its main entrance, usually near the School Safety Officer’s desk, and staff trained in AED/CPR. Large school buildings have additional units installed throughout the building. A list of the location of each AED unit is located at the building’s main entrance.
Schools must have AED/CPR trained staff present during all school hours of operation. Schools must also ensure the presence of at least one AED at school-sponsored or school-approved curricular or extra-curricular activities/events on or off-site except for field trips. High school coaches are required to take portable AEDs to all games and practices.
Frequently Asked Questions
I submitted a Medication Administration Form or a medically prescribed treatment form for my child last year. Do I need to submit a new one this year?
Yes. You should submit a new Medication Administration Form or Medically Prescribed Treatment form every school year. While these are accepted on a rolling basis, we recommend submitting them by May 31. That way your child will have no break in access to their medication.
- Prescriptions on Medication Administration Forms and Medically Prescribed Treatment forms expire at the end of each school year. Your school nurse needs a new, updated Medication Administration Form every year to continue to give your child medicine at school or skilled nursing treatments.
- Bring your child to the health care provider to fill out a new MAF or medically prescribed treatment form. Learn more about why your child should see the health care provider regularly.
- See the Parent Letter – 504 Accommodations Reauthorization (School Year 2022 – 2023) for more information.
What medicines are available for free in school?
If your child has asthma, your school will provide free Flovent 110 and Albuterol. Your school can only provide Flovent 110 and Albuterol if it has been prescribed by your child’s health care provider on your submitted Medication Administration Form.
You must bring any other medical equipment, prescription and over-the-counter medicine that your child may need. Please pick up your child’s unused medicine at the end of the year.
Can the medicine I bring to my child’s school be already opened or used?
No. For safety reasons, we only accept new, unopened medicine in its original box or bottle.
How should the medicine be labeled?
Prescription medicine must have original pharmacy labels. The labels must include:
- your child’s name
- the pharmacy name and phone number
- your child’s health care provider’s name
- the date
- number of refills
- name of medicine
- when to take the medicine
- how the medicine should be taken
- any other directions
Over-the-counter medicine must be in the original bottle or box.
Where is medicine kept at school?
For safety reasons, medicine and medical equipment are generally stored in the school health office. Since rescue medicines need to be taken quickly, students’ rescue medicines will be kept in a location that is close to them. Independent students may carry their rescue medicines with them.
All prescribed controlled substances are stored in the school health office. Students are not allowed to carry or give themselves controlled substances.
Can I change the time that my child receives medicine at school?
Only your child’s health care provider can make this request. Ask your child’s health care provider to send the school an updated prescription or Medication Administration Form.
What happens if my child has a medical emergency?
All school nurses and select school staff and are trained how to best respond to a wide range of emergency situations.
In case of a medical emergency, it is especially important for students to have a Medication Administration Form on file at school. A Medication Administration Form enables your child to receive his prescribed medicine at school, as soon as possible.
Depending on the illness, trained staff will respond accordingly. Students experiencing a serious allergic reaction will be treated at school with an epinephrine auto-injector even if they do not have an Medication Administration Form on file. Only the school nurse can give epinephrine to students who do not have a Medication Administration Form on file. Trained school staff can only give epinephrine to students with a Medication Administration Form on file.
For questions about school medical emergency procedures, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about your child’s health services in school, speak to your school nurse. If you do not know your school nurse, contact your schools Borough Nursing Director or Supervising Nurse. For questions about any in school medical exams, contact your school’s Supervising Physician.
Health Supports in Early Childhood Settings
For information about health supports for 3-K and pre-K students offered in different early childhood settings, see the Health Supports by Setting Type section on the Early Childhood Learning page.