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Enrollment Requirements and Health Services

The goal of Ithaca City School Health Services is to keep students healthy and in an optimal condition for learning, growing, and developing. A school nurse is on staff and provides health services to students in each elementary school, middle school, and the high school in the ICSD. The school nurses are there to assure the health and safety and promote the well-being of all children in school. The school health services program is directed by the head nurse in consultation with the school physician.

Health Care Communication

Keeping students healthy and safe requires good communication between school nurses and students, their guardians, teachers, other school staff and health care providers in the community. For that reason, we ask you to provide the following:

  • Telephone and cell phone numbers where parents/guardians can be reached; updated as necessary
  • E-mail addresses where parents/guardians can be reached; updated as necessary
  • Names of two relatives or friends who can act for the parents/guardians in case they cannot be reached in an emergency
  • The name of the student’s health care provider
  • Parent/guardian permission to communicate with health care practitioners about school-related health issues, such as immunizations, health certificates, medication orders*
  • Indication of whether or not the student has health insurance coverage
*A release of information needs to be signed by the parent/guardian and on file in the health office. A copy of this document can be downloaded by clicking here or picked up at your child’s school.

All encounters with school nurses are documented in a student’s confidential electronic medical record. School nurses communicate about visits with parents and guardians when medical follow up is needed (even if the child remains at school) or other matters that they feel guardians should be aware of.

New York State Education Law mandates compliance by students and their guardians with regulations intended to keep students safe and in optimal condition for learning. The school nurses will oversee the implementation of the state mandates.



New York State Public Health Law, Section 2164, requires all school children to be adequately immunized. Immunization records are due when the child starts school. They must be in the nurse’s office within 14 days of school entry for a child living in New York State or within 30 days of entry for a child coming from outside New York State.

Immunizations are usually obtained through a child’s health care provider as part of routine health care. If that is not possible, the Tompkins County Health Department (607-274-6616) will provide immunizations on a sliding fee scale. 

For more information, view the 2020-2021 Immunization Requirements or our Immunizations FAQs. Please check with your child’s physician or school nurse if you have any questions.


Physical Examinations

Students entering the school district for the first time (new entrants) and students in pre-K, kindergarten, and grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 are mandated to have a physical examination performed by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner. Students wanting to participate in interscholastic sports are required to have a history and physical examination within one year of the start of the sport season. Students requesting working papers must present a copy of a New York State certificate of physical examination done within one year of the date the working papers are issued.

It is important for children to have a medical home and health care provider. A student’s mandated physical examination should be performed by their health care provider.

Health care insurance is available to nearly all children in New York State. If your child does not have health insurance, the school nurses will help you find health care resources.


Dental Certificate

New York State Education Law requests dental certificates for students in pre-K, kindergarten, and grades 2, 4, 7, and 10.


Mandated Screenings

Some screenings mandated by New York State Education Law include:

  • Lead Test: Certificate of a lead test, with the date and results, from a health care provider is required for pre-K students.
  • Hearing Screening:  New entrants and students in pre-K, kindergarten, and grades 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 are tested. The school nurse will notify a student's parent(s)/guardian(s) if hearing loss is detected.
  • Vision Screening: New entrants and students in pre-K, kindergarten, and grades 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10 are tested. The school nurse will notify a student's parent(s)/guardian(s) if abnormality is found in the vision screen.
  • Scoliosis Screening (lateral curvature of the spine): Students in 5th through 9th grade are screened for scoliosis. The school nurse will notify a student's parent(s)/guardian(s) if scoliosis is found.

Medications Administered in School

The Ithaca City School District has a medication administration policy (available on the website). Medications should be administered by parents/guardians outside of school hours whenever possible. The school nurse will administer medications when it not feasible for parents/guardians to administer medication to a student at home. In the interest of safety, we require parents/guardians to do the following:

  • Bring a written medication order from the student’s licensed health care provider containing information necessary for identification and administration of the medication
  • Sign a form requesting the school nurse administer the medication
  • Bring the medication in its original labeled container which matches the practitioner’s medication order
  • Discuss with the school nurse the condition for which the medication is being administered, the specific indications, the potential complications, timing of administration, and plan for ongoing communication
  • Medications can only be accepted by the school nurse, and only from a parent or guardian.
School nurses will document receipt of medications and ask parents/guardians to sign a log indicating who delivered the medication and who received it.

New medication orders and permission must be signed annually and when medication doses change.


Special Health Concerns

School nurses provide care for children with special needs such as asthma, diabetes, allergies, and emotional health concerns. If a child needs special health care services, the nurse in the child’s school will be glad to discuss and arrange the needed services with the child and parent or guardian.


Physical Education

Physical education is a required class in all grades. If a student is unable to participate in physical education or has a medical condition for which they need modification of the required physical education, a parent or guardian must provide a written statement from the student’s health care provider. If a student has been restricted from participation in physical education by a health care provider, when the student is ready to return, the student must bring a written statement from the health care provider stating the student is cleared and can participate.

For any questions regarding Health Services please contact your child’s school nurse or the District Coordinator, Kari Burke at 607-274-2127 or