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School board officials learn about district health program

Sunnyside School Board Directors learned about healthcare for students in the district at last night's regularly scheduled meeting, Thursday.

Pioneer Elementary School RN Debbie Kawakami gave the report and brought forth statistics from the 2007-08 school year.

There are four levels of care in the district: nursing dependent, medically fragile, medically complex and health concerns.

When a student is nursing dependent, a nurse must be present with the student during the school day. There was one student in the district last year requiring this type of care.

When a student is considered medically fragile, an RN is required in the building. There were 34 students in the district requiring this type of care.

When a student is considered medically complex, an RN must be in the building one day a week to assess and intervene. There were almost 300 students in the district requiring this type of care.

When a student has health concerns, an RN must assess the student annually and monitor the student weekly. Last year, there were 1,070 in the district requiring this level of care.

Kawakami told school board officials she was pleased that all nurses in the district are registered nurses.

She also explained to officials that each student with any type of health care issue has an emergency care plan and that every staff member in the district that deals with the student gets a copy, including bus drivers. "We make sure all of our staff know what to do with all of our kids." She added, "Anybody that might need to take care of a student in our absence."

Each student's level of independence is also closely monitored and assessed. She said the goal of the district is to help students become more independent in dealing with their health concerns as they become older, and to provide support for the student during that process.

"That's really the best thing for kids, to be independent managing their diseases as they move on in their education," she said.

Kawakami said she's hopeful that educational information will soon be added to the district's website so school staff, at their convenience, can learn about different health issues, like asthma, what it sounds like, what a student in distress might look like, etc.

It's very important during the registration process that parents include information about their children's health, she said. That's why the district registration form asks comprehensive health questions, she said.

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