Health Office at Bridge Street School

Oficina de Salud en Bridge Street School

April 2021

September 28, 2020

New Flu Vaccine Mandate

New state regulations were passed this year in response to the global pandemic. State officials announced in August 2020, that the Influenza vaccine will be required for all children 6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities. The new vaccine requirement is an important step to reduce flu-related illness and ​the overall impact of respiratory illness during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Health Services Department


September 2020

Dear Caregivers,

This has been such a challenging time for our community on so many levels. We are so happy that the academic year is upon us. We know that keeping your children safe and engaged in education is at the forefront of your thoughts right now. The Northampton school nurses have gathered the latest guidelines from CDC and DESE. We will implement the necessary requirements in order to keep the students and staff safe this year.

Our plan includes the following strategies:

  • Social distancing: Hallways have markers on the floors to allow students to gauge the proper distance between each other.

  • Mandatory mask-wearing for students and staff: Families need to provide students with a freshly cleaned mask for each school day. Masks cannot be used two days in a row without washing. Alternatives are available for students that cannot wear them..

  • Handwashing will occur several times throughout the school day:

  • Hand sanitizer: is available in the classrooms and throughout the school for use when hand washing may not be convenient. If you do not want your child to use hand sanitizer, please contact your school nurse to opt out of this practice, with a written request . Accommodations will be made for these students to only wash their hands with soap and water.

  • COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist: Please follow these simple directions each morning before sending your child to school.

  1. Check temperature every morning---if over 100 degrees, keep your child home and contact the school nurse to inform them

  2. If your child has any of the following: sore throat, new cough, new body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, chills, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or been with someone that has been diagnosed with COVID, keep them home from school and notify your child’s PCP for possible testing.

We will continue to work hard for our community’s health and safety. Feel free to contact your building’s school nurse with any questions or concerns. Your nursing staff will be in their offices each day.

Lisa Safron, RN-Director of Health, Safety and Equity Amy Avakian, RN-Nursing Care Coordinator Candy Goyette, RN- NHS Melissa Dion, RN- JFK Karen Schiaffo, RN- RKF/Ryan Rd Jessica LaCroix,RN - BSS Deb Rejniak, RN- JFK Kate Kelly, RN- Leeds

February 27, 2020

The precautions to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect against COVID-19

(information from Mass DPH)

DPH recommends that schools continue education about good hygiene. Students, staff, and volunteers should be reminded to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, if unable to wash, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Cover your coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve (not with your hands)

  • Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you are sick

February 26, 2020

Is Bridge Street School nut-free?

I'm asked these questions often from both concerned parents and confused teachers. We are not "nut-free" but we are considered Allergy Aware. This means that at the beginning of the school year I will send home notices to the families of each classroom with the food allergies listed. If these allergies are severe enough, as in the case with life-threatening nut allergies, then we do not allow food products containing that allergen in the classroom for snack. However feel free to pack your child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a granola bar for lunch as the students who do have life-threatening allergies sit at a special table where they do not encounter their allergens. At this Allergy Aware table in the cafeteria, friends who buy school lunch are able to join them for company and conversation.

April 10, 2019

Scent-Free School

Please remember that we are a scent-aware learning community. We have people here who have allergies to scented products, and we ask that you and your children refrain from wearing these products at school. Thanks for your cooperation

April 9, 2019

Vaccine Safety

The current measles outbreaks in the United States and elsewhere are being fueled by misinformation about the safety of vaccines. To help counter such misinformation, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine created a websitethat provides clear, concise, and evidence-based answers to questions about vaccine safety and other commonly asked questions about health and science.

If you have questions or concerns about vaccines for your child, please reach out to your child's pediatrician or feel free to bring the question in to me. I'm happy to open a conversation with you.

February 15, 2019

Winter Gear Lending Area

Dear BSS Parents,

I’m wanting to reach out to you about winter gear and my efforts to make snow pants and snow boots available to all students here at school.

For the past 4 years I’ve kept the extra winter gear in the health office and children would come in before and after their recesses to look for and then return boots, jackets, and/or mittens they could wear if they forgot to bring their gear that day. However it created too much congestion in my office during a time of day that is generally my busiest.

During the fall, I put what winter gear I had into a central location (first floor hallway near the elevator) for kids to borrow as needed. There are many winter jackets of all sizes, snow pants, and I had initially put out 6 pairs of snow boots for sharing.

I recently noticed that all of the snow boots have disappeared. If any families have gently used snow boots to donate (again), it would be appreciated. My plan is to mark all of the boots with BSS initials so that if we find them in the lost and found we know where they go. I will also make a point to monitor the area during recess occasionally to remind kids to return what they borrow and to help them keep the area neat.

I’d like to help promote this kind of community atmosphere with our students. Can you please talk to your student about this sharing area and remind them that if they make use of the items to please return them and keep it neat for others. Also, if anyone has an idea or the time for decorating it can you please let me know?

This is a work in progress and I would love any thoughts or suggestions you have to make this area more accessible. The best way to contact me is through email or catching me in the health office.

Thank you,

Nurse Jessica

September 26, 2018

Mandatory Screenings from DPH

State mandated screenings for vision, hearing, postural screenings and BMI/heights and weights will be conducted throughout the school year. Notices will be sent home prior to postural screening (this is only required for our 5th graders). Heights and weights will be conducted for grades 1 and 4 with BMI. At ALL times, your students’ confidentiality and privacy are maintained. You may opt out your child from any screening with a written notice to Nurse Jess.

August 30, 2018

Welcome to a new school year!

I am thrilled to be your child’s school nurse. Please take some time to read this letter and use it as a reference throughout the academic year.

Health Office Website

Last year I started this website for the health office and I try to update it regularly. Principal Choquette includes the link in her weekly newsletter. I encourage you to read the latest health reminders or updates and let me know if there are any school related health topics you would like me to address.

Health Information

Your child may develop health issues during the school year. Many of you keep your child’s teacher apprised of this information but I urge you to also contact me so that I can record any new allergies, keep an eye out for possible infectious diseases, and offer support when I can. Feel free to send me an email if you’re not able to drop in. (

As part of DPH guidelines, I do vision and hearing screenings on our students as well as scoliosis checks on our 5th graders. However, if I have on file your child’s recent health form filled out by the pediatrician, he/she will not need to be screened. Always send in your child’s health form and vaccines so that I always have the latest health information.


While lice is nothing more than a big headache, it strikes fear into the hearts of most of us parents. I can not urge you enough to check your child’s head weekly. I do not check the heads of entire classrooms but I will check your child upon request. Please encourage your children to keep their hair pulled back and to avoid sharing brushes and/or hats.


Your children are active at recess! Those children who wear comfortable sneakers during their recess make fewer health office visits than the students who wear flip-flops or sandals. Climbing and running are activities that are not safe in unstructured shoes.


Bridge Street School does not allow homemade treats brought into the classroom because we have so many different types of life-threatening allergies. As a district, we are steering away from even bringing store-bought food in for birthdays and other celebrations. I will be generating a list of ideas for non-food celebration treats for my website and I encourage you start thinking about this with other parents at school.

Please come by and introduce yourself if you are a new member of our BSS family.

Warmly, Jessica LaCroix

June 8, 2018

Field Day

Be a Sun Smart Kid. Bring a hAt, sunglasses, try to wear light colored clothing, and have someone responsible apply Sunblock and Bug Spray BEFORE you come to school.

Please send in an EXTRA T-Shirt because of certain activities involving water.

Bring a bottle of water with you to school so you will not get dehydrated.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to wear SHOES you will be able to run, jump, and play in, such as OLD Sneakers/Tennis Shoes.

PLEASE …..NO FLIP FLOPS OR SANDALS, as it is much easier to trip and fall and get hurt in this type of footwear.

RESPECT One Another. Be Kind and Considerate, and have a FUN and Healthy day.

May 7, 2018

If you received a hearing or vision screening referral form that I sent between the end of January through early April and have not had your child checked, please do so and return the form to me. There are many instances where a referral in either hearing or vision leads to further medical evaluzation whereby we discover students need glasses or even that their ears are unknowingly fiiled with wax/fluid which then causes some hearing loss.

February 5, 2018

Each month offers us a chance to learn about and help raise awareness for different health conditions and to recognize the people who may have them. I've previously mentioned that February is Heart Month; however, it is also Turner Syndrome Awareness Month. What do we need to know about this genetic condition? The website of the Turner Syndrome Society of the U.S. tells us it's a condition that occurs only in females and can be diagnosed as early as prenatal life all the way to adulthood. Increased awareness of this genetic condition has helped to decrease the age of diagnosis, which is ideal for treating the health conditions related to TS.

The only physical characteristic that is consistent among all females with TS is a short stature (average adult height is 4'8"), although there are many attributes that are linked to TS, such as visual/spatial learning challenges, heart abnormalities, and chronic ear infections. For a more comprehensive list, visit the Turner Syndrome Society of the U.S.

February 2, 2018

January 30, 2018

Influenza Information

Below are recommendations taken from the CDC to help reduce the spread of flu.

  • Get a yearly flu vaccine. Even though it doesn’t cover all strains, it is the single best way to protect against or shorten the severity of the flu. Talk to your health care provider about this. It's not too late to get the vaccine!

  • Stay home when sick. If you have a fever or signs of a fever (chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating), you should stay home for at least 24 hours until fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

  • Encourage all to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their bent arm. If they use a tissue, they should put the used tissue in a trash can and wash their hands.

  • Encourage frequent handwashing using soap and water for 20 seconds, dry hands with a paper towel, and use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol may be used.

  • Encourage all to keep their hands away from their nose, mouth, and eyes.

  • Routinely clean surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as tables, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, and phones.

  • Studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for only 2 to 8 hours after being deposited on a surface. Therefore, special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of flu, even during a flu outbreak.

  • Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information at:

January 24, 2018

In honor of February being Heart Health Awareness month, our PE teacher, Mrs. Flaherty will involve our BSS students in "Jump Rope for Heart". On February 12-14 you will find our students jumping rope during their PE classes and simultaneously learning how physical fitness benefits their hearts. We want our students to know how important physical activity is in their youth so that they become adults who are physically active, keeping their hearts and the rest of their bodies fit for life. There is also a fundraising component to this activity and the proceeds will be given to the American Heart Association to. Mrs. Flaherty will also add an educational component to this program. She says, "I will teach the physical health component by incorporating age-appropriate activities which are aligned with the Massachusetts State Frameworks".

January 10, 2018

Welcome to the new website of the Bridge Street School Health Office. I encourage you to flip through the pages of this site and visit throughout the school year. I'll be adding articles and important health reminders throughout the school year. Please be in touch if you have questions or comments.

Keeping Warm. . .

In order to stay warm and dry while playing in the snow during recess, your child must bring the following every day:

snow boots

snow pants




If missing one of these items, he/she will have to stay on the cleared walkway during recess in order to stay dry. Please contact me or Laurie Sperry if you need help outfitting your child for the snow. We are happy to help.

Also, Laurie Sperry and I always welcome donations (at any time of the year) of gently worn snow pants, snow boots, and snow gloves to share with other members of our BSS community. Even our youngest students, our preschoolers, are in need of several pairs of snow pants per class. We're able to store items for our yearly Winter-Clothing Exchange, a time when we get together as a school community and pass along (and also get to pick out) gently worn winter outerwear that our children have outgrown.

Image of child blowing nose into a tissue.

Winter Time Sickness

Make sure your child washes his/her hands. Often I have to remind students (of all ages) who use the health office bathroom to wash their hands afterwards.

Teach your child not to touch his/her eyes and nose.

Keep your child home when sick. Review the policy pasted below to remind yourself of when it makes sense to keep your child home.

BSS Illness Policy

Remember: Sick children belong at home. Well children belong in school. And the best way to prevent infections is frequent hand washing.

Children with a fever over 100° should stay home until there is no fever for 24 hours. Call your doctor if your child has a fever with pain, rash, weakness, vomiting or diarrhea.

If a child’s eye is red with cloudy or yellow/green drainage, you should call the doctor during office hours. If an eye ointment is prescribed your child may return to school 24 hours after treatment began. All family members should wash hands frequently.

Children with one event of vomiting or diarrhea (watery loose bowel movement) should stay at home until at least 12 hours have passed without any further events. Call your doctor if the vomiting or diarrhea continues or if your child also has a fever, rash, or weakness. All family members should wash hands frequently.

Your child should stay home if he/she has a lot of ear pain. Call your doctor for treatment.

If your child has a sore throat and a fever, or a severe sore throat without fever, he/she should stay home from school.

If your child’s cough is worse than you would expect with a cold, keep him/her at home. If he/she has hard time breathing or has a fever, call your doctor.

If your child complains of a stomach ache, especially if he/she says it hurts to move and he/she does not want to eat, he/she should stay home. Call your doctor.

If your child has impetigo (red, oozing blister areas with yellow-gold scabs on the face or body) he/she should stay home for as long as your doctor says.

School Requirements for Physical Exam Forms

In Northampton at the elementary school level, we require students to have a physical exam on file in pre-K, kindergarten, and fourth grade. Many fourth grade parents have not yet sent in their child's annual physical form this year.

A good way to remember is to send in your child's well-visit form EVERY YEAR. That way those students do not have to go through the yearly mandated screenings and the health office is up to date on all allergies/health conditions.