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Massachusetts School Health Updates
Issue 13: March 3rd, 2022
Please do not reply directly to this email. For any questions you may have, please create a new email thread with a new subject line to the contact you wish to ask. Contacts are listed at the bottom of the newsletter. 
A MDPH Message from Karen Robitaille:  

Greetings from the School Health Unit,

It’s my hope that many of you were able to take some real time off over the February break, a week filled with some extremes of weather and world events.  I know that any return from a school vacation is not usually easy and that this one will not be any different.  With everything else going on, I want to say to you what I have said before; the most important task is the student standing in front of you.  Let’s try to be extra mindful of our students who might be affected by events in Texas and Florida, and in the Ukraine over the last week.  They need you now more than ever.

I also know that there have been many questions about the mask requirement being lifted; I’d like to address the requirement that masks still be worn in Health Offices.  As much as school nurses have advocated for pay equity and to have parity with teachers as professionals, this does not mean that school nurses don’t have a unique role in the school environment.  Nurses are there to provide health care to ALL students (and many staff) and often the people you serve are more vulnerable to infection, or to poor outcomes from infection, due to chronic illnesses or other factors.  Just as other health care environments (hospitals, outpatient centers, physician’s practices) are required to keep masking to protect a possibly more vulnerable population, so are school health offices.  We recently received an email from the CDC that emphasizes this: “CDC has updated 
guidance about COVID-19 community levels along with recommended individual and household-precautions and community-level prevention strategies that should be taken at each level.  The rationale for these changes are described in the guidance. These COVID-19 community level recommendations do not apply in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Healthcare settings should continue to follow CDC’s infection prevention and control recommendations for healthcare settings, which continue to use community transmission levels as a metric for stratifying some IPC measures (e.g., use of source control, screening testing).  CDC will be adding a banner at the top of the healthcare IPC pages to emphasize this point.”  The rationale, from the May 2021 mask order: “certain settings continue to pose elevated risk of transmission of COVID-19 or to pose an elevated risk for those most vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19. The use of face coverings or face masks in such settings continues to be necessary to address these risks and to control hospitalization and risk of severe illness and death due to COVID-19”.  This includes “healthcare facilities licensed or operated by the Commonwealth and healthcare practice locations of any provider licensed by a professional board which sits within the Department of Public Health or the Division of Professional Licensure. These settings include nursing homes, rest homes, emergency medical services, hospitals, physician and other medical and dental offices, urgent care settings, community health centers, vaccination sites, behavioral health clinics, and Bureau of Substance and Addiction Services (BSAS) facilities. This requirement applies to patients, residents, staff, vendors and visitors”.  I hope you can understand and respect the role you have in protecting your school communities and that you will work with your administration to make this as seamless as possible.
Lastly, Black History Month may have come to a close, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue the conversation.  Below are some resources that speak to the history of Black people in nursing; a long and valuable history that would be great to share with any aspiring nurses you know!
With great respect,

Karen Robitaille, MBA, MSN, RN, NCSN
<she, her, hers>
Director of School Health Services
Division of Child/Adolescent Health and Reproductive Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington St. 5th floor, Boston, MA 02108
Cell: 781-675-0463
Personal Webex room:
CSHS Site Visits Update
The School Health Unit staff will continue to conduct site visits throughout the end of the school year by request. Public school nurse leaders can use this link to request a site visit from Karen Robitaille and non-public school nurses can use this link to schedule a visit with Janet Guertin-Moruzzi. Visits can be virtual or in person, and funded districts who have not had a recent visit, as well as new nurse leaders, will be prioritized.
Pediatric Asthma and Diabetes Survey Announcement
Please view this announcement for updates regarding this year's Pediatric Asthma and Diabetes Survey. In addition, the survey worksheet can be found here.
The due date for this year's survey is Friday, April 15th.
Please contact the survey coordinator at 617-624-5757 or with questions or concerns.
MDPH Immunization Surveys Update
The MDPH Immunization Division has extended the deadline to submit the Immunization Surveys for every grade to March 4, 2022.

The following Immunization Surveys are now due March 4, 2022:
  • Preschool/Childcare: Contact the Data Assessment Unit at if you did not receive the preschool invitation email with links to complete the survey.
  • Kindergarten: Completed in the MIIS here
  • Grade 7: Completed in the MIIS here
  • Grade 11: Completed in the MIIS here
  • Post-secondary schools: Completed here (PINs have been sent to you in a previous email.)
Kindergarten, Grade 7, and Grade 11
Kindergarten, Grade 7, and Grade 11 immunization and flu surveys are available only through the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS). You must be registered with MIIS to search student vaccination histories or submit these surveys; shared access across users is not permitted.
  • If someone in your school/district has registered for the MIIS in a previous year, the current Access Administrator from your school/district may invite you to register (see this resource for more detail: Add Users Mini Guide). If you are unsure who your Access Administrator is or they are no longer employed, please reach out to
  • If this is the first time someone from your school is registering with MIIS, please access the MIIS Resource Center to start the registration process as soon as possible. Click on the purple “Registration” button to go to the Registration page and then click “Begin Registration.” Follow the prompts to create a profile for your school and complete the required registration paperwork.
  • If you need additional help registering for MIIS access, please contact
Thank you for taking the time to report compliance with the school immunization requirements.

Kind regards,
MDPH Data Assessment Unit
School Nurses in the News:
SHIELD Nurses in the News Feed.

Upcoming Events

Recurring Support Group for School Nurses
There is a weekly virtual support group for school nurses happening every Monday night at 7 pm. Jennifer Caprio, a mental health clinician from Eliot Community Human Services (ECHS), will be hosting the sessions. The support group is open to all school nurses from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and will remain active through May 2023. This group is a safe place to discuss how you are feeling, receive support, and get wellness tips. The flyer with the Zoom link can be found here. Please email Jennifer with any questions or concerns at

Anti-Racist Family Engagement Workshop
For more information, please view the event page on SHIELD's website here and register here.

Supporting Educators' Social Emotional Skills and Wellbeing
For more information, please view the event page on SHIELD's website here.
Interested educators, school leaders and SEL/mental health staff should register online for the sessions that interest them.

School Mental Health Essentials PD Series
Wednesday, March 16th | 3:30 - 5:00 pm EST | Zoom
For more information, please view the event page on SHIELD's website here. Interested school and district staff can register for the first session here.

BU CME/CNE Office Conferences
The BU CME/CNE Office will be holding two conferences that may be of interest to school nurses.
  • The Steven J. Parker Memorial Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Conference: Clinical Problems in Primary Care will be held from March 11th to March 12th. This annual two day accredited conference has been going strong for over three decades. It is designed for practicing clinicians who have an interest, passion or emerging expertise in developmental and behavioral pediatrics and want to take their knowledge and skill to the next level. You can register here.
  • In July, the Mindfulness in the Age of Anxiety - Helping Kids, Teens and Families program will be offered. This hands-on, practical workshop will focus on adapting mindfulness for a range of people and settings. We will discuss the most recent brain science, building buy-in and engagement, and strategies for starting mindfulness programs in larger institutions such as schools and hospitals. You can register here.
Community Education Initiative Lectures
Boston Children's Hospital is hosting a Community Education Initiative Lecture Series throughout the 2021/2022 School Year. Upcoming sessions will cover the following topics:
  • Thursday, March 17th: Childhood Hearing Loss - A Guide for School Nurses
  • Tuesday, April 5th: Caring for Kids with Anemia, Sickle Cell and ITP
All lectures are offered via Zoom from 4:30-6:30 pm EST (unless otherwise noted). For more information, view the event flyer here and register here. Please email Judi Naar at with any questions.

Commonwealth Challenges: Conversation Between Public Health & School Nurses Webinar
Thursday, May 5th | 6:00 - 7:30 pm EST | Zoom (1.5 contact hours will be awarded)
While the pandemic has emphasized the critical roles of the Public Health Nurses in improving population health, it also identified the need for the nursing population to better understand the impact of and more highly value these specialty practices. COVID-19 added additional responsibilities to these roles and a broader understanding of the complexity and continue value they bring to the profession and public health is needed. This nursing continuing professional development activity is being offered by American Nurses Association Massachusetts. To learn more, view the event page on SHIELD's website
here and register here.

All Regions Regional Meeting
The next all regions regional meeting will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, March 16th from 1:00-3:00 PM. Details will be here under "Regional Meetings." 

New Resources & Training Updates

MA Mandated School-Based Screenings Reference Tool
Shanyn Toulouse, Northeast Regional Consultant, created a lovely 
screening guidelines "cheat sheet" that can be found on SHIELD's website

Audit Version of "Vision Clinical Update 2021" Now Available
The audit version of the course "Vision Clinical Update 2021: Addressing Health Inequities and Implementing New Protocols" is now available on SHIELD's website here. This course is free and only offers participation credit.
For learners seeking credit, CNEs are available for the standard version found
here - fee applies.

SHIELD Training Update: BinaxNOW
The BinaxNOW training has just been added to SHIELD’s website as a self-paced course. Learners can review material on their own time and then register to participate in a return demonstration with a BinaxNOW trainer. Additional BinaxNOW resources and updates can be found on SHIELD's website here.
SHIELD continues to add new trainings to its website; for a summary of all courses and upcoming events, see this
one-page listing.

Recorded Webinar Now Available From NEPHTC
NEPHTC recently hosted a Transgender Introductory Primer webinar and the recording is now available here.

After viewing the recording, participants will be able to:
  • Understand basic terminology and theory as they relate to transgender health.
  • Describe health disparities facing the transgender community.
  • Identify resiliency factors, gender transition paths and support needs, and targeted best practices for serving the transgender community.
SBIRT Training Updates
M.G.L Chapter 71 Section 97 (Verbal screening tool for substance abuse disorders) of AN ACT RELATIVE TO SUBSTANCE USE, TREATMENT, EDUCATION AND PREVENTION (the STEP Act), mandates that each public school, charter school and vocational school utilize a verbal screening tool to screen pupils for substance use disorders annually. The STEP Act makes no determination as to which school professionals perform the screening. The only requirement is that each screener complete the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training, which is offered through Boston University School Health Institute for Education and Leadership Development (BU SHIELD). Please review school professionals’ workloads to determine who is best equipped to complete the substance use screening this year. If you have any questions on who can complete the screening in your school, please contact the MDPH Assistant Director of School Health Services, Caitlin Pettengill, at

BU SHIELD offers a free two-part SBIRT training. The first part is online, self-paced and can be taken at any time. The second part is a live online session which is offered multiple times a month, year-round, on a continuous basis. If the posted dates will not work for your district, please reach out to Caitlin Pettengill directly. The MDPH School Health Unit is also offering an optional supplement training on vaping/nicotine. If you have taken the SBIRT course in the past, please know the optional course is not required.

Mental Health Series for School Health Professionals
This SHIELD training series now includes five self-paced courses with more to be released in March. For more information, visit SHIELD’s website here.
Mandated Reporting for CSHS Funded Schools/Districts:
The link to the Monthly report survey is here and the end-of-year Status Report 21/22 survey is here. All reporting forms, worksheets and instructions were sent out to districts by Bob Leibowitz and worksheets for the monthly report can also be found here, and here is the CSHS end-of-year Status Report 21/22 worksheet. Questions related to CSHS mandated grant reporting should go to: DPH_ESHS_data@MassMail.State.MA.US.
Mandated Reporting for Non-CSHS Districts (public school)
Concussion Report Form: Not yet available. 
BMI report form: BMI report. CSHS-funded districts and nonpublic schools should NOT submit a separate BMI report, as these data are included in the Status Report. Non-funded districts will use the same link that is used to access the Status Report form.
SBIRT report. CSHS-funded districts and nonpublic schools should NOT submit a separate SBIRT report, as these data are included in the Status Report. Non-funded districts will use the same link that is used to access the Status Report form.
A worksheet for non-funded districts can be fou
nd here.
Mandated Reporting for ALL Schools/Districts
Asthma and Diabetes Survey: This year’s survey will be sent out in February and it will be an electronic form again this year. You should be getting it by email directly from us if you are on the list of regional school nurse coordinators or, if not, you should get it through your regional network. If you have questions or if you do not receive the survey by late February, please use the following email address to contact us:
Epinephrine administration report form.
2021/2022 COVID-19 Protocols and
Testing Information on DESE Website
Parents and guardians questions can be directed to:
District and school staff's questions can be directed to:
“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest.
Use both and overlook neither.”

- Alan Cohen
School Health Screenings for PE Teachers 
BU SHIELD is excited to announce a new course offered: School Health Screenings for PE teachersThis free course is designed for PE teachers who are assisting with BMI and postural screenings.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) class is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.
YMHFA is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

Date and Location: Due to the pandemic, this class is a blended learning program. Participants will complete 2 hours of self-paced work in advance of the YMHFA class. The individual work will be followed up by a 4.5 hour group class that will be held online.
Here are the dates for upcoming sessions:
  • Tuesday, March 15th | 9:30am - 3:00pm (Register by 3/8)
  • Monday, April 4th | 9:30am - 3:00pm (Register by 3/28)
  • Tuesday, April 26th | 9:30am - 3:00pm (Register by 4/19)
Cost and Registration: This event is provided free of cost with grant funding from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Space is limited. Please pre-register.

For more information, visit this
link or contact Erin Sullivan at
New Vision Screening Protocols (to begin in FY23)
The new vision screening protocol is now up on the BU SHIELD website for your reference and can be found here. As a reminder, schools/districts are not mandated to use this protocol until the 2022/2023 school year. Additional health screening resources can be found here.
New Vision Screening Course is now open! The November Clinical Update focused on the new vision screening requirements. This course was recorded and is now available for self-paced learning. This course is ideal for districts to use as a local professional development option. 
To access the course, follow this link.
Vision Screening during COVID. The National Center for Children's Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness has updated the Considerations for Conducting Children's Vision Screening Safely in Schools, Head Start, and Early Care and Education Programs During the Covid-19 Pandemic. The resources includes a downloadable guide and FAQ. Please share these documents with your colleagues. 
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Youth and Young Adults
You may be seeing student and staff COVID-19 vaccination records, including those from other countries. AN IMPORTANT NOTE IN REGARD TO FOREIGN VACCINATION RECORDS: Unlike other vaccinations where we accept whatever the foreign formulation is, the U.S. is currently only accepting WHO-approved COVID vaccination formulations. Here is the link to the list of COVID-19 vaccines within the WHO EUL/PQ evaluation process; any vaccine marked “finalized” is accepted in the U.S. Please note, nurses should check this information frequently, as it is subject to change. 
For key information about managing COVID-19 in Massachusetts, see these websites.

SHIELD COVID-19/BinaxNow Resources.
MDPH Website.
SHAH Family Foundation Pooled Testing Website.
For additional resources surrounding COVID-19, visit these websites.

NASN COVID-19 Resources.
CDC Website.
WHO COVID-19 Resources.
CDC guidance on correct and consistent mask use.
School Health Resources:
For a comprehensive list of resources
relevant to school nursing visit:

MDPH School Health Services
MDPH Infectious Disease Reporting
Massachusetts School Nurse
Grant Information.

General DESE Information, click here.
DESE Licensure Information, click
Sign up for CDC Health Alert Network Email Updates here.
Workshops & Meetings: 
SHIELD - Mandated Trainings.
BinaxNOW Online Trainings.
Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Online Trainings.
Additional Nursing and Public Health Online Trainings.
BU School of Medicine: Continuing Medical Education Online Trainings.
Medication Administration Online Trainings:
Introductory Course (Online): Medication Administration in a School Setting: School Nursing Practice in Massachusetts

(This training is for nurses seeking DESE School Nurse Licensure and Nurse Managers listed on a school district’s MDPH Medication Delegation Registration Application.)

Medication Manager Course (Blended Online/Zoom): Medication Administration in Schools: What School Nurse Managers Need to Know (Blended 2020)

(For School Nurse Managers listed as signatories on the district’s MDPH Medication Administration Registration Application. The introductory course must be completed prior.)

View the Medication Admin E-Book

Med Del Epi Registration Guidance (PDF) l (DOCX)   
Medication error (resulting harm)
A reminder to not fax or mail anything to the School Health Unit (even though the medication error report states to fax and mail form; we will revise this). Please email to:
Mark your calendars!
The date for the Board of Registration in Nursing Meeting for March 2022 is
Wednesday, March 9th
Meetings and Agendas here.
Every School Nurse should have ready access to the MDPH School Health Manual. Download yours here.

Training and how to access it.
Did you know that MDPH has their own youtube channel? Check it out here!
Additional Resources:
  • From the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Program (MCVP)MDPH has compiled a one-pager that outlines key communications resources available on to help promote COVID-19 vaccination among pregnant and breastfeeding people, parents, and children ages 5+. These resources include answers to commonly asked questions, DPH-developed marketing materials available for download, guidance on boosters, and more.
  • From MDPH: The recording of the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey (CCIS) Caregivers Webinar can be viewed here.
  • From NASN: A quick micro-burst of learning, this interactive module teaches school nurses a simple formula to use to respond effectively to challenging conversations. Watch here
  • MA Dept of Public Health & MGH's New Drug Education Curriculum: Intervention, Diversion, and Empowerment, iDECIDE
    • Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
  • The SBIRT in Schools course and resources have been updated to reflect additional screening for tobacco and nicotine. Click here to access the course. The new toolkit can be found here.
  • The Northeastern University School Health Academy (NEUSHA) provides engaging, professional learning opportunities that benefit the health, safety and achievement of all youth. 
  • Effective immediately, there is a new FAQ available on the DCYSHN web pages on regarding Children & Youth with Special Health Needs and the COVID-19 Vaccine. Please share this information with caregivers, providers, and your networks. With the help of many in the Division and Bureau, we compiled a list of frequently asked questions on the COVID-19 vaccine from families with a focus on children and youth with complex medical needs. DPH’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Larry Madoff and members of the Pedi Vax team provided the responses. We hope that this will provide helpful information and reassurance to families that children with medical complexity are one of the groups who will benefit greatly from vaccine protection against COVID-19.
Regional Meeting Dates:
The recording and resources from FY21 meetings can be found on our SHIELD website here.
Career Opportunities:
If you have job opportunities to be posted in the newsletters, please email them to your respective Regional School Nurse Consultant. The posting will run for 2 newsletter issues.
If the position hasn't been filled after those 2 issues, please email your Regional School Nurse Consultant again, otherwise it will be removed.
  • Child/Adolescent School-Based Health Epidemiologist for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), Bureau of Community Health and Prevention (BCHAP) & Office of Statistics and Evaluation (OSE). View the job posting here.
  • School Nurse Leader for Sizer School in Fitchburg. View the job posting here.
  • School Nurse at CHA Windsor Street Care Center in Cambridge. View the job posting here.

Medication Registration: 
US Return of signed CSHS purchase vouchers:
Return of CSHS amendment forms:
Return of CSHS reconciliation forms:

Using the correct email address is essential to your documents being received and processed in a timely manner. Thank you!
Statewide Regional School Nurse Consultant Contacts:
Please do not reply directly to this email. For any questions you may have, please create a new email thread with a new subject line to the contact you wish to ask.


Mary Jane O'Brien, PhD, RN, CPNP, NCSN
(617) 635-6788


Tracy Rowe, MEd, BSN, RN, NSCN
(781) 392-7726

Metro West

Jill Connolly, MEd, BSN, RN, NCSN
(781) 848-4000 x7841


Shanyn A. Toulouse, MEd, BSN, RN, NCSN
(978) 420-1919


Ann M. Linehan, DNP, MSN, RN
(508) 580-7363

Western (Hampden, Hampshire)

Veronica Webb Barrett, MSN, MA Ed Psych, RN, HNB-BC
(413) 896-8100
Western (Berkshire, Franklin)

Margaret Burch, MS, RN, NCSN
413-665-1155 ext. 7740
MDPH Public Health Nurse Advisor: 
Non-Public Schools

Janet Guertin-Moruzzi, MEd, BSN, RN, NCSN
Phone: (781) ***-****

Check out the Regional Consultant Brochure here.
If you have Medication Registration inquiries, please contact Lauren Cosby 
If you have report/data questions, please contact Bob Leibowitz at
If you have budget/grant questions, please contact Juliet Sithole-Berk at
Presented by: 
Massachusetts School Nurse Regional Consultants
MDPH School Health Unit
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