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Massachusetts School Health Updates
Issue 14: March 17th, 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,

We recently witnessed the two year anniversary of the WHO declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, and it’s got me thinking a lot about the last two years, especially as we return to schools and other common spaces without masks and to workplaces that have been fundamentally changed.  I don’t know about you, but if there’s one word or phrase (besides “pivot”) that I am most tired of and uncomfortable with, it’s “the new normal”.  Former students would tell you that a favorite saying of mine is normal is just a setting on the washing machine.  For many of us, “normal” means what we had before.  But consider this, was “normal” what we had before:
  • Columbine
  • 9/11
  • The 2008 market crash
  • COVID-19?
These have all been pivotal events of the last quarter century, so when exactly was “normal”, I wonder?  I believe that “far from describing the status quo, evoking the 'new normal' does not allow us to deal with the totality of our present reality.”[1]  Wishing for things to go back to the way they were before is a bit of magical thinking, isn’t it?  Not only that, but this kind of thinking also “ignores the fact that 'normal' is not working for a majority of society.”[2]  I feel like wishing for what was is a very common and human response to trauma and loss, but I also feel like we can’t let that get in the way of acknowledging what IS.  I’m fortunate to have all adult children now, and I know they and their friends absolutely abhor the concept of a “new normal”, because they are primed and pumped for change.  Consider as well so many of our little ones who don’t even remember a world without masks and testing.  Asking our young people to just forget this ever happened and to get back to life as we knew it is asking a bit much, isn’t it?  And the same thing is true for the billions of people around the world who have perhaps experienced this pandemic in a much different way than we have. 

I am trying to push against this paradigm and to take the time to think about and process what I have seen and heard and felt over the last two years.  I want to encourage you to do the same, and to hone that skill of feeling comfortable with discomfort.  We owe it to our children and our fellow humans to take this opportunity “to reimagine the world by tracing history, not forgetting it.”

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:

Medication Post-Course and Leadership Program Surveys
We want to hear from you!
  • Did the mandated medication courses help you in your job?
  • Is there something you wish we included in the training?
  • How can these trainings be improved?
  • Would you like a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to Starbucks or Dunkin'?
SHIELD recently sent surveys to learners who have completed the state mandated medication courses.
SHIELD is also developing a foundational leadership and management course. We need to know what topics you want more education on as you step into leadership and management roles.  
It’s important to us to deliver to you high quality training that meets school nursing work force needs. Your input is crucial as we update and improve these courses.
So, if you receive the survey (check your spam folder -- just in case), please be sure to respond. Thank you in advance for spending the 10-15 minutes it will take to complete.

Beverly Heinze-Lacey, SHIELD’s Director
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.
School Nurses in the News:
SHIELD Nurses in the News Feed.

Upcoming Events

Defusing Tense Situations Workshop
The defusing tense situations workshop is back! These sessions are free, done through Zoom, and we offer PDPs. Register below:
Cultural Humility as a Methodology for Collaborating with Massachusetts Native Communities
This free training will be offered via Zoom on three (3) different dates. Please choose the best date for you during registration.
  • Friday, March 25th | 9:30 am - 3:30 pm EST
  • Friday, April 22nd | 9:30 am - 3:30 pm EST
  • Friday, June 3rd | 9:30 am - 3:30 pm EST
4.5 hours of Continuing Education will be offered for Nurses (RN/LPN). To learn more and register, view the event page here.
Addressing Non-Suicidal Self Injury for Youth and Young Adults in Recovery
Thursday, April 28th | 9:30 am - 12:30 pm EST | Zoom (2.5 contact hours offered)
This training focuses on helping providers understand the differences between suicidal and non-suicidal self injurious (NSSI) behaviors, and to review therapeutic interventions used to address and reduce NSSI behavior for youth and young adults in substance use treatment.
The training is aimed towards anyone working with youth and young adults; prior knowledge is not required. Learn more and register
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
  • Tuesday, April 12th: Child Abuse and Neglect - An Overview for School Nurses
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.

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.

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.

BU CME/CNE Office Conference
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.

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

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.
A Message From Your Medication Program Team:

The MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) School Health Unit (SHU) has made a few changes to the medication and epinephrine registration procedure. The changes are part of a quality improvement plan to make the application process less cumbersome. There are revised applications and an updated guidance document for medication delegation and epinephrine training registration which will be posted to the MDPH SHU website and the BU SHIELD website soon. They were also mailed out through your Regional Consultants this week. If you are currently collecting signatures on an older version of the application, please feel free to continue and submit the older application.

Before explaining the changes, I would like to reflect over the last two years of registration. Prior to the pandemic the MDPH SHU registration process was 100% on paper. As MDPH transitioned to remote work in March 2020 SHU shifted the registration process online. The new process required a legal review, which resulted in two changes to be in compliance the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth. They are listed below, as well as a rationale from M.G.L. 94c § 7(a).
  1. The school/district must obtain a Massachusetts Controlled Substance Registration (MCSR),
  2. The school/district must register annually.
M.G.L. 94c § 7(a)
"Except in the case of a pharmacy, wholesale druggist or outsourcing facility, every person who manufactures, distributes or dispenses, or possesses with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense any controlled substance within the commonwealth shall upon payment of a fee, the amount of which shall be determined annually by the commissioner of administration under the provision of section three B of chapter seven, register with the commissioner of public health, in accordance with his regulations, said registration to be effective for one year from the date of issuance."

MDPH SHU has worked diligently to eliminate the required fee and additional process of applying for a MCSR. Please see the below changes listed in the new guidance document and reflected on the revised application:
  1. No school in the Commonwealth shall be charged a $300 fee to receive a MCSR.
  2. The MDPH SHU will act as a liaison for schools in registering for a MCSR. Schools/districts will no longer interface with the MDPH Drug Control Program or fill out a MCSR application. A school/district will submit an application to MDPH SHU, and MDPH SHU will approve the application via email with a MCSR attached. We have attached a sample MCSR to this email.
  3. The training requirement of Medication Managers will change from every 5 years to every 3 years starting in July 2022. BU SHIELD and MDPH SHU will continue to offer the course online. The two required courses have not changed; Medication Administration in a School Setting: School Nurse Practice in Massachusetts and Medication Administration in Schools: What School Nurse Managers Need to Know.
If you have any questions about the registration process, please reach out to Lauren Cosby at

Thank you for everything you are doing for your students and school communities. We appreciate you all.

Caitlin & Lauren
It's My Heart New England 2022 Scholarships
It’s My Heart New England is a non-profit organization created to advocate for and provide support to those affected by Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). The purpose of the It’s My Heart New England Scholarship Program is to support and encourage the continuation of higher education to all those in New England  affected by Congenital Heart Defects.

There will be five (5) scholarships offered this year. Each one is in the amount of $1,500. The scholarships are awarded to qualified high school and college students who either have been diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD), been the recipient of a heart transplant, or those who have a family member (sibling, child, parent) or close relative diagnosed
with a CHD.

For more information, please view the information sheet
here and the application form here. Applications must be postmarked by Saturday, March 26th for award on or before Sunday, June 26th at the 12th Annual Keep the Beat CHD Awareness Walk at Endicott Park, Danvers, MA.
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:
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate.
When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

- Shauna Niequist
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:
  • 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
COVID-19 Resources for Families of Children with Medical Complexity (CMC)
The two attached “frequently asked question” (FAQ) flyers in English and Spanish provide answers for families of children with medical complexity ages 5 and above. The FAQ is designed to address potential vaccine hesitancy that parents and caregivers might have. These flyers are also posted on the DPH FAQ web page “Children & Youth with Special Health Needs and the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Families and providers can learn more about disability-friendly vaccination events across Massachusetts at These clinics support people with sensory and/or other accommodation needs to have the most positive and comfortable vaccination experience possible.

Lastly, this flyer on “Ways to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination” provides ways to partner with local primary care practices, schools, or boards of health to co-host family friendly vaccination clinics, disseminate information, or host a town hall to encourage vaccination for children and their parents/caregivers. There are several helpful resources that can be used to promote vaccination in our communities.

Please use these resources in your efforts to promote vaccination in the communities we serve. Thank you!
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 April 2022 is
Wednesday, April 13th
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.
  • Summer Camp Nurse at Charles River School in Dover, MA. Send inquiries to Netra Srikanth, Director of Auxiliary Programs, at
  • Nurse Manager at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education in Newton, MA. View the job description here and apply here.
  • 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 at CHA Windsor Street Care Center in Cambridge, MA. 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
(857) 319-1408

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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