Megan Benthall, RN
Welcome Back Mustangs!
My name is Megan Benthall and I am the School Nurse at Dahlstrom Middle School. This school year promises to be one for the books! I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some information to our families on what we are doing to keep our children, families, and community SAFE. Our illness policies have changed and new policies are now in place to help prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19. I am also providing some tips on what you can do to help keep yourself and families healthy during this time. Please know, as your school nurse I am committed to making our schools as safe and healthy as possible. COVID-19 guidelines are constantly being updated as we learn more about this virus. Please remember that we are all LEARNING and we all need to remember to treat others with patience, understanding, and kindness during this very challenging time.
Will my child be able to go to the nurse? Yes, however, at this time we are encouraging classroom care for first aid when possible. Teachers will be provided guidance and training for care that can be taken care of in the classroom and will be able to send the student to the clinic for any care beyond simple first aid.
How you can help? Talk to your student about appropriate times to go to the school nurse. Encourage healthy habits to prevent illness. Send a re-fillable water bottle to school and encourage your student to be well hydrated. Make sure your student eats breakfast. Keep the nurse informed of any situations that may be going on at home. Anxiety often arises as stomachaches in school aged children.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
What happens if my student has any of these symptoms at school? If a student presents to the school clinic with any of these symptoms, the student will be assessed by the campus nurse. Simple interventions will be done to see if the symptoms improve. If no improvement is noted with intervention, the student will be considered to have symptoms of COVID-19 and will be sent home and will need to follow the COVID-19 return to school protocol.
What is the return to school protocol if sent home with COVID-19 symptoms? Currently there are 3 ways a student may return to campus:
- 10 days have passed since symptoms began AND improvement in symptoms AND 24 hours fever free (without the use of fever reducing medication) *ALL 3 must be met with this option
- They are cleared by a physician to return to school
- The student has had a negative PCR test result indicating symptoms were not due to COVID-19. A negative rapid antigen test will NOT be accepted.
How can you help? Keep your students home if they are sick. Please do not send your student to school after giving fever reducing, anti-nausea, or anti-diarrheal medications. Encourage healthy habits such as: WASHING HANDS FREQUENTLY, teach your student correct hand washing techniques, wear a mask, encourage your student to drink plenty of water throughout the day, ensure your student gets plenty of sleep each night, provide healthy food options and encourage healthy eating habits. Encourage your student to get exercise. These healthy habits help to support your student’s immune system and will help keep them healthy! Make sure to check in with your students to see how they are doing. Help your students remember that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Though I know this year will be challenging for all of us, I look forward to helping our students have the best and healthiest year possible. You may contact me directly by phone or email. Additional resources are listed below. Please remember that if your student needs medications at school, complete and appropriate forms must be on file (see below for forms). Lets work together to take the best care of our students! Go Mustangs!
Megan Benthall, MSN, RN
Dahlstrom Middle School
News from the Nurse
Medications at School
Medication reminder: Students in middle school are allowed to self carry inhalers and epi-pens only. Please ensure we have the approprate authorizations on file for your student to self carry these medications if needed. All other medications must be kept in the nurse's office with the authorizations on file. Medication Authorizations and Action Plans can be found here:
- Medication Authorization
- Asthma Action Plan
- Food Allergy Action Plan
- Non-Food Allergy Action Plan
- Seizure Action Plan
All students must be up to date on vaccines or have a current, valid exemption form on file whether attending virtually or in person for the school year. Please visit here for a full list of Texas minimum vaccine requirements for school. Updated immunization records may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Exemption forms for immunizations can be requested here. If your student receives immunizations throughout the school year, please forward updated immunization records the nurse.
Need help getting vaccines? Click HERE for community resources for immunizations.
Hays County has FREE COVID-19 testing locations. Scan the QR code below or click here for locations and appointment information.
Health Screenings for this school year are currently to be determined.