Health and Wellness
It is the policy of the Village School of North Bennington to support health and wellness among its students and staff and to promote nutrition education and physical activity as part of this effort.
Health Services & Illness Policy
A student’s overall health is important to the student’s ability to learn. VSNB has a full-time school nurse, Kaitlyn Hewson, to help your child get the most out of the school experience and to serve as a link between the child/family and your child’s physician. The nurse is a resource person for students, parents/guardians, and faculty/staff. Some of the services provided include: first aid/emergency care, administering medicine, health screenings, nutrition/dental education. Students who need to see the school nurse for any health related concerns should obtain a nurse’s pass. If there is a true emergency, passes are not necessary.
VSNB is following the guidance and regulations coming from the Vermont Department of Health, the State of Vermont Agency of Education, and the Centers for Disease Control for all infectious diseases. VSNB reserves the right to make changes to VSNB health and wellness policies and also to overall VSNB school policies and procedures based on what is determined to be safest. There will be no exceptions to safety requirements without documentation that shows the variation is appropriate and safe for the circumstances.
Any updates made to VSNB’s Health and Wellness policies during the school year will be communicated to families and staff and posted on this website page.
Student Illness or Injury During School Day:
If a student is injured or ill, the student should inform a teacher and ask for permission to see the school nurse. If the nurse deems it necessary for the student to leave school, the parent/guardian or designee will be notified. The school nurse is authorized to administer emergency first aid. If an injury appears serious, the parents will be notified and transportation home or to the hospital will be arranged. It is very important that the school be provided with all parent/guardian contact numbers, as well as at least two emergency contacts in case the parent/guardian(s) cannot be reached. Please be timely in picking up your student from the nurse’s office and/or have a back-up plan for a student who may need to leave school early due to illness or injury, as we do not have enough space or personnel to care for sick children for more than a short time.
When to Keep a Student with Illness at Home:
It can be hard to know when to keep children home from school. Usually the best place for them is school, but there are times when staying home to rest or making an appointment with your child’s health care provider is necessary and recommended. If you have a question about your child’s health, please keep your child home. You always may call the school nurse once school is underway to consult, but please do not expect that the nurse will be able to see your child first thing in the morning. Bringing or sending a sick child into the building may expose others unnecessarily. If your child is not in school because of illness, it is expected that your child will not attend after school or evening events.
Your child should not attend school if any of the following apply:
- A temperature greater than 100.4°F (this is considered a true fever). The student must be fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of fever reducers (such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen), before returning to school. Please do not give students fever reducers and send them to school. They are still contagious and should not be around other children.
- Shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, and/or muscles aches/malaise; please contact your healthcare provider.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea within the last 24 hours. Must be 24 hours since the last episode before the student returns to school.
- Severe sore throat for more than 48 hours and/or exposure to strep throat; please contact your child’s healthcare provider.
- Honey-crusted sores around the nose and mouth; please contact your child’s healthcare provider.
- Unidentified rash on any area of the body; please contact your healthcare provider.
Parents/guardians are asked to remind their children to throw away used tissues, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze (please use elbow method to catch/cover), keep their hands away from their face, and to wash hands often with soap and warm water. These measures will help keep everyone healthier. Face masks will be used on as-needed basis, depending on the case.
If you find your child is frequently asking to stay home from school and there do not appear to be any physical symptoms, if they are falling behind or appear anxious about school, contact the school nurse or your child’s healthcare provider to discuss your concern.
According to the Vermont Department of Health (VT DOH), people with COVID-19 may have a wide range of symptoms, including no symptoms at all, mild or moderate symptoms, or needing medical attention for severe illness. Even people with no symptoms can spread the virus to others. Symptoms can start 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The VT DOH recommends getting tested if symptoms develop. Refer to the VT DOH website for COVID-19 symptoms: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19.
The following information is adapted from the Vermont Agency of Education and Department of Health memorandum published in August 2022.
- If a student or staff member is presenting with COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, the school nurse will clinically evaluate the student or staff member to determine if the student or staff member should be sent home from school. If there is parental/guardian consent to test the student, the school nurse will administer a test (if available). This protocol also will be followed for mild respiratory disease symptoms, which include: runny nose or nasal congestion, minimal cough, and absence of fever in an individual with no current or recent household exposure to Covid-19.
- If a student or staff member is not well enough to learn or participate, regardless of whether they are tested for COVID-19, they will be sent home from school. The school nurse may require a student who is being sent home due to illness to wear a mask while awaiting pick-up.
- A student or staff member may return to school if their symptoms have improved, and they meet school criteria for their illness (refer to the section above: When to Keep a Student with Illness at Home). COVID-19 testing is not required for symptomatic students or staff to return to school. Although testing is not required, we encourage students and staff members to test before returning. This will help decrease the rate of COVID-19 in our school.
- If a student or staff member has confirmed COVID-19, they should follow the Vermont Department of Health isolation guidance.
- Students and staff are permitted to exercise their own or their family’s decision-making to wear a mask at school. A parent/guardian who would like their student to wear a mask at school, should please notify their student’s teacher so that we can help support your family’s choice.
- Frequent and thorough hand washing using soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will be encouraged throughout the school day to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
- It is recommended that students and staff keep up to date on all vaccinations. COVID-19 vaccinations do not
prevent one from getting COVID-19, but vaccinations do help keep our school and community healthier. Here are reasons why: decrease the chances of infection; decrease the chances of developing symptoms and their severity; decrease the rate of transmission to vulnerable people, like some of our staff members.
If your child has food allergies or seasonal allergies, it is the responsibility of a parent/guardian to document this on your child’s student record and to send in a note from your student’s doctor. The note can be faxed to the school at 802-447-2397.
If a student needs to take any medication, prescription or non-prescription, during the school day, he/she/they must follow these rules: Obtain a medication authorization form from the school nurse. This form must be completed and signed by the parent/guardian and the physician; return the form to the school nurse with the medication. The medication needs to be in the original packaging with the student’s name and DOB on it, and the doctor’s orders must be included. NO student is permitted to carry medication on school grounds. Parents or parent designee MUST deliver and pick up any medication. There are special circumstances in which students are given permission to “self carry” medications to use as needed. Approval from the school nurse and written prescription are required to “self carry.” Students carrying medications (prescription and non-prescription) without proper authorization as stated above are subject to disciplinary action.
Screening and Immunizations:
Vision and hearing screening will occur for students in grades Pre-K, K,1,3,5, as well as for students with an IEP or 504 plan. VSNB complies with Vermont State law regarding immunizations. Our school nurse will contact any parent/guardian whose youngster may be missing a required immunization.
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL) STATEMENT
It is the Village School’s philosophy that children who feel safe, secure, and nurtured will be successful learners. With this philosophy in mind, our entire school community works together to embrace social-emotional learning (SEL), which provides students with a strong foundation in building skills to: develop healthy identities; understand and communicate their emotions; self-regulate their actions; set and achieve both personal and collective goals; feel and show empathy for others; resolve conflicts with friends, parents/guardians, and the other adults in their lives; establish and maintain supportive relationships; and to improve problem-solving abilities so that students are able to make responsible and caring decisions. These skills are cultivated collectively through efforts both within the classroom and outside of the classroom, by all members of the school community, including: faculty, support staff, administrators, and the school counselor.
The school’s food service provider is the Abbey Group, which provides students with a full-service meal program that is in compliance with the USDA School Lunch and Breakfast Program requirements.
All students have access to free breakfast and lunch for the 2022-2023 school year thanks to the state of Vermont. Breakfast is available in the cafeteria from 7:45 – 8:15 a.m. Lunch is served in the cafeteria at appointed class times. Students who want to participate in the meal program can order from the school menu on a daily basis. For students who want to purchase milk only, there is a cost for milk of .50¢.
The Abbey Group’s menus are based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Menus are coordinated as much as possible with the seasonal production of local farms to reflect seasonality and local agriculture. The food service director works hard to foster a culture of trying new foods in the school cafeteria, and fresh fruits and vegetables are always available and on prominent display to encourage students to make the best nutritional choices.
Physical Education and Activity
The Village School’s physical education program promotes fitness through individualized and group activities. Students in pre-K through sixth grade participate in two PE classes a week. Morning gym is offered to all interested students at 7:45 a.m.
Recess is a part of students’ daily program at the Village School, except for in the most inclement of weather. (Note: the Pre-K Program is required to follow certain regulations for holding recess based on appropriate temperatures for its students.)
Village School teachers recognize the importance of giving students energy breaks and have many creative and constructive ways of doing this on a daily basis—from team-building field games to walks around the campus to yoga and movement breaks. Many classes also enjoy learning outside as the weather permits.
Children are at the heart of all we do. We nurture a child's curiosity, ignite enthusiasm for exploring, develop tools for inquiry, for invention, for achievement. We welcome families into a community-wide collaboration to help our children grow into their best selves - responsible citizens and stewards of the greater world, makers of the future.