School-based Care & Family Support

Dorchester County Health Department
School Health

The School Health program, in partnership with Dorchester County Public Schools, provides:                          

  • School nurses                          
  • Vision and hearing tests                          
  • Immunization reviews                          
  • Communicable disease prevention and education 

School health forms:

Physical Examination

Every child entering the Maryland public school system for the first time is required to have a physical examination, using the form designated by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Department of Health. 

Record of Physical Examination Form

Hearing and Vision Screenings

In accordance with Maryland law, students entering the school system for the first time, entering first grade, and entering eighth grade are screened for potential vision or hearing difficulties unless there is written documentation of testing within the past year from a vision or hearing specialist.

Immunizations

All children must have the required State of Maryland immunizations in order to attend school. Parents are responsible for providing proof of immunization to the school prior to the student attending or proof of an appointment for necessary immunizations within 20 calendar days of the first day of school. The school nurse can explain medical or religious exemptions to immunization requirements.

Minimum Immunization Requirements

Medications

All medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, including cough drops and ointments, must be kept in the health room with the exception of state mandated emergency medications.

Medications must be brought to school by a parent or responsible adult, be in the original labeled container and must be accompanied by a Maryland State School Medication Administration Form signed by both the prescribing medical or dental provider and the parent or legal guardian.

A new medication administration form is required at the beginning of each school year for each medication and each time there is a change in dosage or time of administration of a medication.

Any medications remaining after the order is discontinued or at the end of the school year will be destroyed unless picked up by a parent or other responsible adult within the designated time frame.

Medication Authorization Administration 

Lead Screening

Evidence of blood testing is required for all students who reside in a designated at-risk area when first entering pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and 1st grade.

Blood Lead Testing Certificate 

When Your Child Is Sick:

Parents should keep their child home from school because of a serious illness, injury or a condition that can be passed on to other children. Although no comprehensive list is possible, the following conditions may be considered appropriate reasons to keep a student home from school.

Examples of serious illness or injury:

  • Vomiting
  • Temperature 100 °F or greater. Children with a fever (> 100 °F) must stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Earache
  • Head injury
  • Adverse medication effect
  • Suspected fracture
  • Chest pain
  • Severe pain
  • Severe shortness of breath or wheezing

Examples of possible communicable conditions:

  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools/diarrhea
  • Suspected communicable disease
  • Nuisance condition not currently being treated, e.g., ringworm, scabies, head lice
  • Red, draining eyes
  • Persistent runny nose with yellow/green discharge, accompanied by fever
  • Productive cough, accompanied by fever
  • Undiagnosed rash

Parents should consult with their doctor for advice and/or treatment of the conditions or symptoms listed here.

For more information about the school health program, call Beth Spencer at (410) 901-8177.

Case Management for Children with Special Health Care Needs

This program provides registered nurse case management for children with special health care needs by securing services and resources for them and serving as the liaison for home, school, physician, and other agencies/programs.

Referrals are accepted from physicians, schools, parents, etc.

There is NO fee for this service. For more information, please contact Carolyn Hallowell, RN at (410) 228-3223.

Dorchester County Health Department
School-based Wellness Centers

The Dorchester County School-based Wellness Center Program is dedicated to promoting accessible, quality school-based health care for children and youth. School-based health care is built upon mutual respect and collaboration between school personnel and health providers to promote health and educational success.

The program provides health and mental health services at county public schools and works with the child’s primary medical care provider. Wellness centers supplement and complement school health services (the “school nurse”).

Goals of the Program:

  • To promote positive health behaviors and encourage primary prevention and wellness
  • To provide behavioral health and mental health counseling; as well as prevention services
  • To improve the access to preventive and primary care
  • To increase health knowledge and enhance positive decision-making skills
  • To support educational goals
  • To provide health care in conjunction with primary care physicians

Services Provided

  • Acute medical care for injuries, illnesses, and new symptoms/problems
  • Periodic medical care for ongoing conditions (i.e.: asthma, hypertension, allergies)
  • Preventive care including physical exams, sports physicals, immunizations, reproductive health care, contraception, health screenings & education
  • Referrals as needed, prescriptions, imaging orders, and lab work as indicated
  • If a student needs mental health services, a licensed mental health clinician will meet with the parent/guardian and obtain additional consent. 

How Do We Care for Your Child?

  • We involve you
  • We keep all records confidential according to state and federal law
  • We notify your child’s primary care physician of any treatment and recommended follow-up
  • We prescribe and/or dispense medications and monitor the student’s response to the medications
  • We make referrals and coordinate outside services

Staff Includes:

  • Certified Nurse Practitioners
  • Family Practice Physician
  • Licensed Social Workers
  • Office Support Staff

Locations:                          

  • Mace’s Lane Middle School, (410) 228-0973                         
  • North Dorchester Middle School,  (410) 943-3275                         
  • Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, (410) 228-3825                        
  • North Dorchester High School, (410) 943-3316                         

With a parent’s approval, services are available to all students in schools with wellness centers. For more information, call Beth Spencer at (410) 901-8177.  

Enrollment

All students and school staff are eligible to receive these services and may enroll as follows:

  • A student enrollment and history form must be completed once, with an updated form completed each year thereafter.
  • Parents/guardians must sign the consent to treat form.
  • Insurance companies will be billed if information is provided. Parents will receive a bill for insurance co-pays and deductibles.
  • Parents/guardians will be billed for services provided to uninsured students. A sliding fee scale is available if income information is provided.
  • If your child does not have insurance, please let us know! He or she may be eligible for programs that are no or low cost.

*All children will be treated regardless of insurance status or ability to pay*

School-based wellness centers are operated by the Dorchester County Health Department in collaboration with the Dorchester County Board of Education. The program is partly supported by funds from the Maryland Department of Health.

Dorchester County Health Department
Family Support

Healthy Families Dorchester

Healthy Families Logo

You are the most important person in your child’s life – we will support you in making that relationship strong from the start! 

Our staff can help you connect with community resources and if you are interested in home visiting services, we will bring the latest information on pregnancy and parenting to you. Visits include activities to promote development and school readiness – learning starts at birth!

All pregnant women and families with newborns living in Dorchester County are eligible. For more information, please contact our program office at 410-901-8172.  

Connecting for Success

This program serves Dorchester County children and families affected by incarceration. Please call 443-521-1662 or 410-228-3223 for more information.

Services include:                       

  • Mental health counseling for children who have a parent in jail                     
  • Re-entry planning and case management for currently incarcerated parents 
  • Outreach and case management for justice-involved parents in the community  
  • Jail and community-based groups such as “Parenting Inside Out”, “Getting Ahead While Getting Out” and the Prison Yoga Project    

Case managers help incarcerated parents with:      

  • setting goals        
  • a smoother transition home
  • connecting with needed community supports 
  • strengthening family ties