Your Child’s Health
Ms. J. Jefferson, our school nurse, leads the charge in working to protect the health of our students and staff, whether dealing with a bandage for a skinned knee or a more serious health concern that requires specialized medical attention. If your child has special health needs, such as requiring medication during the day or having severe asthma or allergies, parents should contact Nurse Jefferson to discuss their child’s needs. Arrangements can be made to ensure that your child’s health concerns are addressed so that your child can focus all energy on school success.
Health Evaluations for All Students
All entering students are required to have a current health evaluation form in their file. This means that students must have a health evaluation that has been documented on a DOE form by their physician. Forms for documenting medical evaluations of students may be found on the DOE Office of School Health website or may be obtained from the PS 133 administrative office. If parents are not certain whether their child’s health form is current, they should call the PS 133 office (718) 398-5320 to check.
The NYC DOE website provides detailed information about immunization requirements and exemptions for NYC public schools, including PS 133. Generally, all entering students must have documentation of having had all required immunizations. Children who are not up to date with their immunizations may be excluded from school until they can provide documentation that they have been vaccinated in accordance with NYS Public Health laws. Parents Note: All children from Pre-K through 12th grade are now required to have the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Only children with medical exemption may be excluded from the immunization requirements. Medical exemption can only be obtained with proper documentation by a treating physician who is licensed in New York State. The form for medical exemptions can be found on the DOE Office of School Health Immunization Info webpage.
Tuberculosis in NYC
Although testing for tuberculosis is not required for elementary students (it is required for secondary school students), tuberculosis remains a problem that occurs in New York City. If parents suspect that they or their children may have tuberculosis or may have been exposed to tuberculosis, testing is free, confidential, and available at many NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene offices. Link here for more information about the DOEs policy on tuberculosis testing and a link to a list of testing centers.
Preventing the Spread of Illness
A few simple and common-sense measures can help prevent the spread of illness in our school and community.
First, both children and their family members should wash their hands often with soap and hot water (after using the toilet, after blowing their nose, before eating, after playing outside, after shaking or holding hands with someone, and periodically throughout the day).
Children should be kept home from school if they are sick. Although attendance is important, keeping children healthy is also important, and children who are sick should stay home and rest for both their own recovery and for the benefit of preventing transmission of the illness to their friends in school.
Also, as we enter cold and flu season, parents should consult with their physician to determine whether they and their children should get the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines.
Preventing Head Lice
Head lice, a tiny parasitic insect that lives on the human scalp, is a common problem in schools, and our school has a “no lice” policy to prevent the spread of lice. This means that children who are found to have live head lice on their heads or in their hair must be kept home from school while being treated to remove the lice. Children who have only nits (the eggs) do not need to stay home but must be checked to ensure that they do not develop an infestation of lice. One way that parents can help to prevent the spread of lice is to notify the school immediately if they discover that their child has lice. Because it can take several days and up to nearly two weeks for nits to hatch into adult lice, it can also take that long for the symptoms of infestation (e.g. intense itchiness along the scalp, behind the child’s ears, and at the nape of the neck) to develop. If parents notify the school immediately upon discovering their child’s lice, parents in the child’s classroom can be informed that an outbreak has occurred, and they can then monitor their child even before symptoms occur, possibly catching an outbreak before it becomes a serious infestation.
Having head lice does not indicate that a person is not clean, that they don’t take care of themselves or their child, or that there is something wrong with them. Anyone can have head lice, and we often see head lice move through nearly an entire class, particularly in younger children, which is one reason why it is so important that we monitor for lice and report outbreaks.
PS 133 has the benefit of mental health professionals who are able to work together to support the emotional well-being of our community. Our school social worker, school psychologist, and guidance counselor can work with children who may be struggling emotionally, with mental health concerns, or with developmental delays to develop a plan that supports the student in addressing these concerns.
If parents are concerned that their child may be struggling emotionally or if their child has a mental health or developmental diagnosis that could affect their ability to learn in a standard classroom, they should call our school office at (718) 398-5320 to discuss their options, how to arrange for an evaluation, if needed, and to meet with someone from the school support services. For more information on DOE mental health services, link to the school-based mental health program webpage for the DOE.
Sometimes the transition from home to school can be a difficult one—for both the parents and the children—especially in the younger grades. Young children may cry and protest when their parents drop them off. They may try to entice their parents to come back or take them home. This can be very distressing for both the child and the parents, and our support staff can offer strategies to help parents prepare, cope, and also support their children in the transition from home to school. When it comes to helping kids and families succeed in school, we are truly all in this together, and we want to be a place where parents can find the support that they need to help their children to be comfortable and successful in school.
At PS 133 we offer myriad opportunities for children to be active and develop their physical fitness. In addition to twice-weekly physical education classes with Mr. Blatt or Ms. Matute, we also encourage students to be active in our play yard during their recess. We provide them with equipment, such as balls and hoops, to have fun, use their imaginations, and get moving in their free time. On days when the weather keeps us from going outside, our teachers will lead them in active games and activities during their free time..
BOKS a FREE and fun early morning program where students (in grades 1-5) participate in fitness-based activities, play fun, non-competitive games and learn the benefits of good nutrition. It is run by Mr. Blatt (PE teacher) from 7:30 AM to 8:15 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You may download the registration form or reach out to Coach Blatt (firstname.lastname@example.org). The kids will meet in the lobby and then head to the gym or the schoolyard when the weather is nice.
Physical Fitness Tips
Get out to the playgrounds when the weather is still warm and sunny. Many New York City playgrounds have handball courts. Handball is an inexpensive activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. All you need is a handball, which you can purchase at many 99-cent stores. Not only is handball fun and gets you moving, but it can help you and your child develop coordination, reflexes, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Go out and play!
Do you commute to school? Consider getting up a little early and walking with your child (or let your child scoot, bike, or skate). You can also do this for walking home in the evening, particularly during longer daylight hours. Worried about getting home in time for dinner and homework? Consider packing a “picnic”-style dinner of fresh fruit, a sandwich, and drink to enjoy along the way. The whole family can benefit from the exercise and fresh air and may enjoy the time to share the day’s experiences with one another.