Office of School Health

The Office of School Health (OSH) is a joint program of the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). OSH provides health services and preventive services to DOE students.   

Please see the categories below for information about services provided by the Office of School Health: 

Mandatory for Entry into the NYC School School System

  • Medical Requirements for New School Entrants for 2014-2015 School Year
  • Child & Adolescent Health Examination Form (CH-205).  This form replaces the New Admission Examination Form 211S.
  • New Admission Exam: First notice requesting CH-205This letter is also available in  Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | French | Haitian-Creole Korean | RussianSpanish | Urdu.

  • New Admission Exam: Second notice requesting CH-205This letter is also available in Arabic | Bengali | ChineseFrench | Haitian-Creole | Korean | RussianSpanish | Urdu.
  • Immunization Compliance: OSH works closely with the Health Liaisons to monitor compliance with State immunization requirements.

     

    Effective Monday, June 10, 2013 the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) no longer issues yellow vaccination cards to patients at its immunization clinics.  Instead, patients will be given a print out of their vaccination history and the vaccines administered at the visit, including lot number and manufacturer of the vaccine.  The new immunization record provides more information, is clear and legible, and gives the date of next appointment and information about other vaccines that may be recommended.  Parents may continue to provide immunization information to schools by using the completed new entrant examination form (CH-205), a record from the DOHMH Citywide Immunization Registry, a print out from an electronic medical record signed by a physician or nurse practitioner or a signed yellow card.

    • School or Student Specific Services

      • Asthma: More than 10% of our elementary school children suffer from asthma. By ensuring that students have an appropriate plan for treating asthma, we can improve health and reduce school absences. For more information, please click here . View the American Lung Association's  Open Airways for Schools Brochure .
      • Condom Availability Program: As part of the mandated New York City DOE HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, all high schools are required to have a Health Resource Room where free condoms, health information, and health referrals are made available by trained staff to students upon request. 
      • Dental Health: Many schools host dental clinics operated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or by other providers. Services available at these clinics range from dental screenings to orthodontics. For more information, please click here. 
      • Health Services/Section 504 Accommodation: OSH manages the processes surrounding students needing medication administration, medically-prescribed treatment, glucose monitoring, insulin pump maintenance, and other Section 504 and Individualized Education Program (IEP) services. For more information, please click here .
      • Mental Health: School-based mental health services play a vital role in addressing behavioral and emotional difficulties that threaten to interfere with a child’s ability to perform academically. When left untreated, children’s mental health problems may interfere with their readiness and motivation to learn. OSH facilitates partnerships with mental health providers by enhancing the accessibility of mental health resources and programs in our schools. Our goal is to implement and create effective ways of increasing school-based access to mental health services for underserved youth populations. For more information, please click here .
      • School-Based Health Centers: There are 138 School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) serving over 330 schools in the five boroughs of New York City.  SBHCs bring the comprehensive medical services of a doctor's office to the school so that students can avoid health-related absences and get the support they need to succeed in the classroom.  When children are healthy they are more likely to learn and perform better.  For more information about SBHCs, please click here .
      • School Nurses: OSH places nurses in approximately 90% of NYCDOE sites (excluding sites with School-Based Health Centers) each year. School nurses provide skilled nursing services to students with documented need, case finding by review of new entrant exams, nurse and teacher observations and scheduling students for physician evaluations; referrals are sent to parents/guardians if further assessment is needed. Nurses provide ongoing case management for students with identified acute and chronic health problems to confirm students are receiving prescribed services. Nurse provides health education services for students with asthma through Open Airways for Schools. The program is offered by the school nurse twice a year. In addition the OSH follows the Managing Asthma in School program (MAS). This program provides a guide for nurses and physicians to ensure students are well controlled in their asthma management. School nurses implement Healthy Options and Physical Activity Program (HOP) to assist children and families in developing healthy lifestyles.Nurse provide families of students with (Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 99% with clinical assessment, health education, counseling and referrals to available resources in the community.OSH nurses work to provide ongoing prevention and or containment of communicable disease or environmental threats to the city’s schoolchildren. The program is currently implementing two new programs Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Health (CATCH) and Screening the at Risk Student (STARS).
      • The School Health Physician is a board certified/eligible pediatrician with public health knowledge who cares for the school children and adolescents in a designated number of public schools and parochial schools in all NYC boroughs. He/she is the physician for the child/adolescent who has not complied with the mandated New Admission Examination, or the Pre-participatory Sports Examination, or Working Paper examination which should be filled out by the primary physician/provider at the beginning of the child's academic year. The school health physician, in the presence of the school nurse or other designated chaperone, and the parent, if present, performs a thorough physical exam in the school medical room. If an abnormal condition is found, the child/adolescent will be referred to their primary provider for follow-up care. If necessary, the school health physician will communicate with parents or providers to follow-up on the referred medical condition. The school health physician is an active participant in all the programs that the OSH of the NYCDOHMH institute during the year. At the present time, he/she together with the school health nurse are involved in assuring asthma control, obesity prevention or modification in all the schools, and depression screening and pregnancy prevention in selected schools. The school health physician is available to the school community for advice and presentations on the above mentioned health related topics and other urgent health topics that may arise in the course of the school year. The school health physician is a passionate supporter of all children and works to assure that they continue to attain their best possible academic achievement.
      • Vision Screening: OSH is improving its vision program to ensure that all children are screened, and that those with serious vision problems receive the evaluation and treatment they need. National data indicate that about 25% of students need glasses by the time they reach high school. Furthermore, about 3% of children suffer from amblyopia, a condition that may result in blindness in one eye if not detected and treated before age seven. For more information, please click here .

        
      General Programs/Services and Other Information

      • AED/CPR Program: New York State Law requires public schools to participate in an Automated External Defibrillator program. Each of our over 1,500 schools is a Public Access Defibrillation site. OSH works with a vendor to provide service to the AED’s, and to provide CPR and AED training to our staff. For more information, please click here .
      • Automated Student Health Record (ASHR): This tool is available to school nurses in all elementary and intermediate schools. It has greatly expanded the ability of school nurses to care for students. It also assures that records are immediately available when a student transfers from one school to another.
      • BigAppleRx is the City of New York's official prescription discount card program developed to help NYC consumers save on their medication costs. It provides discounts averaging 47%; 15% average on brand-name drugs and 53% on generic drugs. The card is free and available to everyone living, working or visiting the City, regardless of age, income, citizenship or health insurance status.  For more information, please click here. Principals can download a Dear Parent/Guardian Letter to send home with students, so that their families can take advantage of this resource: (1) English version, (2) Spanish version.
      • Haitian Earthquake Resources for School Staff: Many Haitian immigrants live in and around the five boroughs, specifically Brooklyn and Queens. If students and their families need further assistance, please get in touch with the OSYD Technical Assistance Center at 718-935-5004. They can provide additional resources and crisis information.  
      • Health Education: Comprehensive health education, beginning in elementary school and continuing through high school, includes age-appropriate lessons on injury prevention; mental and emotional health; nutrition; tobacco, alcohol and other drugs; family health and sexuality; HIV/AIDS; and personal and consumer health. Mandatory HIV/AIDS lessons for kindergarten through 12th grade are supported by a curriculum which offers age-appropriate lessons. Review the quick reference guides to health education requirements, standards, recommended resources, and more, on the Office of School Wellness Programs (OSWP) site.
      • Health Insurance: Almost all children in New York City public schools are eligible for public health insurance at minimal or no cost. School records show that approximately 10% of our school children are uninsured. OSH collaborates with the Human Resources Administration Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access to provide access to public health insurance to our students and their families through the schools. For more information, please click here .
      • Home Instruction: OSH reviews inquiries regarding home instruction based on medical needs.
      • Physical Education and Fitness:  OSH includes the Office of School Wellness Programs (OSWP) which offers free support for schools includinga health-related fitness education curriculum, the annual NYC FITNESSGRAM assessment, the CHAMPS Middle School Sports and Fitness League, Move-To-Improve classroom fitness breaks (K-5), and professional development for teachers and administrators. For more on physical education requirements, standards, recommended resources, and more, visit the OSWP website.
      • Transportation Requests: OSH doctors review transportation requests based on health issues for students with Individualized Education Programs in specific areas.
      • Wellness Policies: DOE adopted Wellness Policies on Physical Activity and Nutrition in 2006, and revised them in 2010 to align with emerging knowledge and priorities in public health, particularly in the face of a national childhood obesity epidemic. To promote the health and well-being of our students through Wellness Policy-supported initiatives, check out the annual School Wellness poster contest, as well as the School Wellness Council grant opportunity for schools interested in forming or strengthening a School Wellness Council. To subscribe to a the Wellness Weekly, a publication on wellness opportunities and resources for your school, email Wellness@schools.nyc.gov and put “subscribe” in the subject line.

      Health Related Topics

      Bed bugs are small insects that feed on human blood. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping. Their bites are initially painless, but for some people can later turn into itchy skin welts. While bed bugs are a nuisance and can be worrisome, they are not known to cause or spread disease. For additional information regarding bed bugs, view the Bed Bug Fact Sheet (available in Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian-Creole | Korean | RussianSpanish | Urdu), visit the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's website, or call 311.  If a suspected bed bug is found in a school, principals will submit a specimen following the protocol described in the Bed Bug Information Kit . If the specimen is confirmed to be a bed bug, principals may notify parents using the letter in the kit, which is also available in Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | French | Haitian-Creole | Korean | RussianSpanish | Urdu. If the DOE Pest Management Unit finds that a school is infested (bed bugs living and reproducing in the area), parents of all the students in the building will be notified and DOE will provide the appropriate treatment in affected school areas. 

      Concussions: A concussion is a brain injury caused when the head strikes an object or a moving object strikes the head.  Children and adolescents are more susceptible to concussions and take longer than adults to fully recover. School nurses, coaches and PE teachers must complete an online, State-mandated concussion training once every two years. This overview provides additional information about concussion management in schools.

      Influenza
      The state health department has declared a public health emergency because of the severity of this year’s flu season.  Schools and child-care facilities must post influenza educational material within their facilities, according to state law. A guide for parents is available here, (also available in 11" x 17")and should be posted in the main office or other areas with high visibility to parents and families.  Additional information is available from the Centers for Disease Control here.

      Guidelines for Outdoor Play in Cold Weather
      Children benefit from vigorous exercise and should be given the opportunity to play outside whenever possible.  Unless it is snowing or there is ice on the playground, low temperatures should not be a barrier to outside play, as long as children are appropriately dressed.  The Health Department strongly encourages principals to maintain outdoor play periods on the vast majority of winter days.

      Communicable Disease/ Environmental & Food-Borne Illnesses: In suspected cases of communicable disease, environmental illness, or food-borne illness, schools will immediately notify OSH, which will conduct an investigation. If the investigation results indicate that notification of the school community is warranted, OSH will provide principals with letters to be distributed in classrooms and through the regular mail.

      Obesity: Almost half of New York City children are not living with a healthy weight. Many are not physically fit. In addition to the fitness initiatives supported by the Office of School Wellness Programs, OSH works with the School Food program to improve the quality of student meals and encourage participation in the universal free breakfast program. The Department of Health has a helpful publication for parents titled Helping Children Reach a Healthy Weight. This publication is also available in Chinese and Spanish.

      Drink Low-Fat Milk: In an effort to help reduce childhood obesity, the Health Department and the Department of Education strongly encourage everyone ages 2 and older to drink 1% or fat-free milk rather than whole milk. Please distribute a letter from Chancellor Klein and Mental Hygiene Commisioner Frieden to families at your school.  This letter is also available in Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian-Creole | Korean Russian Spanish | Urdu  

      Pediculosis (Head Lice):
      For more information, please click here

      Intimate Partner Violence affects tens of thousands of NYC teens and adults every year. Family members and friends are also impacted. To learn more about intimate partner violence and teen dating violence, and access available resources, please visit: this site.

      Prevent Window Falls: Open windows offer relief from the summer heat, but they can pose hazards for small children. To protect children from falls, the Health Department urges New Yorkers to make sure window guards are in place. 

      The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a nationally replicated, evidence-based, nurse home-visiting program for vulnerable first-time mothers.  The Health Department oversees nine NFP sites throughout all five boroughs.  NFP helps families improve maternal and child health, build a secure and nurturing relationship between parent and child, and reach education and employment goals.  First-time mothers must enroll in NFP by their 28th week of pregnancy.  Registered nurses, who follow a structured curriculum, make an average of two home visits per month during pregnancy and until the infant’s second birthday.  Eligible students can be referred by completing a simple form.

      Sleep is very important to the development and growth of the body and brain. The amount of sleep needed varies with age. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that school-age children (5-10 years) need 10-11 hours of sleep daily, teens (10-17 years) need 8.5-9.5 hours, and adults need 7-9 hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses the NSF’s recommendations. Review the CDC Sleep Guidelines, NSF Teen Sleep Factsand visit Sleep for Kids
      for more information.

      Additional Resources  

      Directory of Nursing Directors

      Directory of Borough Nursing Directors and Supervising Nurses

      Supervising Medical Doctors

      Health Contacts

      Health Liaisons

      To visit the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s School Health Web site, please click here .

      New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Bureau of Immunization Web Site

          Department of Health Publications
              City Health Information 
              NYC Vital Signs

      To visit the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Web site, please click here .

      Forms: for more information, please click here .