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:
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 any of the following:
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.
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 147 School-Based Health Centers (SBHC) serving 343 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 nurses and physicians follow a new program Enhanced Asthma School Interventions (EASI). This program is designed to identify students with asthma who may be at risk and provide ongoing case management for all students with asthma. 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 1,800 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. 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.
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 12 th 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. 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. The Affordable Care Act requires that everybody obtain health insurance. Students and their families who qualify for Medicaid and/or Child Health Plus can enroll all year long. However, it is very important to do so as soon as possible to avoid paying a penalty. Those individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid and/or Child Health Plus may still have an opportunity to enroll in private health insurance if they have had a qualifying event such as job loss, birth of a child, etc. If you need health insurance please check "coverage at a glance" to explore coverage options. The NY State Department of Health is the online resource to apply for both public and private health insurance.Individuals and families can enroll in health insurance in any of the following ways: - Call the navigator assigned to your school. For navigator information, please contact Solluz Melendez at firstname.lastname@example.org - Enroll online at https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/(Official Health Plan Marketplace) - Call the Marketplace help line at 1-855-355-5777 (Mo-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm; Sat. 9:00am-1:00pm). TTY: 1:800-355-5700
For Principals' draft letter to parents, please click here.For additional 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 including a health-related fitness education curriculum, the annual NYC FITNESSGRAM assessment, the CHAMPS Middle School Sports and Fitness League, Move-To-Improve (K-5) activities, which blend academics and physical activity into educational lessons, and professional development opportunities for elementary PE and classroom teachers. 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 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 العربية | বাংলা | 中文 | Français | Kreyòl Ayisyen | 한국어 | Русский | Español | اردو . 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 العربية | বাংলা | 中文 | Français | Kreyòl Ayisyen | 한국어 | Русский | Español | اردو . 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.
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.
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 Commissioner Frieden to families at your school. This letter is also available in Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Haitian-Creole | Korean | Russian | Spanish | UrduPediculosis (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. 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 28 th 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 Facts, and visit Sleep for Kids for more information.
Additional Resources Directory of Borough Nursing DirectorsDirectory of Borough Nursing Directors and Supervising Nurses Supervising Medical DoctorsHealth ContactsField Support Center Health Directors 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 NYC Vital Signs Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Forms: for more information, please click here.