Re-2 revises policies
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE ” The Garfield School District Re-2 has revised its policies regarding the “timeliness” of medical care to students.
The policy was brought to light through the recent incident at Rifle High School involving a fight between two female students in February when one of the girls who was badly injured was not given immediate medical attention. According to the girl’s parents, they were not contacted for about a two-hour period.
School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Pack said that the school district has always had policies in place regarding “student care” as set by the Department of Education that each of the schools has to follow. But after the fight, the school district reviewed the policies and “eliminated the bureaucracy,” Pack said.
“We tried to tighten all the procedures up so that a decision can be made at the school level,” he said. “The health clerks now have the latitude to make the call and can call 911 without having to contact the central (Re-2 administration) office.”
Pack said that the district has instructed the eight health clerks that work at the individual schools to go back and review the policies and procedures so that they are all aware of what they are.
“They don’t need approval from me or from (Assistant Superintendent) Mr. Smucker,” Pack said. “If they feel that the student needs emergency care, then they can do it.”
In the past, health clerks were to call the administrative office to clear emergency medical attention for a student by either Pack, Smucker or one of the two registered nurses for the district. But they no longer need to do that, Pack said.
However, Pack did indicate that it could still be a tricky situation. If the parents can’t be reached and the school makes the decision to take the student to the hospital for emergency medical treatment and the parents don’t want the treatment, the district is liable for the charges.
“There is a cost involved,” Pack said. “We’ve made that call in the past and the parents did not want the kid to go to the hospital.”
It is still Re-2’s procedure to always contact the parents first when a student is in need of any medical attention.
“We will try to contact them first. We always have, ” Pack said. “If we are moving them to the hospital (the parents) can make the decision. But we wouldn’t take any child to the hospital if it weren’t a real emergency.”
Pack indicated that every school in the district has an on-site health clerk and the district has a full-time registered nurse (RN) and a part-time RN to assist the health clerks in decision making. Next year the district is hoping to hire an additional full-time RN as well.
But the real issue brought up at the March 6 school board meeting was the timeliness of the care administered to the students, not the schools ability to care for them. And that issue has been addressed according to Pack.
“Time is of the ultimate importance,” Pack said. “We did go back and review those issues and policies, and the health clerk and nurses now have the latitude to make the call in the best interest of the child.”
Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 16604
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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