MDPH School Health Unit Update: 10/30/2020

Greetings from the School Health Unit!

It was so good to see so many of you at our October regional meetings.  I hope that you are finding these meaningful and useful, and a reminder that feedback is always welcome.  In November we will focus on Working with Local Health Departments, and we hope to see you there!

As I walked my dog Harley the other evening, I began thinking about Halloween, and how different and sort of sad it has been for me in the last few years with my own children grown and (mostly) gone.  When they were young it was SUCH a big deal for our family; the anticipation of goodies, the costume planning, and the break-in routine (Outside!  At dark!  On a school night!).  Then I thought about how everything this year is so altered for our students; the rhythm of the year, the celebrations (or lack thereof), the loss of connection.  The upcoming holiday season is sure to be very different, bringing that sadness into stark relief.  We are all going to have to get creative while remembering that for many of our students, holidays are ALWAYS hard and require extra patience and understanding on our part.  Here is a great article from CNN outlining safer ways to celebrate on Saturday, and there are certainly many more resources out there that your families might welcome you sharing.

Stay safe this weekend, and a few updates follow.

With great respect,



Comprehensive School Health Services (CSHS) Grant Orientation

This program introduces nurse leaders to CSHS grant management and requirements; the recorded version is also now available:

Course Recording and Materials

To access a recording of this training (1 hour, 17 minutes), click on this link:

Additionally, Caitlin, Bob, and Juliet worked to take important tasks related to the grant and explain them in individual job aids; links to these are below and they “live” on the BU SHIELD website for access by anyone who needs them:

  1. School Health Data Collection Tools
  2. Guidelines for Choosing Professional Development Offerings
  3. PDSA Cycle Job Aid
  4. CSHS Grant Budget Job Aid
  5. CSHS Data Reporting and Statistics Job Aid
  6. CSHS Performance Measures Job Aid

November Clinical Update clarification  

STARTS NEXT WEEK, PLEASE REGISTER NOW!  The first session features Craig S. Andrade, RN, DrPH. Associate Dean of Practice, Activist Lab Director, Boston University School of Public Health, presenting Antiracist School Health Services:The Time is Now.

Anyone can register for any number of the sessions using the Zoom links provided. There is no cost to do this. There IS a $120 fee for the credits for the bundle of four sessions.  Due to the amount of work involved, we are not able to separate these for credit/payment purposes and you must attest to the fact that you participated in each session for the credits. The recorded program will be offered in a similar fashion – watch each, pay for the whole. This way, you can attend one live session and watch three recorded sessions and still be able to access credit without re-registering.  If you have any further questions about this offering, please do contact BU SHIELD directly.

Information about registering for the Clinical Update can be found here.


Juliet is still working on getting FY20 reconciliation forms out to districts.  We will keep you updated as to the progress so that you can keep an eye out for them.

A few points of clarification regarding FY21 amendments:

  • Each new budget year starts with the final budget from the previous year.  I know that you may have received conflicting information in this regard, but this is how most of us are used to working with our budgets, and that is how we will function moving forward.  If you amended your budget last year, you will start with the amended budget, which may be further amended as needed.
  • We had already provided guidance on allowable expenses in regards to COVID and these are outlined below:
    • Consumable supplies needed to safely provide care during COVID (may include gloves, masks, eye protection, scrub/gowns), for school health staff ONLY. Not to exceed 10% of the total budget.
    • Reallocation of case management staff hours to address COVID case management  during school hours in the form of dedicated nursing staff performing contact tracing and/or case management for COVID cases in the school community (ie referral to testing, referral to community resources for isolation & quarantine) under an agreement with the LBOH.
    • Health office equipment that addresses COVID-19 emergency response and that will be used in the health office, medical waiting room, or AGP room (may include physical barriers and filtration units for those spaces ONLY). Not to exceed 15% of the total budget.
  • If you are finding that you wish to amend your budget beyond these parameters in a way that significantly changes your planned programming (for example, your district is fully remote and implementing a BRYT program has been put on hold), please contact Juliet for specific instructions on providing an amendment justification for the changes.


Recognizing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on children’s mental health, the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) joined forces with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to launch, a new family-friendly website for parents and guardians of school-aged children who are concerned about their child’s mental health. provides families with tips, tools, and resources designed to help them navigate their child’s mental health journey with confidence. The content, which is targeted to families with kids age 6-12 years, was developed by a team of mental health and child development experts as well as family and community partners. A creative team from IDEO Cambridge designed the user experience and branding.

The content on is organized in three main sections:

  • Should I worry? This section helps parents/guardians explore if their child is just being a kid or if their behavior is something to worry about. Families can learn about signs to look for and get suggestions on what to do next.
  • What can I do? These are tips, tools, and strategies that have worked for other families in the past and are things they can learn about or do from home.
  • Who can help? The final section includes carefully selected community organizations and government resources to help families find the right mental health services. was developed with input from individuals representing the diversity of Massachusetts’ communities, and is available in six languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Haitian Creole, and Vietnamese.

Karen Robitaille, MBA, MSN, RN, NCSN
<she, her, hers>
Director of School Health Services
Division of Child/Adolescent Health and Reproductive Health
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington St. 5th floor, Boston, MA 02108
cell 781-675-0463
Personal Webex room:

Janet Guertin-Moruzzi BSN, RN, NCSN

Central Region School Nurse Consultant

444 Wellesley Street

Weston, MA 02493


Mission Statement: The Central Massachusetts School Nurse Managers promote holistic wellness of school communities through leadership and collaboration