• Nurses Notes

    When to keep your child home from school for illness
        Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether or not to send your child to school if they complain of feeling ill.  The following guidelines of signs and symptoms will help you make a decision. 
    •   Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
    •   Excessive coughing and sneezing
    •  Sore, reddened throat, swollen glands, or fever associated with these symptoms
    •   Red, watery, or mattering eyes
    •   Large skin eruptions or rashes, especially accompanied by fever
    •   Earache or drainage from ears
    •   Temperature of 99.6 or more
        If you have any questions or if you would like the school nurse to check your child upon arrival at school, please call the school.  In case of absence, please notify the school secretaries or teacher before school starts, if possible.
        Your child should stay home 24 hours after being symptom-free.  A note from your physician or health care provider is needed if your child stays in for recess beyond 2 days or if ill over 3 days.
        The first and best defense to keep germs at bay is good hand cleaning hygiene.  Students and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective, but only if they contain at least 60% alcohol.  If soap and water are not available and alcohol-based products are not allowed in the school, other hand sanitizers that do not contain alcohol may be useful for cleaning hands.  However, they may not be as effective as alcohol-based sanitizers. 
        Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) is the best way to keep your hands from spreading viruses.  Just rinsing under the water using NO soap won’t do the trick.  Wet hands, apply soap, and work into a good foaming lather, then rinse with water.  Dry your hands well with a paper towel.  It may take a little extra time, but it’s well worth the effort. 

    Head Lice Reminders
          Head lice are insects that bite and suck blood and live on the scalp.  While they do not “jump,” “hop” or “fly,” they are an active, fast-crawling insect.  Female lice can lay about 150 eggs or nits in a month, which is the normal lifespan of an adult louse. 
        The best way to see head lice is to check under a bright natural light, like the sun.  Check the scalp, parting the hair along the crown of the head, base of the neck, and above and behind the ears. Head lice are various sizes and colors range from light to darker brown.  Nits or eggs are dark when there is a live louse in them and white when the louse has hatched.  Nits can be distinguished from dandruff by trying to remove them from the hair shaft.  Nits will remain “glued” to the hair and are difficult to remove. Look for skin irritation (caused by scratching) behind the ears and the back of the neck.  
        Lice do not live on pets; they may crawl on pets but cannot survive on them.  Lice are spread by head-to-head contact and the sharing of brushes, combs, hats, or towels. Because of mutation, the louse is now resistant to many lice products.  The lice shampoos may kill some of the live lice but not all.  The lice eggs may not be killed and will hatch within 7 to 10 days. If head lice are found, please notify the school nurses.   
        Parents are also encouraged to check their child’s head weekly.  This is a good habit to establish.  Field studies of outbreaks indicate that the community, not the school, is the major site of head lice transmission.  
        Treatment is a two-week process.  Treat initially with a lice product you can find at local grocery or department stores such as pharmacies, some grocery stores and super chains, such at Walmart, Target.  This treatment needs to be repeated in seven days after the initial treatment.   Hair should then be combed thoroughly using a fine-toothed or lice comb.  Metal Combs, such as a Licemeister or something similar is recommended. Daily use of ordinary shampoo followed by a crème rinse conditioner, along with combing the hair with a fine-tooth or lice comb, should be done for 14 days.  The daily combing is a sure way to remove nits from the hair, which is a must when removing lice from your child’s hair. Treatment should be repeated in 7 days, even if no lice are found.  During the two-week period, the crawling lice forms should decrease in number and size, reflecting progress toward effective treatment.  Cutting the hair short helps in combing and removing lice.
        Pillows, pillow cases, bed linen, and clothing should be laundered.  Place items in a plastic bag for two weeks if unable to launder.  If unable to wash pillows, place in the dryer on high for 30 minutes.  Vacuum floors, mattresses, couches, etc.   Combs, brushes, barrettes, etc. should be boiled or bagged for 2 weeks. 
        The Licemeister comb is a specially designed comb that removes almost all the nits with repeated combings.  It is especially effective if your child has thick or long hair.  If your child has thinner hair, it may be necessary to remove the nits manually using 2 fingernails.  
        If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school nurse.
    Hawk-I Insurance
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        To be worried and have feelings of anxiety are very common in childhood and adolescence (and into adulthood and beyond), in fact they are normal.  It’s when they become intrusive, excessive and disrupt a normal life, that’s when they jeopardize a child’s ability to learn and function at school.  If the anxiety is unaddressed, it often leads to depression in young adulthood. We see teens struggle with anxiety and depression as they move forward into college and adulthood.
         Anxiety is reaching near-epidemic levels among young people, with as many as one in eight children, around 25%, dealing with diagnosable anxiety disorders.  There is so much focus on “the culture” as the cause of anxiety, says Lynn Lyons, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Concord, New Hampshire.  “I keep saying to all the adults, we’re the culture.  The world has changed, there’s a real difference in the way that we talk about safety and danger, in the access to technology, and in the overwhelming amount of information that parents and kids are getting.  The more you know about everything that can possibly happen, and the more pressure that you feel to live up to the expectations of everybody else, everywhere else, the more it just builds and builds in kids.”
         As a child’s anxiety grows, the ways in which parents and guardians tend to respond, (by reassuring their kids, calming them down, and making special allowances so they can avoid difficult situations) actually reinforce negative patterns and thicken anxiety’s hold, Lyon’s says.  She works with students, families, and educators to challenge and change these behavioral patterns.  She helps to find ways to help kids do their own problem solving, teach them to take risks and build confidence and resilience.
         Lyons envisions anxiety as a “cult leader”, one that makes its own rules and then demands that everyone follow them.  The conclusion is not to give the cult leader what it wants, but to teach kids to manage and ignore its demands.
         Coping skills need to be taught, Lyons says.  “You cannot do what you don’t know how to do.  If you start to worry and nobody has given you, or the parents and teachers any strategies that are about eliminating or avoiding that worry, then you aren’t going to get very far.
         Kids may be the ones suffering from anxiety, but adults are fueling it, with constant reports of danger, intense academic pressure, and a need to know now mentality that seems to stem from technology and social media.
         Kids will try to escape anxiety by avoiding what scares them.  Adults need to teach kids to cope and manage worry, not remove it from their lives.
         Teachers and counselors who are helping students with anxiety, should work in partnership with parents.  Everyone should share terms, coping mechanisms, and goals for each child.    

    Vaping Awareness
        On December 11, 2019, Governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds, with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Iowa Department of Education, launched a new vaping awareness and prevention campaign aimed at informing teens about the reality of vaping and its consequences, and helping parents to know how to address the issue and protect their children.  
        There are two videos that can be viewed on the IDPH website: “Vaping vs. Reality”  and  “Hiding in Plain Sight”.  
        “As a mom, grandma and governor of Iowa, I believe we have an opportunity and a responsibility to combat the teen vaping epidemic,” said Gov. Reynolds. “By increasing awareness and education on the known risks of vaping, we can help prevent our young people from setting themselves up for a lifelong addiction to nicotine. Working together as a team we can address the issue holistically, and effectively reach teens and parents with the right information.”
        “This campaign will reach both youth and their parents by encouraging young people to avoid vaping, and by supporting parents and teachers with information and tools to help prevent their children from using these harmful products,” said Iowa Department of Public Health Director Gerd Clabaugh.
        “Schools play a critical role in this work because of the connections and relationships that staff members have built with students, families and communities,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said. “We must equip schools with tools and information about the vaping epidemic so that students are better prepared to make safe, healthy decisions.”
        This multi-pronged campaign includes a fully digital marketing campaign with elements targeting teens and parents separately with unique messaging delivered through their preferred channels, including SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu and more.
        The campaign will also leverage school nurses, teachers and administrators and ensure they have the tools and information to help educate students and parents. Additionally, through already-existing state programs IStep and Your Life Iowa, the state of Iowa will provide a ready resource where kids and parents alike can get a variety of information for their specific situation.
        Youth vaping has more than doubled nationally since 2017. Today, 1 in 4 high schoolers vapes, and 1 in 9 high school seniors reports vaping on a near-daily basis. In Iowa, the percentage of 11th graders who said they currently vaped went from 9% in 2016 to more than 22% in 2018.  With some brands, using just one vaping pod is the equivalent of smoking 20 cigarettes. These statistics underscore the need for a coordinated, multi-pronged campaign to address the vaping epidemic.
        This information comes from IDPH website and is from an article written by Author: Polly Carver-Kimm/Wednesday, December 11, 2019/Categories: IDPH News, Chronic Disease Prevention.  We wanted to share this with our parents.  Vaping is becoming such a big problem.  You can find this information on the IDPH website at http://www.idph.iowa.gov/News/ArtMID/646/ArticleID/158283/Gov-Reynolds-Launches-Public-Awareness-Campaign-to-Combat-Youth-Vaping-121119
    Ann Hicks, Mary Pedersen & Jill Wanninger

Wellness Information

  • wellness

    The board promotes healthy students by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity as a part of the total learning environment. The school district supports a healthy environment where students learn and participate in positive dietary and lifestyle practices. By facilitating learning through the support and promotion of good nutrition and physical activity, schools contribute to the basic health status of students. Improved health optimizes student performance potential.

    Board Policy On Wellness

Meeting Dates

  • The wellness committee meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month at 3:30 PM in the Board Room at the Administration Office.

Wellness Committee Membership

  • Community Members are invited to be a part of the Wellness Committee.  Please e-mail any of the Wellness Committee members if you are interested in attending a meeting or being a part of the committee.

Wellness Agenda and Minutes


  • GCEL
  • GCHS
  • GCMS
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Wellness Committee Members

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