Notes from Health Services

COVID-19 links

Complete health and safety handbook at

COVID Q&A: My child doesn't feel well. Now what? at

Schoolwork during absences, at


October 12th: new staff, travel survey and more

Dear families,

We are four weeks into the school year and we are off to a great start.

I want to thank you for your partnership thus far. In order to bring students back to campus, learning together joyfully, we've all had to relearn the most basic routines. That's stressful, and this community has handled that stress with grace and humor.

And even as 90% of our students are back on campus, we have students whose families have health concerns that prevent them from joining us in person. I want to commend faculty, students and parents for finding ways to keep this Gordon@Home community connected to on-campus life this fall.

As we pass the four-week mark, I wanted to share some news and review some basics.

Flu season approaches

Wednesday's flu clinic is at capacity, which has never happened before! I am glad so many families are taking advantage of the clinic. It would be ideal if everyone could get vaccinated in October, before flu season hits full swing. Many pharmacies, local organizations, the Rhode Island Department of Health and primary care providers have flu shots available for adults. The company that handles Gordon's clinic has openings on other dates in other locations. Gordon families are welcome to participate in any of those clinics. Please explore their site or contact your pediatrician's office to schedule a vaccination through them. More on the flu here.

The team grows

I am delighted to announce that Gordon's Health Services is now being supported by three part-time registered nurses. Jen Rodriguez, Pattie Callahan and Meagan Cahoon started working alongside me ten days ago, and they immediately connected with students and families. Parents should still contact Health Services through the existing methods - or 401 434 3833 - but please be ready to hear a new voice or see a new face when you reach out.

Safe carpooling

At last week's COVID-19 press conference, the Department of Health's Dr. Alexander-Scott said contact tracers had identified carpools as one of the main sources of spread in recent days. She reminds us all that masks should stay on, and windows rolled down, when carpooling.

Dress them for the weather

Gordon students go outside every day, and they are staying outside longer than ever this fall. Students are loving it. Please support them by sending them to school dressed warmly, and make sure they have dry socks and a fresh sweatshirt in their locker or cubby.

My child doesn't feel well... checklists

The Current families page, linked at the top of the homepage, has links to information on handling a child who feels sick, and how to keep them connected with schoolwork during absences. If there is information you need that you're not seeing there, please email Mr. Griffin at

Travel survey

Thank you to the one hundred and twenty of you who have already filled out the travel survey at We need every household to fill out the survey by Thursday, October 15th.

Thank you for reading! I will be sending out these emails periodically, and my messages are always archived at If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out at 401 434-3833 or

Take care!

Sandy Horton, R.N.

October 6th: Flu clinic at capacity

October 6th

The flu clinic on October 14th is at capacity!

Thank you to everyone for jumping on this right away! We've never filled up a flu clinic before.

It would be ideal if everyone could get vaccinated in October, before flu season hits full swing. 

The company that handles Gordon's clinic has openings on other dates in other locations. Gordon families are welcome to participate in any of those clinics. Please explore their site or contact your pediatrician's office to schedule a vaccination through them.

And thank you all for getting vaccinated this fall!

Nurse Horton

September 13th: COVID-19 testing

September 13th, 2020

Dear Families, 
Welcome back to campus! It has been so much fun to have students and families back on campus! 
I need to tell you about a few new procedures:
Return to school attestation form

Families of students returning to school after any illness must fill out this After-Illness Attestation Form.  We've created a shortcut to this form at This form can be delivered in-person when the student returns to school or scanned and emailed to
Testing for students and staff
The Rhode Island Department of Health has developed a COVID-19 testing program for students and staff at all K-12 schools (independent as well as public). The test scheduling service will begin Monday, September 14, 2020 at 7:30 a.m.
The phone number for this service will be posted on the RIDOH website Sunday the 13th by 10 p.m. This service line is only for Kindergarten to twelfth grade students, faculty and staff who have symptoms, have been identified as a close contact of a positive case, or are a classmate of a positive case. Families will be able to call the dedicated test scheduling service seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Nursery and Preschool students of Gordon School are also eligible.
After the test is scheduled, a confirmation email with the date, time, and place of the appointment will be sent to you.
Here is the list of testing sites for Rhode Island students, faculty and staff.
Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms will get two tests. The first test is a rapid test. The results of this test will be available before the end of the day. The second test is called a PCR test. This test result will be available in forty-eight hours.
Anyone who does not have symptoms but had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 will get a PCR test only.
Rapid tests
Faculty and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms and get a test at the Rhode Island Convention Center will get the result of their rapid test before they leave the site.
Faculty and staff and students who have COVID-19 symptoms and get a test at any other PreK-12 test site will get the result of their rapid test from East Side Clinical Lab before the end of the day. The rapid test result are available from East Side Clinical Lab’s patient portal at or by texting ESCL to 66349.
PCR tests
Anyone who gets a PCR test will get their result from Dominion Diagnostics within forty-eight hours. You can get the result of your PCR test by creating an account on the Dominion Diagnostics patient portal

All this information and more can be found at the RIDOH website.

A few reminders

The Rhode Island Department of Health has provided clear guidelines for any signs or symptoms of illness in the Playbook for K-12 Schools, linked at

They have made it clear to schools that will be a low threshold for illness.  Students with any symptom of COVID-19 will need to stay home or be sent home. The RIDOH advises that parents of all symptomatic individuals seek medical advice and test if recommended.
If a student experiences a new onset symptom (developed within the last twenty-four hours) the student should stay home or, if the symptom first presents at school, the student will need to go home. If that same student remains fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and the symptom improves or resolves, the student is welcome to return to school. The RIDOH recommends that all families of symptomatic individuals seek medical advice.
Please be sure that your emergency information is up to date in the family portal at Be sure there is a plan in place to pick up your child within one hour, should your student exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.

The complete health and safety handbook for families is at

Thank you!

Sandy Horton, R.N.

August 24th: back-to-school basics

August, 2020

Dear Gordon Families,

It has been a busy summer and I am looking forward to working with you all this fall.

For complete details of Gordon's COVID-19 response and safety protocols, please see

And for the State of Rhode Island's playbook for school decisionmaking, see

Even during a pandemic, the Health Office still needs documentation of annual check-ups and immunizations.

Well-visits and immunizations

As the 2020-2021 school year approaches, I want to encourage everyone to call their primary care provider and reschedule any well-visits that may have been cancelled due to the stay at home orders this spring. If your child had a delay in receiving their scheduled immunizations during this time it is important to make an appointment as soon as possible. 

Primary care offices are open and ready for both virtual and in-person visits. They have COVID-19 specific plans developed in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health to keep everyone safe. Some of these plans include screening families before they enter the office, eliminating any high touch points, and enhanced cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting regimens. 

Required forms

Illness prevention is always a critical goal at Gordon, and we require an annual health examination of all students. 

Your pediatrician may use their own form. This form must include immunization history, allergies, chronic conditions, and permission for PE and sports. If your child requires medication during the day, including epipens or inhalers, they must have new orders from their provider for this school year. 

Here are Gordon's versions of three important forms, please download and print, or allow your pediatrician to use their own form:

medication consent
inhaler permission
epipen permission

All forms can be faxed to 401 490 4419, scanned and emailed to, or mailed to 
The Gordon School 
attn: School Nurse 
45 Maxfield Ave 
East Providence, RI 02914. 

A list of required immunizations and screenings is below end of this letter.

Reach out to the nurse

I can be reached at 401 434-3833 x141 or

Please let me know if your child has any new or previously undiagnosed conditions and if there have been any changes to your child’s general health over the summer.

At various times during the year I may need to share this information with members of the faculty, staff, and administration to ensure the health and safety of your student.

If you prefer I did not do this, please let me know.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out.

Sandy Horton
School Nurse
401 434-3833 x141

Screening requirements, 2020-2021

Below is a list of state mandated screenings your child will need prior to the start of the school year.

The physician should do an annual assessment of your child’s immunization status at their annual physical.

If you have any questions regarding these screenings, please contact your child’s pediatrician.

  • Lead: Upon entry to Nursery school or Kindergarten
  • Vision: Upon entry to school, then yearly
  • Hearing: Kindergarten to third grade (Done at school)
  • Scoliosis: Annually from sixth to eighth grade
  • Dental: Annually 

Immunization requirements, 2020-2021

Requirements for students entering licensed DHS center-based and in-home child care facilities

  • 4 doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine1 dose of Flu vaccine each year
  • 2 doses of Hepatitis A vaccine
  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine
  • 3 doses of Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) vaccine
  • 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 4 doses of Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (not routinely given to healthy children 5 years of age and older)
  • 3 doses of Polio vaccine
  • 2 doses of Rotavirus vaccine
  • 1 dose of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Requirements for students entering Kindergarten

A student entering Kindergarten must have met the pre-Kindergarten immunization requirements (above), plus:

  • 1 dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
  • 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Polio vaccine
  • 1 dose of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

Requirements for students entering seventh grade

A student entering seventh grade must have met the pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine

Requirements for students entering eighth grade

A student entering eighth grade must have met the seventh grade immunization requirements, plus:

  • 2 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine