Every day we are working to maintain standards and practices that promote healthy bodies and minds. On this page, you will find information about health at our school; links to important information on the NYC DOE Office of School Health webpage; how we address the emotional health of our children and families; our physical education program; nutrition in our school; and ideas for families to eat well and be active together.
Your Child’s Health
Maureen Parry, RN, our school nurse, leads the charge in working to protect the health of our students and staff, whether dealing with a bandage for a skinned knee or a more serious health concern that requires specialized medical attention. If your child has special health needs, such as requiring medication during the day or having severe asthma or allergies, parents should contact Ms. Parry at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their child’s needs, or simply stop by her office. Arrangements can be made to ensure that your child’s health concerns are addressed so that your child can focus all energy on school success.
Health Evaluations for All Students
All entering students are required to have a current health evaluation form in their file. This means that students must have a health evaluation that has been documented on a DOE form by their physician. Forms for documenting medical evaluations of students may be found on the DOE Office of School Health website or may be obtained from the PS 133 administrative office. If parents are not certain whether their child’s health form is current, they should call the PS 133 office (718) 857-4810 to check.
The NYC DOE website provides detailed information about immunization requirements and exemptions for NYC public schools, including PS 133. Generally, all entering students must have documentation of having had all required immunizations. Children who are not up to date with their immunizations may be excluded from school until they can provide documentation that they have been vaccinated in accordance with NYS Public Health laws. Parents Note: All children from Pre-K through 12th grade are now required to have the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Only children with medical exemption may be excluded from the immunization requirements. Medical exemption can only be obtained with proper documentation by a treating physician who is licensed in New York State. The form for medical exemptions can be found on the DOE Office of School Health Immunization Info webpage.
Tuberculosis in NYC
Although testing for tuberculosis is not required for elementary students (it is required for secondary school students), tuberculosis remains a problem that occurs in New York City. If parents suspect that they or their children may have tuberculosis or may have been exposed to tuberculosis, testing is free, confidential, and available at many NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene offices. Link here for more information about the DOEs policy on tuberculosis testing and a link to a list of testing centers.
Preventing the Spread of Illness
A few simple and common-sense measures can help prevent the spread of illness in our school and community.
First, both children and their family members should wash their hands often with soap and hot water (after using the toilet, after blowing their nose, before eating, after playing outside, after shaking or holding hands with someone, and periodically throughout the day).
Children should be kept home from school if they are sick. Although attendance is important, keeping children healthy is also important, and children who are sick should stay home and rest for both their own recovery and for the benefit of preventing transmission of the illness to their friends in school.
Also, as we enter cold and flu season, parents should consult with their physician to determine whether they and their children should get the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines.
Preventing Head Lice
Head lice, a tiny parasitic insect that lives on the human scalp, is a common problem in schools, and our school has a “no lice” policy to prevent the spread of lice. This means that children who are found to have live head lice on their heads or in their hair must be kept home from school while being treated to remove the lice. Children who have only nits (the eggs) do not need to stay home but must be checked to ensure that they do not develop an infestation of lice. One way that parents can help to prevent the spread of lice is to notify the school immediately if they discover that their child has lice. Because it can take several days and up to nearly two weeks for nits to hatch into adult lice, it can also take that long for the symptoms of infestation (e.g. intense itchiness along the scalp, behind the child’s ears, and at the nape of the neck) to develop. If parents notify the school immediately upon discovering their child’s lice, parents in the child’s classroom can be informed that an outbreak has occurred, and they can then monitor their child even before symptoms occur, possibly catching an outbreak before it becomes a serious infestation.
Having head lice does not indicate that a person is not clean, that they don’t take care of themselves or their child, or that there is something wrong with them. Anyone can have head lice, and we often see head lice move through nearly an entire class, particularly in younger children, which is one reason why it is so important that we monitor for lice and report outbreaks.
PS 133 has the benefit of three mental health professionals who are able to work together to support the emotional well-being of our community. Our school social worker, school psychologist, and guidance counselor can work with children who may be struggling emotionally, with mental health concerns, or with developmental delays to develop a plan that supports the student in addressing these concerns.
If parents are concerned that their child may be struggling emotionally or if their child has a mental health or developmental diagnosis that could affect their ability to learn in a standard classroom, they should call our school office at (718) 857-4810 to discuss their options, how to arrange for an evaluation, if needed, and to meet with someone from the school support services. For more information on DOE mental health services, link to the school-based mental health program webpage for the DOE.
Sometimes the transition from home to school can be a difficult one—for both the parents and the children—especially in the younger grades. Young children may cry and protest when their parents drop them off. They may try to entice their parents to come back or take them home. This can be very distressing for both the child and the parents, and our support staff can offer strategies to help parents prepare, cope, and also support their children in the transition from home to school. When it comes to helping kids and families succeed in school, we are truly all in this together, and we want to be a place where parents can find the support that they need to help their children to be comfortable and successful in school.
At PS 133 we offer myriad opportunities for children to be active and develop their physical fitness. In addition to twice-weekly physical education classes with Mr. Blatt, we also encourage students to be active in our play yard during their recess. We provide them with equipment, such as balls and hoops, to have fun, use their imaginations, and get moving in their free time. On days when the weather keeps us from going outside, our teachers will lead them in active games and activities during their free time.
Last year we offered sports club after school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which offered children the opportunity to try their hand at team sports, develop important skills like coordination, physical stamina, teamwork, and sportsmanship. This year we look forward to working with parents to develop even more programs to address the health and well-being of our children. We’ve also started rugby after school for the upper grades. Would your child like to practice yoga in school? Learn gymnastics? Climb a rock wall? Contact Mr. Blatt (email@example.com) to discuss ways that we can expand our offerings to our children. Mr. Blatt is excited to find ways to provide new opportunities for kids to be active and have fun, while learning skills and building confidence.
A Message from Mr. Blatt, Physical Education teacher at PS 133:
As the Physical Education Teacher here at PS 133, I feel a great responsibility in promoting a healthy life style. It is my goal each year to introduce and reinforce new activities and programs that promote both a healthy body and a healthy attitude. During the course of the school year the students will be engaged in a variety of activities that will promote both individual accomplishments as well as teamwork. The students will also be instructed in health education using the Health Teacher curriculum. I am constantly working on ways to encourage physical fitness among our students and families and look forward to working to expand our offerings throughout the coming year.
Physical Fitness Tips
Get out to the playgrounds when the weather is still warm and sunny. Many New York City playgrounds have handball courts. Handball is an inexpensive activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. All you need is a handball, which you can purchase at many 99-cent stores. Not only is handball fun and gets you moving, but it can help you and your child develop coordination, reflexes, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Go out and play!
Do you commute to school? Consider getting up a little early and walking with your child (or let your child scoot, bike, or skate). You can also do this for walking home in the evening, particularly during longer daylight hours. Worried about getting home in time for dinner and homework? Consider packing a “picnic”-style dinner of fresh fruit, a sandwich, and drink to enjoy along the way. The whole family can benefit from the exercise and fresh air and may enjoy the time to share the day’s experiences with one another.
PS 133 provides free breakfast and lunch at no cost. Because of our federal funding, we are able to ensure that every child has a meal, if they need one. If your child usually brings a lunch or eats breakfast at home but forgot their meal one day, they can still have lunch in our cafeteria, thanks to our federal funding. No child needs to go hungry.
Early in the fall, each child will receive a federal government form from which eligibility for free or reduced cost lunch is determined. You can also download the form here. It is vital to our funding that all parents complete this form, because it affects the school’s funding status for several programs. Even if you are ineligible or do not intend to have your child eat school breakfast of lunch, you MUST sign and return this form. Children receiving free or reduced cost lunch will receive a school lunch for field trips.
The food that is provided through our school food program meets or exceeds USDA standards, and we make every attempt to ensure that the food is health, tasty, and appealing to our students. We limit the sodium and fat content, use whole wheat breads, and offer only low-fat or fat-free milks. We recommend that parents view the DOE’s School Food webpage (below) if they have any questions or concerns about our food offerings.
Click on the links for information about the school food policies and options, school food standards, and nutritional information.
– NYC DOE SchoolFood main page
– NYC DOE SchoolFood brochure for parents