Legislative issues that impact school nursing. School Nurse, Cheryl Layfield is your DSNA legislative contact.
Cheryl Layfield, RN, MSN, NCSN, CFNP
Current Legislative Items of Interest for School Nurses in Delaware:
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act contains the most significat improvements to the child nutrition programs in over 30 years. The Delaware School Nurse Association signed on in support of the bill and many of our members made calls and sent emails. Thank you for all your help in getting this bill passed. Delaware legislators Representative Castle, Senator Carper and Senator Kaufman voted for the legislation.The President will sooon sign the bill into law. It represents abut 3 years of very hard work convincing the Congress that children deserve better nutrition in their schools and communities. This has been a legislative priority of NASN, and school nurses have been an authentic and credible voice on this important issue!
The Landmark child nutrition legislation provides the biggest increase in funding for the school lunch program in decades The bill makes it easier for qualified children to receive free school meals, extends after-school meals to more at-risk children, and provides additional technical assistance to local school food service providers. In addition, when signed into law by President Obama, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act sets the stage for the elimination of soda and other junk foods from schools nationwide.
The bill requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update its nutrition standards for foods that can be sold through vending machines, a la carte lines, and elsewhere on school grounds. Current standards are 30 years out of date and apply only to the cafeteria during mealtimes.
In addition to providing higher reimbursement rates for school lunches, the bill includes several no-cost provisions to strengthen school food finances, increasing the funds available for healthy school food. The bill sets schools on a path to gradually increase the price of paid school meals to make them comparable to the reimbursements USDA provides for free-meals; it provides guidance to schools about which indirect costs are allowable; and ensures that money meant for healthy school meals is not diverted to subsidizing junk food sold through a la carte lines in the cafeteria.
Click here to view the bill and the summary documents on the Senate Agriculture Committee site:
Susan Hoffmann, MSN, RN, NCSN
NASN Director Delaware
The American Heart Association advocacy for heart disease and stroke prevention also advocates for physical education and better nutrition in schools. Find out how to help:
FIT Kids Act – HR3257/S.2173- Representative Michael Castle – this bill amends the No Child Left Behind Act to encourage public schools to provide regular and quality physical education and activity and ensure that children learn about healthy lifestyles.
The Senate version of the LEAN Act (Labeling Education and Nutrition Act, S. 558), was reintroduced on March 10, 2009 by Senator Tom Carper and others that would require restaurants, grocery stores and other food service establishments that serve prepared foods and have 20 or more locations to disclose in writing calories contained in each menu item directly on the menu, menu board or in designated alternative ways, such as a menu insert or a sign directly next to the menu board. Additionally there is the MEAL Act HR 3895, the Menu Education and Labeling Act, a bill that would require restaurants with 10 or more locations nationwide to post nutrition information on their menus or menu boards.
Delaware Senate Bill # 66- primary sponsor Bethany Hall-Long. This Act would establish a Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Prevention Program within the Division of Public Health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in this state and stoke is the third leading cause of death. The intent of this act is to reduce to incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke in Delaware through the creation of a state program to promote health education, public awareness and community outreach activities and to improve access to treatment for and prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Delaware HB # 40- primary sponsor Joseph Miro- Regarding use of cell phones while driving to prohibit placing or receiving text messages, sending or receiving e-mails on mobile telephones or other electronic devices.
History: The School Nurse to student ratio has been based on teaching units, currently 1:40 (a teaching unit being approximately 20 students)
Description of the Issue: Delivery of quality School Nursing services is affected by the nurse/student ratio. The amount of time spent on direct nursing care for students is influenced by several factors:
- Teaching units for middle and high schools are configured differently than in elementary schools; thus many middle and high schools have large number of students and continue to have only one School Nurse per building
- Increasing number of students with specialized health needs entering the public school system requiring extended periods of care by the School Nurse
- Continuing need to provide legal documentation, such as the Individualized Health Services Log (Daily Log) of all nursing assessments, interventions, and evaluations of care, Medication Log, physician’s orders, parent permission signatures, and immunization histories
- Providing health and emergency care for students, staff and visitors, and contributing to the comprehensive school health program.
- Participating on teams that coordinating the Individualized Education Plans for students needing special education, and implementing and updating 504 documents that allow for the accommodations of special needs students within the classroom, as well as other special committees and teams within each school
Rationale: All students have the right to receive quality and consistent health care and programs in the Delaware school community in order to enhance the learning process and student achievement.
Conclusion: It is the recommendation of the Delaware School Nurses Association that maximum ratio of School Nurses to teaching units should be 1:35.
For legislative department contacts and how to contact them when a current issue is important.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest
Est. 1971, this site provides an action network where you can track and advocate for bills related to nutrition and health, food safety, alcohol policy, and sound science.
Delaware Elected Officials¬†(State Senators and¬House of Representative)
Project Vote Smart
This site will guide you through the process to find and contact all of your representatives. Plus, you can see Delaware legislators voting history.