5 Tips from School Nurses as Students Head Back to Class

FCPS school kids



Yes, school begins in less than one month! Many private schools begin Aug. 29, while Fairfax County Public Schools start Sept. 6.

Our Health Department staffs Fairfax County Public Schools with school health aides and public health nurses, who do an amazing job caring for students. As summer starts to wind down, nurses offer these five tips heading into the new school year:


1.) Immunize!

Specific immunizations are required for:

  • Children entering kindergarten
  • Preteens entering sixth grade
  • New students transferring into Fairfax County Public Schools

As kids get older, they need additional vaccines or booster doses to help keep them protected. The Fairfax County Health Department offers school-required immunizations for free at its five clinics. You can avoid the rush by making an appointment and filling out your paperwork ahead of time. In addition to the clinics regular hours, special extended walk-in hours are being offered at all clinic sites on:

  • Monday, Aug. 22, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 29, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 8-10 a.m.

For a list of clinic locations and other information visit fairfaxcounty.gov/hd/immun or call 703-246-2411, TTY 711.


2.) Sleep!

Sleep for 9 and you will shine.  Sleep is needed for proper growth, weight control, learning, creativity and mood control. Adolescents and teens should get at least 8.5 to 9.5 hours per day, and younger children should get more.

Help your kids learn healthy sleep habits: develop a bedtime routine and put them to bed at the same time every night:

  • Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime and keep them out of the bedroom
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Make sure they get plenty of exercise during the day


3.) Exercise!

Be active for at least 60 minutes per day. Physical activity is not only fun but also improves mood, increases concentration and can help your child do better in school. Children need at least one hour of physical activity each day and it can be broken up into 10-minute increments; it does not need to be done at one time. Encourage your child to participate in activities that are both enjoyable and age-appropriate.


4.) Breakfast!

Eat a healthy breakfast: A healthy meal before schools helps jump start the brain and gives your child the energy to learn and play all day. Be smart and eat a healthy breakfast that consists of whole grains, fiber and protein.


5.) Fruits and Vegetables!

Aim for five servings of vegetables and fruits per day. Eating at least five servings of colorful fruits and vegetables is an essential part of a healthy diet. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber which can lower one’s risk of obesity, heart disease, birth defects and some types of cancer and high blood pressure. These foods will also help give your child more energy and the ability to concentrate and focus for longer periods of time. Fruits and veggies should make up about half of your plate at every meal.


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