School Health Services takes a leadership role in assessing risks and fostering resilience to ensure that students achieve optimal health and well-being. It collaborates with other disciplines, programs and agencies to integrate and improve services, develop policies, and provide information about health issues and needs.

We ask parents and guardians to notify the School Nurse if their child has any medical problems, e.g. allergies, experiencing a stressful situation, chronic illness, vision or hearing difficulties, recent surgery etc. The School Nurse will work with the child’s physician, family, and school personnel to meet special health needs so the student fully accesses his or her education. All medications are administered by the nurse in the Health Office during school hours. Only FDA-approved medications are administered.


Tara O’Keefe graduated from Saint Michael’s in 1997 with a BS in Psychology.  She went on to earn a Massage Therapy degree in 2000, owning Massage Matters/Inside Out Health and Wellness until she went on to get her Nursing degree from Salem State in 2008. After working eight years on a telemetry (cardiac monitoring) floor at Beverly Hospital, she came to NES to pursue school nursing in 2015.  Tara is now a nationally certified school nurse and helps teach Life Skills at NES and Sexual Education at the Middle School.  Tara works closely with staff and families to achieve the best health outcome for students.


Hearing Screenings are completed every year in grades K-3. Vision screenings are completed every year in grades K-5. Checks for Scoliosis are done in grades 5 and 6. In the case of all three screenings, letters will be sent home only if a student fails the exam. If you do not receive a letter, you can assume that your student has passed all screening exams. In grades 1-4 student height and weight are recorded by the school nurse but results are not reported unless requested by the family in writing. If you have any questions regarding screenings, please do not hesitate to contact the school nurse.


Students do not perform well in school when they are not feeling well. Staying home will likely shorten the length of the illness and hopefully we can interrupt the spreading of germs in school. General guidelines for returning to school after an illness are:

  • Student must be fever free for 24 hours without having taken fever-reducing medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
  • 24 hours on antibiotics for a contagious illness such as Strep throat.
  • 24 hours without vomiting.


The student is able to return to school as long as they have been fever free for the 24 hours and feel well enough to return to school.  Once the rash appears with Fifth’s Disease and the sores appear with HFM the contagious period of the illness has already passed.


Hand- Foot- and Mouth Disease –

Fifth’s Disease –

Immunization Information –

Exemption information: – 

Massachusetts DPH  –

American Academy of Pediatrics –

Center for Disease Control –

National Assn. of School Nurses –

Mayo Clinic –

Harvard School of Public Health –