IMSA Health Policies of the 2023-2024 School Year
As sophomores and upperclassmen alike sort out their items in the days following move-in, many also track important medications, like epinephrine, Ibuprofen, or Vitamin D. However, as the Health Office releases new changes to their medication policy, students should be watchful of any medication use during the upcoming school year as they settle into IMSA.
During check-in, students should have stopped by the Health Office’s station, where students should have turned in all types of medications – including prescriptions, over-the-counter, and emergency medications – and other health products – including vitamins and supplements – for the health staff to check. This included all liquids, creams, pills, inhalers, eye drops, ear drops, nasal sprays, lotions, and gels. Submitted medications should either have a label indicating that they are approved to be kept in the students’ room to be self-administered, or have them kept in either the students’ RC office or the IMSA Health Office to be administered there instead.
Prescription medications of creams, lotions, gels, inhalers, sprays, drops, and oral contraceptive pills will be allowed to be kept in the student’s room, in addition to emergency medications – inhalers, EpiPens, glucagon, and seizure medications – due to their use in emergencies. All prescription medications held in the Health Office will require a physician’s authorization, which is available on the IMSA website. Students taking prescriptions held in the Health Office will also be given the option to either utilize a pill packet prescription service or to provide three empty, labeled bottles from a pharmacy (free of charge for residential schools) to send weekend and evening doses to residential halls.
Nurse Angie Schoenher, Head of the IMSA Health Department and Coordinator of Student Health Services, explains that the policies were made more rigid and complex to ensure that students would not order potentially harmful medications online. This is being implemented to better control what medications students would have access to, protecting students from improper usage. Health staff will have to manage an increased number of tasks, including addressing daily administrations and medication refills, monitoring therapeutic and side effects and compliance with proper usage, and preparing weekend administrations. Furthermore, RCs will take on the increased responsibility of ensuring that students follow the appropriate dosage of their medications sent to them by the Health Office. They must also make sure that all medications in a student’s room are labeled to for self-administration in the event of a room search. Unauthorized medication found in a room will result in disciplinary action.
Parts of the Health Office’s policy have remained similar to earlier years. Nurse Angie explains that the practice of keeping all psychotherapeutic medications – antidepressants, anti-anxieties, stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers – in the Health Office for administration will remain the same as in previous years, along with the keeping and administering of other medications kept in the office. The Health Office will still have the ability to administer over-the-counter medications such as Aleve, Zyrtec, Maalox, Sudafed, Claritin, etc., where a physician can write standing orders for those over-the-counter medications. Authorization for IMSA to administer them to students is available to parents via registration responses on PowerSchool.
Medications are a very important part of life for many students. As these changes make their way through the student body, keep an eye on your medications and responsibly use what is needed. Know what your medications are – antihistamine, short-term antibiotic, vitamin, or emergency medication, etc. – to ensure that the Health Office is made aware of what you are using for a healthy year.