Health Office

Richard Ruthersby, BSN, RN, NCSN

School Nurse, Farrell B. Howell ECE-8 School

Phone: 720-424-2746
Fax: 720-424-2765


Students must be 24 hours without vomiting, diarrhea, or fever (and not using fever-reducing medications*) before returning to school. Students with new or unexplained cough (an unexplained cough is one that is not associated with a known diagnosis by a healthcare provider) must (1) get a negative COVID-19 test or be seen by a healthcare provider before returning to school and (2) meet the above guidelines.

*Medications containing acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin are all considered fever-reducing medications.

For detailed information, please see the How Sick is Too Sick? document published by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. (Versión en español.)

Fever Care – Children’s Hospital Colorado (Versión en español.)

Colorado law (Board of Health rule 6 CCR 1009-2) requires all students attending Colorado schools and licensed child cares to be vaccinated against certain diseases, unless an exemption is filed. Learn more about the required vaccinations here. In addition to the vaccines required for school entry, there are several vaccines recommended by the ACIP that provide protection against other diseases. These include Meningococcal, Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, Human papillomavirus and Influenza.

Learn more about vaccine exemptions here:

Students requiring ANY medications (prescribed medication or over-the-counter) during school hours MUST submit a completed Student Medication/Treatment Request Release Agreement form from a Licensed Authorized Prescribing Practitioner (MD, DO, NP, PA, dentist.) NOTE: Over-the-counter medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), antacids (Tums), etc.

All medications must be provided in the original pharmacy container, labeled with your child’s name, name of the medication, dosage and frequency, and date for the medication to be discontinued.

Students may be permitted to carry their own emergency medications such as an asthma inhaler or epinephrine (epi-pen) if a corresponding medical order and a self-carry contract are completed.

Please make sure to notify the school nurse anytime your student is seen by a healthcare provider for an illness, seen in the emergency room, or if they have any new or changing medical conditions. With signed consent, we can access student records at Children’s Hospital Colorado and/or Denver Health. Ensuring we have current information is crucial to ensure the health and safety of your student while at school.

If you student is unable to eat certain foods due to allergy/intolerance or they require any type of specialized diet, please make sure the school nurse is aware and that we have a current Medical Statement for Meal Modification (completed by a healthcare provider) on file with the school. This will ensure your student gets a specialized meal at school that meets their unique needs at no additional cost to you.

The DPS Medicaid Department helps families apply for free or low-cost health insurance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). They also help families with utilizing their benefits. They offer one-on-one appointments at any DPS school, and families can apply year round. For more information about Medicaid and SNAP Assistance, call 720-423-3661 or email

Denver Health Pediatrics at Denver Public Schools (School-based Health Centers)In-School Immunization ProgramDental Sealant Program
 Denver Health Pediatrics at Denver Public Schools clinic services are offered at NO COST to all Denver Public Schools (DPS) students. Services include child checks, medication management/refills, immunizations, injury and illness care, mental health, dental care, and so much more. (See more below.)We partner with the Public Health Institute at Denver Health to provide our students with any of the required and/or recommended vaccines while at school and at absolutely no cost to our families.We partner with Denver Health to provide no cost preventive dental sealant services for kindergarten through eighth-grade students. These dental sealant services also include a dental screening and fluoride treatment.
These are all optional programs which require a signed consent form on file in order to participate.

Denver Health Pediatrics at Denver Public Schools

Denver Health Pediatrics at Denver Public Schools (School-based Health Centers) offers specialized pediatric-focused care to treat most health conditions that affect school-aged children. Services are available throughout the school year to any Denver Public Schools (DPS) student and, in many cases, students are able to get same-day or next-day appointments. To schedule your appointment you can call (303) 602-8958.

Services Include:

  • Well Child Checks that meet the requirements of school, sports, camp and employment physical exams
  • Immunizations
  • Care for chronic conditions such as asthma and depression
  • Care for acute injury and illness
  • Prescriptions, medication and routine lab tests
  • Reproductive health services, including pregnancy testing and birth control evaluation, dispensing and management
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
  • Individual, group and family mental health counseling
  • Dental screenings, routine cleanings, sealants and dental X-rays
  • Parent and child health education

We also offer virtual care for students at Farrell B. Howell. Using state of the art technology, the school nurse and student meet with a Denver Health provider virtually from the Farrell B. Howell health office. Common reasons for virtual care visits include (but are not limited to) menstruation pain, stomachache, headache, allergies, and earaches.

The provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) can prescribe over-the-counter medication to be given by the school nurse, submit requests for additional tests, or send prescriptions to a local pharmacy of your choice.

Please see the school nurse to sign up for these programs today.



Puberty Education Materials


Nursing Services promotes optimal physical, social, and emotional wellness of our school community. Our focus is to enhance the educational process by maximizing and protecting the overall health status of school age youth.

We believe that good health enables all students to benefit from the education experience leading to productive living and a successful future. School nurses actively promote healthy life style choices, strengthen and facilitate the educational process by improving and protecting children’s health status, and are advocates for school age children.

Unique stressors present in an urban society (i.e., poverty, unemployment, homelessness, teen-age pregnancy, high drop-out rates, lack of health insurance) complicate the attainment of an optimal level of wellness. Illness and disability are prevented by the early detection and correction of health problems. Prevention and intervention activities can reduce high risk behaviors. The quality and quantity of education of each student is directly proportionate to the physical, social, and emotional level of health.