FALMOUTH — A new policy for dealing with concussed students was discussed at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. 

The policy, outlined by policy committee Chairman Chris Murry Jr., does not stray far from practices already in place.

“We’ve had a lot of conversation about this,” said Sue Raatikainen, a School Department nurse. “Much of this we are already doing, but this is just putting it into writing.”

Murry said that while the policy is not much different than current practice, the way the policy committee has drafted it has changed significantly, and the policy must be much more broad stroke.

“Management protocols are designed so we are consistent in school hours and outside of school hours,” he said.

The new policy says that any student suspected of having a concussion must be evaluated with an appropriate sideline tool. If they pass this test, they still may not continue participation in their activity that day, but may return the next day. If they do not pass they must get clearance from their primary-care physician before returning. 

The policy also gives school nurses the authority to say they do not want students to return to school until they have been seen by a doctor.

If a student is suspected of a concussion, the appropriate administrator – coaches, nurses or whoever was in charge at the time of injury – must notify the parents immediately and make sure that the school health-care team knows by the next school day.

Training of new staff will now include concussion training in addition to the blood-born pathogen training already required.

“Staff members will not be able to assume their duties until they have completed the training,” Murry said.

Before students will be allowed to participate in any extra- or co-curricular activity, parents must read a concussion information sheet and sign a consent form. Failure to sign that form will bar students from participating in school-sponsored events.

A vote on the policy is expected at a future meeting.

In other business, board member Andrew Kinley gave an update on the planning process for next year’s budget. 

Under the governor’s curtailment order, Falmouth schools lost $234,000 in general purpose aid, Kinley said.

“There is pain associated with cutting $234,000,” he said. “Some things that were budgeted did not come to pass and other things have been cut. Everyone has suffered this pain.”

He said that while the district can absorb the cuts, every dollar effects instruction in some way and sacrifices in next year’s budget will have to be made.

“What we had hoped would be a less lean budget season has already become much, much tighter,” he said. 

Amber Cronin can be reached at [email protected] or 781-3661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.

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