A message from Nurse Kristen on COVID-19

I just wanted to take a moment to let all of my Bel Air students and families just how much I miss seeing all of you! You are all on my mind every single day! Please remember, I am here for you and your families during this time, it just has to be virtually! I check my email multiple times a day, so if you need to, please reach out! (Rinkenk@pwcs.edu)

I hope everyone is happy, healthy and following the CDC recommended guidelines. Remember to take a moment at the end of each day and be thankful for this unusual amount of time we are getting to spend in the presence of our family. The dishes may not be done, the kids may have eaten cereal or ice cream for dinner, we may be having trouble adjusting to our temporary reality, but this time is precious. "Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend." -


Parents- I know what an uncertain and unprecedented time this is and how confusing it must be not only for you all, but for the kiddos. I am posting some really helpful tips from the CDC on how to talk with your children about what is going on in the world right now. I hope this is helpful!

General principles for talking to children

Remain calm and reassuring.

  • Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.

Make yourself available to listen and to talk.

  • Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.

Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.

  • Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person's race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.

Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.

  • Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.

Provide information that is honest and accurate.

  • Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
  • Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.

Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.

  • Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
  • Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
  • Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.
    (e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
  • Get children into a handwashing habit.
    • Teach them to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
    • If soap and water are not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. Supervise young children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol, especially in schools and child care facilities.

Hello Bel Air families!
My name is Kristen Rinkenberg and I am the school nurse here at Bel Air Elementary!
This is my second year with at Bel Air and I love seeing all of the familiar faces and meeting all of our new families! I am a graduate of Prince William County Schools (Go WSHS Vikings!) and my daughter is in 4th grade in PWCS. I have my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from South University and have worked in pediatrics since graduating! I love watching children learn and grow and I am a big believer that good habits start young!

HOW TO REACH ME: I am always available by email at rinkenk@pwcs.edu or you call the front office at 703-670-4050 and ask for the nurse.

Is my child too sick for school?

Illness or Injury Exclusion Criteria R757-1

Reasons for which a child may be sent home from school or for a parent to keep
the child home from school.

1. Fever of 100 degrees F and over. Student needs to be fever-free for at least 24 hours without medication.
2. Conjunctivitis (pink eye), strep infections, ringworm, and impetigo are all infections and must be treated with medications for 24 hours before returning to school. Please do not allow affected students back before this time so that other students are not infected unnecessarily.
3. Rash of unknown origin (especially if accompanied by a fever).
4. Head injury.
5. Severe coughing or difficulty breathing.
6. Colds- a child with thick or constant nasal discharge should remain home.
7. Diarrhea or vomiting. Student should be symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
8. Stiff neck associated with a fever and/or recent injury.
9. Inadequate immunizations with known disease outbreak in school.
10. Refer to the VDOH "Communicable Disease Reference Chart for School Personnel" for other exclusions/information

Medication Policy for PWCS

School personnel cannot administer ANY medication until a form, signed by the parent, is on file in the clinic of the school. All prescription medication must also have a physician's signature on the back of the form before a prescription medication can be administered. Parents must personally deliver prescription medications and signed forms to the school nurse.

ALL medication, prescription and over-the-counter (i.e., Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, etc.) need a signed medical form prior to being brought to the school. The medication also MUST be in the original unopened container and kept in the clinic. It should be in a small bottle, as storage space is very limited.