NSCC Health Professions COVID Vaccine and Booster Policy
Health and Immunization Requirements
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, General Law 105CMR 200.600 requires proof of immunizations from the following students:
All full-time students in a Degree or Certificate program (12 or more credits); and,
All health science students – both full-time and part-time (Please note that health profession programs will require additional health records and requirements*); and,
All students on a student or other visa – both full-time and part-time (including foreign exchange students and those students visiting or attending classes while on academic visitation or exchange program).
All of the student groups noted must submit proof of immunizations for the following: MMR - measles, mumps, rubella, Hepatitis B, Varicella (chickenpox), Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis: (TdaP) and Meningococca (if under the age of 21).
*Students in the health profession programs must also present evidence of vaccination for Meningitis and Influenza Vaccination, screening for Tuberculosis, Technical Standards and other program specific requirements.
The college uses an outside vendor, CastleBranch (www.castlebranch.com) to provide background checks, drug screening and immunization/ health compliance tracking. All health profession students must enroll in and activate a CastleBranch account. Instructions for opening a CastleBranch account are enclosed.
Submitting completed requirements to CastleBranch will ensure that students meet agency requirements for clinical practice. Health care agency placement agreements and patient safety needs require strict compliance with health screening requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements will preclude you from participating in your clinical. Please note, health requirements are to be completed on or before July 1st, entering students must submit completed and approved documents to CastleBranch. The College does not accept copies of medical information.
According to MGL Chapter 76, Section 15C, a health science student who is in contact with patients may be exempt from the immunization requirements imposed under state law pursuant to a medical or religious exemption. Submission of documentation will be required and, if sufficient to qualify for a medical or religious exemption, it will be granted.
PLEASE BE ADVISED that, while the college will make a reasonable effort to place you in a clinical facility, clinical placement cannot be guaranteed in light of an un-immunized status. If a clinical placement cannot be secured, then you will be unable to complete the program's clinical requirement. Thus, you will be unable to progress and will fail out of the program.
Have a medical certificate completed by their health care provider twelve (12) months prior to the start of the academic year which states that you are of sound physical health to participate in fieldwork.
Required Drug Testing
The Division of Health Professions is committed to high quality education and providing excellent clinical experiences for all students in Nursing and Allied Health professions. Students are expected to perform at their highest functional level during all educational and clinical experiences in order to maximize the learning environment and ensure both patient and student safety. Thus, a student’s performance at all times must be free of any impairment caused by prescription or non-prescribed drugs, including alcohol or marijuana.
Students enrolled in Nursing and Allied Health programs are required to undergo and pass a college-endorsed ten panel drug and/or alcohol screening analysis in order to remain in the program and be eligible for placement in a clinical facility. Students assigned to clinical education experiences at the College’s contracted facilities may also be required to undergo and pass additional random and scheduled drug screenings in order to remain at that clinical facility and in the program. Students who fail a screening, or refuse to submit to a screening within the designated time frame will be ineligible for clinical placement, which will affect their status in the program. Students with a positive drug test may appeal the results of the test within five (5) days of notification of the drug test results. This appeal must be in writing and delivered to the college’s Dean of Health Professions. An appeal by a student who claims that he/she tested positive due to a prescription drug and was unable to clarify this matter with the medical review officer (MRO) from the drug testing lab shall include evidence from a health care provider of the type of prescription, dates of permissible use and dosage amounts. Students whose appeals are denied may re-apply for re-entry into the program after one year. Requests for re-admission will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with program criteria.
Students who are notified of a “negative-dilute” result will submit to a random drug test within 24 hours of the previous test in order to confirm the negative status of the screening. Additional random testing may also be required under the guidelines listed in your program’s handbook.
Students who test positive for marijuana are unable to continue in a clinical placement, which will affect their status in the program. While the use of marijuana is permitted in Massachusetts, marijuana remains classified as a controlled substance under federal law and its use, possession, distribution and/or cultivation at educational institutions remains prohibited. A student who has a prescription for Medical Marijuana and tests positive for marijuana will be referred to the Office of Accessibility Services for consideration as to whether the student’s off-campus use of Medical Marijuana constitutes a reasonable accommodation under state law. If it is determined based on an interactive process with the student that his/her continued off-campus use of Medical Marijuana could impair his/her clinical performance, pose an unreasonable safety risk to patients, or violate the terms of a clinical facility’s affiliation agreement with the College, then the student's continued use of Medical Marijuana will not constitute a reasonable accommodation under the law.
A NSCC student’s program fees will cover the cost of drug testing and retests. Students will be responsible to pay for additional drug screening conducted as part of an appeal. All students will be required to sign a Drug Screening Release Form. By signing this form, students authorize NSCC to conduct the 10 panel urine test for drug screening. The student will be provided additional information regarding the procedure through their program’s handbook and during program orientation. If assistance is needed with this drug screening process, please contact the Dean of Health Professions, Lori A. Vinci for the Nursing programs, Susan Maciewicz.
Required Criminal Background Checks
Students enrolled in Nursing and Allied Health programs are required to undergo and pass a National Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background screening in order to remain in the program and be eligible for placement in a clinical facility. Students assigned to clinical education experiences at our contracted facilities may also be required to undergo and pass additional random CORI screenings in order to remain at that clinical facility and in the college program. Students who fail a screening, or refuse to submit to a screening within the designated time frame will be ineligible for clinical placement, which will affect their status in the program. Any appeal of a CORI screening will be reviewed and decided by the North Shore Community College CORI Board.
Please refer to the College Policy 22200 and Administrative Procedure 22200 for information concerning the CORI appeal process. Program fees cover the initial National CORI for admissions purposes and the subsequent costs for state and local CORI checks.
For more information, please contact the Dean of Health Professions for Nursing and Allied Health Programs.
Due to Massachusetts laws and regulations, students completing clinical internships and/or fieldwork assignments in the school setting will be required to be fingerprinted per the process established by the school to which they are assigned and/or per the process established by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Students will be notified by program faculty/staff if this applies to them based upon their individual assignments.
Basic Life Support (BLS) / CPR
Prior to beginning clinical placements, students must document that they have American Heart Association BLS Certification at the Health Provider Level.
Please be advised that students accepted to this program will be required to fully participate in patient simulation scenarios designed to closely replicate the healthcare workforce environment, which will prepare students to perform required competencies and care for patients. These scenarios are video recorded and viewed in debriefing sessions that allow for reflective learning, peer-to-peer learning, and evaluation by faculty/staff. Students are expected to respect and care for the patient simulators as if they were live patients, as well as to respect their fellow classmates during scenarios and debriefing sessions.
Liability Insurance Statement
Accepted students will be required to maintain Student Liability Insurance throughout their enrollment in the program. Information about this process will be provided at the Mandatory Orientation
During the program, students are responsible for their own transportation to a variety of clinical facilities (which may or may not be accessible by public transportation).
If offered admissions, a non-refundable $150.00 deposit (subject to change) will be required to secure your acceptance.