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The Roanoke County School Board approved the changes to the system's concussion policy Thursday as part of a required biannual review.
The changes remove the term "athlete" from the policy, replacing it with "student" to encompass all children. They also stipulate that school nurses will receive annual concussion training, and they advise children who get concussions outside school to get the OK from medical personnel before coming back to class.
LaVern Davis, the system's associate director of health services, said in a phone interview prior to the meeting that a committee came up with the changes and opted to make the county's regulations more general to encompass sports-related concussions as well as other concussions.
"When the mandate first came out a couple years ago it focused on athletes so much," she said. "Kids fall and bump their head, slip on black ice, all kind of things."
Davis said the other notable change impacts students who get a concussion outside athletics. They will no longer have an athletic trainer handling the injury, she said.
"Someone with concussion goes to trainer and they don't feel comfortable if it's not something that happened in an athletic event," Davis said.
The changes also add language stipulating that students who sustain head injuries outside school should have written clearance from a health care provider to return to classes, though Davis pointed out it's not required - parents can use their judgement.
"We left that broad," she said.
The Roanoke County School Board initially discussed changes last month and approved them unanimously Thursday as part of the consent agenda.
In recent years there's been growing concern about concussions and their impact.
Most recently, the head injuries gained attention after the NFL opted to settle a lawsuit from former players accusing the league of not acknowledging the long-term impacts of the injuries.
In other news, the board:
Once more heard from critics of potential outsourcing. Four people, including a school cafeteria manager and a parent from a neighboring school system with outsourced busing, spoke against privatizing services.
This marks the fourth meeting recently where opponents of privatization have voiced concerns. Previous meetings have been standing-room only.
Earlier this year, the board announced it was again exploring potentially outsourcing the system's nutrition, transportation and nursing services as a possible cost-saving measure.
While no decision has been made, officials have put out a request for proposals and plan to review those during meetings Feb. 17 and 18.
Reorganized, selecting a new chairman and vice chairman for 2014.
Drew Barrineau, who represents the Windsor Hills area, is the board's new chairman and Mike Stovall, who represents Vinton, is the new vice chairman.
Barrnieau, who was re-elected in November without opposition, was first elected to the board in 2001. This is the third time he's served as chairman of the board.
Stovall, also re-elected in November without opposition, has been on the board since 1994 and has served as vice chair several times.