Category Archives: Nurse’s Notes

Invitation to Join Student Nutrition Committee

Steller Parent Group would like to invite parents, staff and students to join the Student Nutrition Committee.  The purpose of this group is to ensure that all Steller students have access to healthy and balanced meals – especially during this pandemic. 

Starting in October 19, all ASD students enrolled in the National School Lunch Program are eligible to pick up free breakfast and lunch through a special emergency program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Steller Secondary does not have a school lunch program and is not registered as part of the NSLP and so our students are not eligible for this program. 

We would like our Steller students to be eligible to participate in this program.  Our committee plans to explore ways to address this issue.

If you are interested in helping please join us for a planning meeting on Monday, November 23, 2020 at 12:00 to 1:00pm.  Email Kirsten at for the Zoom link.

Sincerely, Kirsten Tschofen Chair SPG

Holly Rinehart, Chair Student Nutrition Committee

Nurse News: COVID-19 update 3-13-20

Dear Steller Community,

I realize there has been a lot of information going around about the Coronavirus, but I also wanted to update you all.

The District continues to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 in Alaska. As of today, there has been one confirmed case in Anchorage. We have carefully considered the risk and impact in the event additional cases are identified in the coming days, and we believe it is our responsibility to take preventative steps in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. In response to this concern, the District has decided to extend spring break for students through next week. Our goal with this action is to flatten the curve of additional cases within schools and, by extension, within the community, with the ultimate goal to resume regular operations in the District as soon as possible.

Although students will not return to school next week, ASD employees will report to work in order to plan and develop distance learning plans for students until they are able to return to their schools.

If you are sick, stay home. For those of you who traveled to any area identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as Level 3, (; (
the CDC’s direction is to stay home for a period of 14 days after returning to the United States. Do not go to work during this 14-day period.

Please continue to follow best practices to avoid the spread of COVID-19, (
It is recommended that group gatherings be limited consistent with CDC guidelines for response during a flu pandemic. CDC information for People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19 is a reliable resource for information.

Annette Johansen, M.Ed., BSN, RN, NCSN
Steller Secondary School Nurse
2508 Blueberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: 742-4963 Fax: 742-4966
Office hours: M-F 0730-1500

Nurse News: COVID-19 update

The CDC came out with a new update that is extremely important for families that are traveling over Spring Break. CLICK HERE to read directly from CDC.

A mandatory 14-day HOME ISOLATION is in effect for all people returning from the following countries with a LEVEL 3 TRAVEL HEALTH NOTICE :


The Muni Department of Health will ONLY get notification of people returning from CHINA & IRAN which means that the muni will be calling anyone that returns from ONLY IRAN & CHINA; all others returning from ITALY & SOUTH KOREA will be notified at customs of the home isolation requirement and will NOT be monitored by the muni.

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has enlisted Alaska 2-1-1 as a resource for handling the large volume of calls from the public with questions regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  The 2-1-1 information referral specialists are currently equipped to take and triage such calls, and to refer callers to appropriate resources according to their current procedures. Starting Monday, March 9, the 2-1-1- call center staff will be supplemented with an Alaska Respond volunteer who will be in the call center and able to support the staff.  AK Respond volunteers are licensed medical professionals and will be able to lend their health care expertise to this effort. For Alaskans who live in areas where 2-1-1 cannot be accessed, please call 800-478-2221.

Annette Johansen, M.Ed., BSN, RN, NCSN
Steller Secondary School Nurse

Nurse News: Novel Coronavirus 2019

There are a lot of things happening in world that affect us every day, one being the Coronavirus. Attached is a fact sheet from the CDC and listed resources to stay informed. Health Services has been closely following the news regarding this outbreak. We are actively engaged with the state and muni daily PLUS calling into the weekly state update with the CDC. CDC_ncov_factsheet.pdf

  •  Good hand washing is still the #1 way to prevent the spread of disease.

Our ASD Healthcare Services Public Web site has been updated to reflect the current health alert.  There are resources regarding Novel Coronavirus with links to State Epidemiology and CDC. See link below.



Nurse News: Facts about Cold and Flu

One would say keep your cold and flu germs to yourself, but that is not always possible. However, here are some tips below to try and do just that.
It is estimated that one billion colds are caught annually in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population catches the flu annually as well. The flu season in the U.S. typically ranges from November to April.
While it is a myth that cold temperatures cause colds, it is true that cold weather keeps people indoors, making exposure more likely.
Here are some tips to help you avoid colds and the flu:

  • Clean and wipe down shared surfaces such as countertops, keyboards and phones with a disinfectant.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, and wash hands thoroughly and often.
  • Get a flu shot if possible (it is most important for children and the elderly).
  • Eat healthy foods to strengthen your immune system.
  • Exercise moderately to maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Ask your doctor about vitamin supplements to help support your immune system.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Try to avoid people who are sick, and know when to stay home if you become sick.

You should stay home if you have a fever because you are probably the most contagious at that time, or if you cannot control your sneezing and coughing.
When in doubt, call your physician. And don’t overtax your immune system by going to school or work if you’re really suffering. Common colds can become more serious bacterial infections such as sinusitis, and influenza can turn into pneumonia.

Flu-checklist.pdf  Cold and Flu.pdf

Nurse News: UAA Dental Days coming in March

UAA Dental Days is being offered this year on March 26th and 27th at 3500 Seawolf Dr. Dental Clinic in Anchorage. Free parking is located in the UAA South Lot. This is an event dedicated to serving those in our community with no dental insurance and limited income to provide dental care.
If this pertains to you or your family, please complete the required forms and register  for the event at

Please complete the required medical forms found here

Nurse News: Poisonings Among Children and Youth From Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping

I am continuously receiving new data regarding the hazards of e-cigarettes and vaping. This method is still relatively new and if one stops to think about how many years it took research to determine that smoking tobacco caused lung cancer. I have seen very recent stories on Chicago Med and New Amsterdam portraying youth in vaping incidents with lung injury and even death due to the chemicals used to vape. I realize it’s television, but I believe there is a lot of truth there. Below is some statistics regarding this hazard.
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2019, 5 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 27.5 % of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students. These recent data show increases from 2018 when more than 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 20.8% of high school students and 4.9 % of middle school students (Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2011-2018. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), February 2019). Electronic cigarettes are particularly unsafe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. National attention has recently focused on vaping-related lung injury. As of November 20, 2019, 2,290 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use- associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Forty-seven related deaths have been confirmed in 25 states and D.C. Other injury-related consequences of electronic cigarettes include acute nicotine exposure among children and youth caused by swallowing, breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquid as well as fires and explosions caused by defective e-cigarette batteries, some of which have resulted in serious injuries.
Clinicians, school staff, coaches, parents and policy makers can all play a role in preventing the use of e-cigarettes among youth and young adults.

Nurse news – extreme cold

Be prepared for extreme cold: 

  • Stay inside during extreme cold temperatures, if possible and have plenty of extra blankets and layers of clothing, even keep extra blankets in your car. 
  • Dress appropriately when going outside, especially if working outside, wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves, and a hat. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Be prepared for car break downs and being stranded outside, e.g. sleeping bag, blankets, and winter gear. If possible, have flares, cones or lights to mark the scene.
  • Make sure that your car’s heater and defroster are in good working order, and always keep the gas tank near full to prevent ice in the tank and fuel lines. 
  • Protect outside spigots from freezing by using covers or by turning off the water source; drip all inside faucets and open cabinet doors to circulate heat. 
  • NEVER run a generator out of garage or in the house. 

Understanding hypothermia:

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature <95 degrees F. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making you unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.

 The signs and symptoms of the three different stages of hypothermia are:

  • First stage: shivering, reduced circulation;
  • Second stage: slow, weak pulse, slowed breathing, lack of co-ordination, irritability, confusion and sleepy behavior;
  • Advanced stage: slow, weak or absent respiration and pulse.

Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water. -for/extreme-cold/