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School Health Services

Screening Recommendations For 2012-2013 School Year

Students entering Head Start, Early Childhood Development (Pre‑K), kindergarten, or first grade programs should have a comprehensive health assessment performed by the student's health care practitioner that includes in‑office vision and hearing risk assessments and/or screenings. Students who do not pass a vision screening should be examined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.  Students who do not pass a hearing screening should be evaluated by an audiologist if the cause is determined to be non-medical.  Students should also have a comprehensive dental examination by the student's dentist within the 12 months prior to enrollment in school for the first time.

The following school-based mass screening intervals are recommended as priority screenings for schools in South Carolina.  Other grade levels and/or student groups may be screened based on the school nurse’s knowledge of specific concerns for a school population. 

In addition to the mass screening recommendations, school nurses should screen students who miss a scheduled mass screening and assess/evaluate students referred by a parent/guardian or a school team member.  Also, certain individual student health-related assessments or evaluations may be required, as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), in order to assess a child in all areas related to a suspected disability.  Under IDEA, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status and motor abilities assessments may be required. 

School-based Mass Screening Recommendations

Note:  Schools should accept documentation of screening results from a licensed practitioner in lieu of the school-based screening.  Parents/guardians may request that their child not be screened at school.  Such requests should be submitted in writing and maintained on file.

Vision:

  • All students in Early Childhood Development or Head Start programs preferably within 2 months of enrollment unless the program guidelines specify otherwise
  • All students in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and at least once in grades 9 – 12

Hearing:

  • All students in Early Childhood Development or Head Start programs preferably within 2 months of enrollment unless the program guidelines specify otherwise
  • All students in grades K, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7

Dental:

  • All students in Early Childhood Development or Head Start programs preferably within 2 months of enrollment unless the program guidelines specify otherwise
  • All students in grades K, 3, 7 and  at least once in grades 9 - 12

Blood Pressure:

  • At least once in grades 9 – 12

Body Mass Index (BMI):

  • All students in grades 5, 8, and at least once in grades 9 –12

Grades listed for BMI correspond with SC Code of Laws Section 59-10-10.  Body composition measures are reported by physical education teachers to a student’s parent/guardian as part of the individual student’s overall fitness status.  BMI is the most commonly used index of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence. School nurses should not duplicate the efforts of the physical education teachers, but may work with physical education teachers to provide resources that students may need.