Health Screenings and Physical Exams
The Department of Public Health requires periodic physical examinations of students to ensure proper growth and development, identify any new medical problems, and to evaluate any existing health problems. These physical exams are required to be performed in kindergarten and grades 4, 7, and 9. Your child’s primary care physician can provide a copy of the physical exam form which needs to be submitted to the school nurse prior to or during the school year as listed above. Any new students entering the Whitman-Hanson schools are required to submit a recent physical exam form prior to entrance. If the child does not have a primary care physician, arrangements may be made for the school’s physician to provide a physical exam. In addition, ALL middle and high school students must pass a physical examination within 13 months of any athletic participation (MIAA policy). The physical exam must be on file in the nurse’s office prior to participation.
Hearing and Vision Screenings
As mandated by the Department of Public Health, hearing and vision screenings are conducted annually for students in grades 1-5 (vision), K-3 (hearing), 7 and 10(vision and hearing). Students in other grades will be screened on a referral basis as needed. The screenings are conducted by the school nurse or by a trained staff person under the supervision of the school nurse. If there are further concerns as a result of the screening, the school nurse will notify the parent/guardian in writing.
Screening for scoliosis is conducted in grades 5-9 by the physical education teachers and/or the school nurse as mandated by the Department of Public Health. This program identifies children who should have a further medical evaluation. Re-screenings are done by the school nurse, who then notifies parents with any concerns or positive findings.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Screening Screening for BMI is conducted in grades 1, 4, 7, and 10 by the school nurse or by a trained staff person under the supervision of the school nurse as mandated by the Department of Public Health. BMI is calculated with a child’s height and weight. It is a way of checking to see if your child has a healthy weight. The results of the screening compare your child’s height and weight to other children of the same age and sex. The results are given as a “percentile.” Parents may request their child’s BMI results, along with recommendations if the child is not in a healthy weight range, by contacting the school nurse.
The Department of Public Health requires annual substance use screening (SBIRT) to be performed in grades 8 or 9 and 11. It will consist of Screening; Brief Intervention; and Referral and Treatment for students with substance use issues. Screening instruments are empirically validated and selected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Screening results shall not be recorded in any file subject to inspection. Results for all students screened will be recorded without identifying information and reported to the Department of Public Health
NOTE: A parent/guardian may decide not to have their child participate in the mandated screenings. A written letter indicating this request needs to be sent in to the school nurse by September 15th of each school year.