By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
New requirements for school health screenings, issued by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), aren’t that much of a change.
That’s according to Chase County Schools (CCS) School Nurse Angie Paisley.
The mandatory changes took effect July 1.
The first change is that children in grades pre-K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10 must receive school health screenings instead of all students.
Paisley said CCS will continue to perform screenings for all students.
The second change is that in addition to vision, hearing and dental screenings, now height, weight and BMI screenings must be performed.
CCS was already taking height and weight data on all students.
The third change is that those people helping perform the screenings must meet certain competency requirements, including licensed health care professionals and volunteers.
Paisley said she already uses nurses and EMTs for the blood pressure and pulse records, and they are already trained.
In addition, most of the volunteers she uses have been involved with the screenings for years and she has already trained them.
Training is “basically what we do every year,” she said, and involves an orientation regarding each station. For instance, taking height measurements means reminding the student to put his heels against the wall when being measured, then raising the measuring stick, resting it on the student’s head and recording the result.
The difference this year, Paisley said, is that she needs to keep a roster of volunteers showing their competency to perform the screenings.
The last change is that schools may conduct school health screenings throughout the school year versus only the first quarter.
Paisley plans to continue CCS screenings as in the past, the second week of school.
“That way the teachers know which kids have trouble seeing, and if there are health problems, we can get them resolved” immediately, she said.
The Imperial Lions Club will be bringing the Lions Mobile Screening Unit to Imperial to help with the CCS screenings.
Besides Lions Club personnel who will run the two screening machines, volunteers will be instructed on how to help the students prepare for the vision tests, Paisley said.
The goal of the changes, according to DHHS, is to help improve and assure quality practices for school health screenings.
If a student’s health screening shows a need for further evaluation, the school will send a written notice to parents.
All school health screening information is protected by state confidentiality laws and will be stored securely in the student’s personal record.