Students aren’t the only things that thrive in a school environment. So do germs. Some common infectious diseases like the cold, flu and meningitis are passed from person to person very easily through close quarters. All it takes is a cough or sneeze and a whole bus full of kids; a classroom or cafeteria is exposed. There’s only so much that can be done to prevent illnesses in a school environment, but school district and state officials are attempting to do what they can. Physical examinations are the effective result of that effort.
State and county requirements regarding back to school physicals vary by county, district and state. However, within the school district or county in which your student attends school, the requirements will basically be the same from school to school. The primary reason that a school physical is required is to ensure that students are up-to-date on their immunizations. Immunizations are mandatory.
Parents are advised to follow the pediatric immunization schedule put forth by the Centers for Disease Control which mandates which type and at what age certain immunizations should be administered; usually beginning at 1 to 2 months and continuing through college. Students who follow the schedule of immunizations will be ready to enter classes at the beginning of the year. The immunization schedule is specific. Certain vaccinations are required according to the student’s age with follow-on doses administered accordingly.
Students are only required to have a physical exam once a year, prior to when their academic year begins. Schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor in the summer or earlier in the spring to prepare him or her for their first day of school. Students who play sports are required to have a physical examination. The school will require documentation that proves your student has indeed had an examination is fully immunized and is healthy enough to play sports or participate in certain activities, if desired. The documentation must be signed by a doctor and updated as necessary, for example, if medications or doses change.
While your child’s school district requires annual physicals, this isn’t the only reason for following through. In the event your child has a health condition that’s gone undiagnosed, a school physical may uncover it. And the earlier a condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. School physicals also provide an opportunity for your student to speak with a health professional about concerns about peer pressure, hormonal changes, psychological concerns, or any other area where a doctor can add a healthy perspective. Think of the required physical as a preventative care visit.
Some religious affiliations do not believe in formal medical care. If your religious beliefs preclude you from having an annual physical, be sure to advise your school health professional. They will want to know if your child is not vaccinated, or has any health concerns to be aware of.
Children’s Health Care is here for your student prior to their academic school year and beyond. Our comprehensive pre-school physicals will take into account family and medical histories and ensure your child is ready for the first day of school. We’ll also ensure your child is caught up on all immunizations to ensure that your child is in the best possible health.
Children’s Health Care’s providers are available when you need us. We offer extended hours in the morning at all locations for walk-in sick visits, as well as weekend and holiday hours at our Newburyport Lower Level office. CHC triage nurses are available to answer questions by phone during our office hours. Outside of our normal office hours, a CHC provider is always on call to respond to emergencies and answer urgent questions. If you need to speak to the on-call provider, please call (978) 465-7121.