General Information

 

Screening

Screenings are a secondary level of prevention, and when performed in schools, provide a means to identify students who may have a condition that affects their ability to learn. The District or Charter School may choose to perform mass or individual screenings, led by a school nurse, to improve the health and well-being of their students. Parents should always be notified in advance of all screenings. Follow-up with screening results and assistance to access care is a school nurse core function.

The Utah Department of Health provides the following guidelines for school screenings:  53G-9-402(1) (a) Each local school board shall implement rules as prescribed by the Department of Health for vision, dental, abnormal spinal curvature, and hearing examinations of students attending the district's schools.

Vision Screening

A child's ability to see greatly impacts his or her ability to learn. A school vision screening program is a cost effective approach that plays a vital role in the early identification of serious vision problems that might negatively affect the physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development of the individual student. Several vision problems if not corrected before the age of nine may lead to permanent blindness in one or both eyes.

A new law passed in 2019 (UCA 53G-9-404) requires all public schools screen the vision on students in grades pre-K, kindergarten, 1, 3, 5, 7 or 8, and 9 or 10.

Although vision screening is crucial in identifying children with visual problems, it is important for parents to understand that school vision screening not a substitute for a complete eye exam and vision evaluation by an eye care professional.

Dental

The school nurse may contact a local dentist to conduct oral health screenings, apply sealants and provide restorative care. Several Oral Health in school programs have been approved through UDOH Oral Health Program. Dental health education is also important and can be done by the school nurse, a dental hygienist or students in a dental hygiene program. February is National Dental Health month. For information on in school programs and resources contact the UDOH Oral Health Program at (801) 273-2995

Hearing

Hearing screenings may be conducted by a school nurses or school audiologist. Check with your LEA/charter school policy on health screenings. For questions please contact the USOE Education Specialist at 801-538-7726.

Height and Weight

The HEAL Program partners with school nurses, school districts, and local health departments to conduct a bi-annual height and weight measurement project. This project enables UDOH to track the prevalence of overweight and obesity among elementary school students statewide. In 2014, 20.9% of students were at an unhealthy weight. The rate did not change between 2006 and 2014. Access the Childhood Overweight in Utah, 2014 report (PDF) to learn more about the project, rates of overweight by grade and sex, the effects of childhood overweight and obesity, and strategies to prevent childhood obesity.

Scoliosis

Recent studies have cast controversy on the effectiveness of routine scoliosis screening in the school setting. Previous studies have both supported and discouraged routine screening. Districts are given the option to perform hands-on scoliosis screening or make available, parent screening instructions to all students in 5-8th grades annually. School nurses oversee the spinal curvature screening. Physical education teachers can help with the initial screening process after training by a school nurse or medical professional, on the use of a scoliometer, a tool used to help determine the severity of spinal curvature.

Data

Utah School Health Workload Report

Each year we are asked to collect data statewide for use in the Utah Department of Health and the National Association of School Nurses. Those districts or charter schools that receive matching funds for school nurses are required to complete this annually. All schools in Utah are asked to submit this data in May. 

Annual Report

With the data that is collected this annual report is compiled with Utah-specific information. While many people usually want to know the nurse-to--student ratios for each school, this information is not the most accurate way to distribute nursing services. Workload and acuity should be taken into account when making school nurse assignments.

School Height and Weight Study

The HEAL Program partners with school nurses, school districts, and local health departments to conduct a bi-annual height and weight measurement project. This project enables UDOH to track the prevalence of overweight and obesity among elementary school students statewide. In 2014, 20.9% of students were at an unhealthy weight. The rate did not change between 2006 and 2014. Access the Childhood Overweight in Utah, 2018 report (PDF) to learn more about the project, rates of overweight by grade and sex, the effects of childhood overweight and obesity, and strategies to prevent childhood obesity.

Local Childhood Obesity Rates

From 2011 - 2014, school nurses and local health department staff in Utah County, Wasatch County, Weber County, and in 2016 state wide, collected height and weight data for elementary school students to determine the rates of overweight and obesity in their respective districts. In 2018, Davis County collected height and weight data for elementary school students. The HEAL Program produced the following reports with local and state level rates:

Resources

Concussion

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HEADS UP to schools: Know Your Concussion ABC's is a flexible set of materials, developed for professionals working with grades K-12, will help identify and respond to concussions in an array of school settings.

EpiPen4School Program

Each eligible school can receive up to four FREE EpiPen or EpiPen Jr Auto-Injectors in the form of two EpiPen 2-Pak® cartons, two EpiPen Jr 2-Pak® cartons, or one 2-Pak of each kind.

Diabetes
Asthma
Websites
National Association of School Nurses
2020 School Nurse Resource Manual