School Health Screenings
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can do school health screenings?
Individual school district policies dictate who may conduct health screenings in that district. School nurses may be assisted by trained unlicensed school staff members in doing school health screenings. Health professionals, such as dentists, may volunteer to conduct dental screenings. The Lions Club provides equipment and trained volunteers to conduct vision screenings in many areas of the state.
When there is no school nurse, public health nurses who visit schools in their counties may conduct school health screenings. Check with your school district for policies in your school.
What health conditions will be screened for and at what grade levels?
The Hearing Conservation Program through the Montana Office of Public Instruction oversees hearing screenings in schools and mandates hearing screenings in grades K, 1, and either 9 or 10. The public schools take on the primary responsibility for conducting these screenings.
Montana law does not mandate other health screenings in schools. School districts have policies as to which screenings will be conducted in their schools on a yearly basis. Possible screenings may include: Vision, Height and Weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), Scoliosis, Dental, or other.
How will I know if my child’s screening indicates a need for further testing?
You will be notified if your child does not pass a screening or if the screening indicates a need for follow-up with your healthcare provider. You may not be notified if results of the screening are within the normal range.
In schools with a school nurse, the school nurse may discuss the results with you if your child does not pass a screening and recommend an appropriate course for further assessment. Your school nurse may also be able to help you to find affordable care, or to identify providers who accept Medicaid.
Will my child’s school health screening results be kept confidential?
All school health screening information is protected by the Family Education Rights Protection Act and will be stored securely in students’ personal records. Parents/guardians have the right to access the records of their child.
My child has special needs. Will my child still receive school health screenings?
Students with special healthcare needs who cannot be screened by usual methods at school will not be excluded or overlooked in school health screenings. It is sometimes possible to utilize testing methods that will provide the desired screening results. Check with your school to see if alternate methods of screening are available for your individual child. If your child sees a healthcare provider or specialist on a regular basis, you may present information done at those visits to the school for your student’s record if you choose.