Back to School Checklist: Immunizations and Physicals

Summer is almost over and it’s almost time to start on your child’s back-to-school checklist. For many parents, scheduling your student’s annual physical exam is at the top of that list. Public schools require all children entering school for the first time or moving from another state to have a school physical. While they encourage kids to get their physical before the school year begins, they usually allow parents a 30-day grace period after school starts. The form that providers complete to document the physical is the North Carolina Health Assessment Transmittal Form. This form can be completed by a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or a physician.

School physicals are designed to help providers and parents know if there is a physical limitation that may impact a child’s learning. During a school physical, the provider will assess their hearing, vision, skin, heart and lungs. The form also lists a child’s allergies (food- or medication-related), medications, special diet instructions, and any health-related recommendations that can support or enhance the child’s performance at school. Further, this form allows providers to document any recommendations for the school, and whether or not follow-up is needed throughout the year. If a child has a chronic disease, such as asthma or diabetes, the provider can also attach an “asthma action plan” or “diabetes care plan.” During the health assessment, the provider should also ensure the child’s immunizations are up to date.

Before all children begin public school or transfer from another state, their immunizations must be up to date. If a parent is unsure whether or not their child’s immunizations are current, the provider should be able to access the North Carolina Immunization Registry or NCIR to check. If the child is transferring from another state, the provider will request a copy of the child’s immunizations from the previous provider. If a parent is unsure or thinks their child may have missed their immunization, providers are able to use a “catch-up” immunization schedule and then update their profile on the registry. Examples of immunizations that must be up to date include varicella, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and hepatitis vaccines, to name a few. Additionally, if a child’s immunizations are not up to date, schools may also offer parents a grace period to allow them to get caught up.

InstaCare offers walk-in appointments for sports physicals and vaccinations to both adults and children who are 12 months of age and older. Simply walk in or go online to reserve a spot.

InstaCare will be moving to its new location at 2800 Lawndale Drive, Suite 109, on Aug. 9.

Spokesperson Background:
Christie Leath, NP, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner at InstaCare in Greensboro. Leath obtained her diploma of nursing from Watts School of Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Winston-Salem State University. She recently completed her Master of Science in Nursing with a family practice concentration in 2017 from Catholic University of America.

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