School screenings provide a process that allows for the detection of health conditions that might negatively impact a child’s learning success.
Health screenings performed at school are not diagnostic. They are intended to identify students who exhibit symptoms suggestive of a health problem and allow for a process for the school nurse to support the parents of students meeting referral criteria to follow up with the appropriate health care providers for a diagnostic evaluation and for treatment if warranted.
In recent years, Iowa law has mandated that students receive certain health screenings.
The following is a summary of health screenings and a schedule for when screenings are offered in Des Moines Public Schools. If you would like your child to be excused from the screening programs offered, please notify the school nurse.
Height and Weight Screenings – are conducted as part of the Physical Education program each Fall and Spring in grades Kindergarten through grade 10.
Vision Screening – Now required by Iowa law to be completed on all students entering kindergarten and grade 3. Students must have had the screening no earlier than one year prior to the date of the child’s enrollment in grades K or 3, and no later than six months after the date of the child’s enrollment. Vision screening of new students and those with suspected vision concerns are conducted as needed. Click here to download the required certificate of vision screening.
Hearing Screening – Routine general hearing screenings are conducted in Preschool, kindergarten and grade 1. Screenings of students with a history of known hearing loss are conducted in Preschool, kindergarten and in grades 1-5. Screenings of new students, those with suspected hearing concerns or those undergoing a special education evaluation are completed as needed.
Dental Screening – Now required by Iowa law to be completed on all students entering kindergarten and grade 9. Students entering kindergarten must have had the screening completed no sooner than 3 years of age and no later than four months after school enrollment. It can be completed by a licensed doctor, nurse, physician assistant, dental hygienist or dentist. Students entering grade 9 must have proof of dental screening by a dentist or dental hygienist completed no earlier than one year prior to enrollment and no later than 4 months after enrollment. Click here to download the required certificate of dental screening.
Blood Lead Screening – Iowa law now requires that children enrolling into kindergarten provide proof of having been tested for blood lead levels before the age of 6 years. There are exemptions to the law in cases of religious exemption or in cases where the Iowa Department of Public Health determines the child is at an extremely low risk of lead exposure. Exemptions must be approved by the Iowa Department of Public Health. If you have questions or need assistance contact the Iowa Department of Public Health’s blood lead bureau at 1-800-972-2026.