Even as an adult (without a school-age child), I still get a little nervous and excited when I see the “Back-to-School” ads in the paper and signs in the stores. Along with thoughts of notebooks, highlighters and new shoes, these signs should also remind you to get your child a back-to-school check-up.

In the state of Kentucky, children entering the public school system through Head Start or as a kindergartner are required to have proof of a recent preventive health exam. These little ones also need to show that they have been to the dentist and eye doctor as well. An official school physical is also needed for those entering the sixth grade.

This is also the time of year when athletes often renew their annual KHSAA sports physical, which should be done four-to-six weeks before the athlete’s season begins in order to address any possible issues.

An important change this year is the vaccine requirements for Kentucky schools. All students need proof of receiving the two shot hepatitis A series and those 16 and older should have proof of two meningitis vaccines.  The link to the full CDC vaccine schedule from birth to 6 years old is here and for 7 to 18 years old here.

Those students with asthma, seizures or other medical problems will need additional forms to guide school personnel on how to best care for those children during the school day. Permission forms for any medication the student may need at school should be completed annually as well. For copies of these forms or more information on JCPS requirements, follow this link.

Back to school prep can be hectic. From shopping for school supplies to getting check-ups completed, a lot of running around happens in late July and early August.

Here is my insider advice: Get those doctor’s visits taken care of in June or, better yet, come for a check up just after your child’s birthday every year. We can take care of the forms any time of year and help you avoid some of the back to school stress.

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Jennifer Stiff, M.D.

Jennifer Stiff, M.D., was born and raised in Owensboro. She received her bachelor's from Bellarmine University and her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She completed her internship and residency in pediatric medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She and her husband, now call Louisville home. On the weekends they can be found running through Seneca park, cheering on the Cards or discovering new restaurants.

All posts by Jennifer Stiff, M.D.
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