Women waving goodbye to kids for school Louisville KY

Backpacks, school supplies, shoes, clothes—most families’ back-to-school checklists are extensive. Don’t forget to consider a trip to the doctor and updated vaccines to ensure your child has a healthy start to the new school year.

These health exams are required for new and returning students:

  • Physicals: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend school-age children are seen for a physical each year. In Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), physical exams are required for placement in early childhood programs, for kindergarten if the student did not have one within the last year and for sixth grade. This wellness exam is not the same as a sports physical.
  • Dental exams: Kentucky law requires proof of a dental screening no later than January 1 of the first year a child is enrolled in public school.
  • Eye exams: All children between the ages of 3 and 6 require an eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist no later than January 1 of the year the student is enrolled.
  • Sports physicals: Athletes are often required to receive comprehensive physical exams to ensure they are ready to participate in organized sports. Sports physicals are to be completed each year the student is active in a sport and may be needed upon injury or major physical changes.
  • Other: Your child’s doctor may do other exams, based on the requirements of your child’s school and the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Per the JCPS school health requirement, “Every JCPS student must have a current Kentucky State Immunization Certificate on file within two weeks after starting school. Students who enroll in Head Start or State-Funded Pre-K Programs must have a current Kentucky State Immunization Certificate on file prior to attending a JCPS school or riding on a JCPS bus, and students will not be placed without these forms.”

JCPS students are required to have the following vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis B Three doses are required for:  Preschool, Head Start, Kindergarten through sixth grade and students.
  • Rotavirus (RV): two doses for RV1 series, three doses for RV5 series starting at two months of age.
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP, DTaP, Td, Tdap) Minimum: four doses with one dose on or after fourth birthday and at least six months between the last two doses. For sixth grade entry, age 11 or 12 years old, one dose of Tdap.
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate (Hib) Required for preschoolers under 5, four doses.
  • Pneumococcal (PCV) Vaccine Four doses, one on/after twelve months of age.
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Second dose for students and Preschool or Head Start children who have reached fourth birthday.
  • Polio (OPV/IPV) Minimum: three doses, one dose or after fourth birthday, and at least four weeks apart, but preferably six months between last two doses.
  • Influenza: one or two doses yearly, starting at six months of age.
  • Chickenpox (Varicella) One dose, on or after age twelve months; second dose required for students and Preschool or Head Start children who have reached their fourth birthday unless physician confirms previous chickenpox.
  • Hepatitis A: two dose series, starting at six months of age.
  • Meningococcal (MCV) Vaccine One dose at sixth grade entry, students eleven years of age or older.

If your child is on medications that must be taken at school, parents must be sure to get the proper forms signed during your child’s checkup. Most schools post their required forms on the school website.

Click here for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents. For further questions and concerns, consult your child’s pediatrician.

Have more questions? Make an appointment with your UofL Physicians – Family Medicine or UofL Physicians – Primary Care provider, or visit UofLHealth.org today.

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Article by: Kamara E. Garner, M.D.

Kamara Garner, M.D., is a Family Medicine provider at UofL Physicians - Primary Care. She graduated from the University of Kentucky where she earned her medical degree. Her specialties include primary care and family medicine. Her areas of interest are cardiovascular critical care, community medicine and diabetes management.

All posts by Kamara E. Garner, M.D.
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