ESC Region 11 strives to provide districts and charters with quality professional development, technical assistance, and resources related to the Coordinated School Health Model, including vision, hearing, and spinal screening.
Regarding Screening Rules During 2020-2021 School Year
Health and Safety Code, Chapter 36 and 25 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 37 require Public, Private, Parochial, and Denominational Schools (Schools) and Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Licensed Child Care Centers and Licensed Child Care Homes (Child Cares) to screen children for vision, hearing and spinal problems.
The Health Screening Group understands the challenges that schools and school districts are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although screening is still required for this school year, DSHS understands the need for flexibility and advises schools and school districts to assess their capacity to safely conduct screenings. Schools and child cares with the capacity to screen should notify parents and follow best practices previous developed by the department (<hyperlink to our Best Practices document>). Parents who choose not to participate at this time may decline screenings.
DSHS recommends schools notify the parents of children who have missed or will miss a screening. This notification should inform parents of the missed screening and encourage them to ask for screenings at their child’s next well-child appointment with their medical provider. If a parent suspects their child has a vision, hearing, or spinal problem they should notify the school nurse or school administration for assistance in obtaining a screening. The Health Screening Group has developed sample letters for parents for vision and hearing screening (below) and spinal screening (below) that schools may use.
The Child Health Reporting System (CHRS) opens for 2020-2021 reporting on January 15 and closes June 30. School districts and child cares who conducted screenings should enter their screening results as usual. The schools and child cares who were unable to screen children this year due to COVID-19 should still report in CHRS by entering zeroes in the number fields. Doing this indicates the school districts and child cares have reported their data and will not appear on the “Did Not Report” list.
Instructions for adding zeroes are located under “Announcements” on our website located at: www.dshs.texas.gov/vhs .
Please contact the Vision, Hearing and Spinal Screening Program at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or concerns.
Draft Letter for Students Who Have Missed or Will Miss a Vision or Hearing Screening (5th grade reading level):
Due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, your child has not received a vision or hearing screening. Vision and hearing problems can affect a child’s wellbeing and their ability to learn.
The Department of State Health Services encourages parents to take their children to a medical provider for well child exams. During these appointments you can ask for screenings. If your child is screened, we encourage you to send us the results of those screens for our records.
Signs of a possible vision problem include:
- Tilting the head
- Sitting too close to the television
- Constant eye rubbing
- Abnormal alignment or movement of the eyes
Signs of a possible hearing problem include:
- Your child wants volumes louder than other members of the family
- Your child often says “What?”
- It seems like your child isn’t listening
- Your child seems to hear fine sometimes and not others
If you think your child has a vision or hearing problem, please contact the school nurse. Discuss your concerns with them right away.
Draft Letter for Students Who Have Missed or Will Miss a Spinal Screening (7th grade reading level):
Due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, your child has not received a spinal screening. Spinal screening can detect abnormal spinal curvatures at an early stage. Early detection is important for controlling spinal deformities.
The Department of State Health Services encourages parents to take their children to a medical provider for well child exams. During these appointments you can ask for your child to receive a spinal screening. If your child is screened, we encourage you to send us the results of the screen for our records.
Signs your child may have an abnormal spinal curvature:
- Uneven shoulders or hips
- Ribs that are prominent or stick out in one area
- Muscles that are prominent in the lower back or bulge on one side
If you think your child has an abnormal spinal curvature, please contact the school nurse. Discuss your concerns with them.
- Send a letter to parents notifying them in advance that screenings will be conducted on designated dates
- Request parent to please bring student receiving online instructions to the school so screenings may be performed in accordance with the statutes
- In lieu of the screening(s) provided by the school:
- parents or guardians may provide screening record signed by a licensed professional
- parents or guardians may provide signed statement that the vision, hearing or spinal screening conflicts with the tenets and practices of a church or religious denomination of which the affiant is an adherent or member
SUBJECT: INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING VISION, HEARING AND SPINAL SCREENING ANNUAL REPORTS FOR FACILITIES THAT WERE UNABLE TO SCREEN FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR (ADDING ZEROES).
If you have any questions, please email VHSSprogram@dshs.texas.gov.
Vision/Hearing Classes 2021
A message from Sheron Fountain, DSHS Regional Coordinator (1/4/2021):
We have received direction from the state to continue to provide vision and hearing trainings online until further notice.
Therefore, DSHS is providing basic training virtually, until we can conduct in-person certification. DSHS will provide participants with a Provisional Certification valid through December 31, 2022.
These participants will not be required to do the practicum portion of the training at this time. However, they will need to sign up for an in-person recertification class and will have the practicum at that time before their provisional certification expires.
Participants must register for workshops separately using the links below. Please feel free to share the Eventbrite links with those who are interested in receiving training.
No vision/hearing recertification workshops have been scheduled yet. A link will be posted when classes are available.
Click on the link and Select Date to register.
Please sign up for email updates on our websites:
- Vision and Hearing: https://dshs.texas.gov/vhs/default.shtm
- Spinal: https://dshs.texas.gov/spinal/default.shtm
Sheron Fountain, BS
Vision, Hearing & Spinal Screening Program
Health Service Region 3 / Mail Code 1905
Texas Department of State Health Services
1301 South Bowen Road, Suite 200
Arlington, TX 76013
Spinal Screening 2021: Announcement from DSHS
There will be no in-person Spinal Screening trainings conducted by DSHS Staff until further notice.
Therefore, we are providing training virtually, until we can conduct in-person certification. For those without a current certification, we will provide participants with a provisional certification valid through December 31, 2022. These participants will not be required to do the practicum portion of the training at this time. However, they will need to sign up for an in-person spinal training class and will have the practicum at that time before their provisional certification expires.
Please direct requests for spinal screening trainings to Sylvia Millsap at Sylvia.Millsap@dshs.texas.gov.
School Vaccination Rules 2020-2021 (June 17, 2020)
School vaccination rules are in effect for the 2020-2021 school year. Students should be up-to-date, in the process of receiving vaccines, or have a valid exemption on file when school starts in the fall. For a list of vaccine requirements for K-12, Pre-K, and child-care facilities, go to the Texas School & Child-Care Facility webpage.
For a list of providers who offer low-cost vaccines, go to the Texas Vaccines for Children Provider Locator webpage.
This information is posted on the COVID-19 School Updates webpage.
Julie Ketelsen MPH, CHES
School Compliance Coordinator
Assessment, Compliance, and Evaluation Group
Department of State Health Services
512-776-6470 or 512-776-7544
Vision, Hearing, and Spinal Screening and Reporting Rules are Waived for 2019-2020 School Year. Optional reporting window for screenings already conducted extended to July 31.
- Due to COVID-19 and school closures, in accordance with section 418.016 of the Texas Government Code, the Office of the Governor grants the Department of State Health Services’ request to suspend HSC section 37.001(b), 25 TAC 37.144(c)(1), and 25 TAC 37.145(b)(5) for spinal screening and reporting, and HSC sections 36.004(a), 36.006(d), and 25 TAC 37.23(a), 25 TAC 37.24(a), and 25 TAC 37.26(b)(6) for hearing and vision screening and reporting. This suspension is in effect for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Schools may report screening results of previously performed screenings by July 31st for the 2019-2020 school year if they elect to do so. Results can be submitted to DSHS online at the Child Health Reporting System (CHRS). If you have any questions, please email VHSSprogram@dshs.texas.gov.
I am excited to announce that Cook Children’s Pediatric Grand Rounds is back- Virtually! I have attached the upcoming dates and topics for you. If you would like to be included automatically to receive future Grand Rounds emails, please let me know, and I will get you in touch with our continuing education coordinator.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any needs or questions regarding Cook Children’s! We are here for you and happy to help.