Health

Back-to-School Basics: Annual Checkups and Vaccines

Summer break is coming to a close. Soon, your child will head back to school with their pencils, notebooks and a backpack. Your child’s school may have a checklist for the things students need. In addition to items on that list, your child will need to see the doctor and be vaccinated before classes start.

Your Child’s Checkup and Vaccines

Be sure to visit your child’s primary care provider (PCP) before the first day of school. The PCP will perform a checkup and give your child vaccines (shots) they need. If your child is an AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia (DC) member, they will be in the HealthCheck Program. This is also called Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT). The program starts right after your child is born and lasts until your child turns 21. The HealthCheck Program gives your child a number of important checkups. Your child’s PCP will provide or help your child get these services. Checkups allow the doctor to see if your child is growing and developing properly.

During the checkup, the PCP will give your child the shots they need. Just like the ones your child got at birth, your child needs shots before school starts. Every child, from preschoolers to college students, needs vaccines. Attending school without being vaccinated is unsafe for your child and their classmates. Vaccines can prevent several deadly diseases, including the measles. It’s important for your child to get all necessary shots before the first day of school. In fact, it’s required by law. Ask your child’s doctor if they recommend any other vaccines to keep your child safe, like the flu shot.

Your Child’s Health Action Plan

If your child has asthma or other conditions, be sure to have an action plan for when they are at school. An asthma action plan shows the daily medicine that should be taken, how to control asthma and how to handle asthma attacks. Your child’s doctor can help you create an asthma action plan. Share this plan and other important documents with your child’s teachers and the school nurse. Supply the nurse with enough of your child’s medicines and their medicine schedule. It is also important for them to have any emergency medicine your child uses, like a rescue inhaler. Make sure the school has everything they need to keep your child safe and healthy.

Vision and Learning

It’s important to know if your child can see well before attending school. To check, visit your child’s eye doctor. Good vision can help with learning. If your child has trouble seeing up close, they may have issues learning to read. If seeing far away is hard, your child may not be able to read the blackboard. Of course, there are safety issues, too. If your child walks to school, it can be unsafe crossing the street with blurry vision. Seeing an eye doctor is the only sure way to know if your child’s eyes are healthy. Get your child’s eyes checked every year to be aware of any changes as he or she grows.

Student Enrollment

If your child is attending a District of Columbia Public School (SCPS), you will need to complete Student Enrollment and Health Forms. Some of the forms include:

  • Student enrollment form
  • Residency verification
  • Home language survey
  • Health certificate and assessment

New students will also need 1 proof-of-age document, which can include:

  • A birth certificate
  • Hospital records
  • Previous school records
  • A passport
  • A baptismal certificate

To complete these forms, visit dcps.dc.gov/DCPS and type “Enrollment Checklist” in the search bar.

Ready, Set, Learn!

The classroom is an important place for children to learn and feel safe. It’s also great for social development. With the back-to-school checklists complete, your child is ready to tackle the first day of the school year. And with vaccines checked off, your child should have fewer sick days. That’s more time to learn. AmeriHealth Caritas DC wishes your child a safe and healthy school year full of knowledge and success!

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and District of Columbia Public Schools

All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.

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