COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There’s a long to-do list for parents as kids head back to school. It’s not just supplies and clothes, it’s their health, too.
Here are some things to know as schools get closer to reopening across central Ohio.
Zastudil said it’s important to get an eye exam for children at the start of the school year.
“Younger children may be starting to have problems with vision and not know it,” said “We offer physicals, sports physicals, physicals for marching band, and physicals for school,” said Holly Zastudil, a family nurse practitioner at the CVS on Sawmill Road. “We know as parents that it’s important once they get to school that they can read everything, see the board, and have the best year possible.”
Minute Clinic can offer a basic whisper test for hearing, but a more advanced exam needs to be done by an audiologist.
Vaccination requirements for Ohio
“In Ohio, if you have a child going into seventh grade, they’re going to need an initial meningitis vaccine, and then a Tdap booster,” Zastudil said. “Tdap is tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, which is coverage for whooping cough. Or if you have a child going into twelfth grade, a meningitis booster.”
Students entering preschool, kindergarten or a childcare facility must be up to date on all their early childhood vaccinations. Completion of a Certificate of Immunization form is required. Without it, the school or facility may not be able to admit your child.
This is particularly important for parents who have moved here from out of state where standards may be different, said a CVS spokesperson.
What about COVID-19 vaccines?
Check to see if there are any specific requirements for COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, which may differ between public and private schools. It is safe for students to receive COVID-19 vaccinations at the same time as other immunizations.
According to the CDC, children 5 and above are eligible for an initial COVID-19 vaccine and booster five months later. Those six months to 5 years are eligible for their first COVID-19 vaccination.
There’s also a vaccine for children 18 months to 4 years old; one for children 5 to 11 years, and then one for children 12 and older.
Minute Clinic keeps a range of vaccines on hand, so ask if there are other shots your child needs.
Ready, set, sleep
“With all the fun summer has to offer, it’s easy for our sleep schedules to get altered,” said Zastudil. “Parents and kids too. So, the most important thing is for parents to start thinking about getting their children onto a proper sleep schedule before school starts.
“We know as parents they’re going to be earlier to get up earlier and that can be difficult. So my best advice is the electronics — make sure those electronics that your kids love are turned off an hour before sleep, so that the child’s mind can rest, and prepare the body to rest, so that they have the best start to their day.”
Here’s what is recommended by the CDC: 10 to 12 hours for preschoolers’; nine to 12 hours for those six to 12; and teenagers need 8 to 10 hours.
Make handwashing a healthy habit
Study after study shows that proper handwashing is the most important measure against spreading germs. Hands should be washed after every restroom visit and before eating a meal as germs are often spread from hands to the mouth.
Teach young children – and remind older students – to use soap, warm water if it’s available, and to scrub for at least 20 seconds. Sing the Happy Birthday song twice, and that’s about the same length of time. For hand sanitizer, rub all surfaces of the hand including in between the fingers, for 20 seconds or until the hand sanitizer is dry.
Allergies and medications at school
Many of us have children who manage chronic conditions like asthma and allergies that can be triggered by respiratory conditions, certain foods or insect stings. Visit the school in advance and talk to your child’s teachers and the school nurse about those needs, a CVS spokesperson advised.
Make sure they are prepared to assist if needed and that your child has quick and easy access to medication when it’s required.
If your student has food allergies, it’s also helpful to speak with the cafeteria staff about any special meal-planning that might be required.
“In a sports physical we’ll check your child’s vital signs: Blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, oxygen level. Of course we’ll check their height and weight so they’re growing appropriately, and then we do a head-to-toe exam,” Zastudil said. “So we’re looking at head, eyes, ears, nose and throat; listen to heart and lungs, check their abdomen, and then have them move around a little bit at the end.”