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School Health Serivces Program

FL Dept of Health in Pinellas - Main Contact Information - Phone Available 24 hrs/day

Florida Department of Health, School Health Services Program

School health services programs, established by Florida statute, provide various levels of services. The mission of school health services program is to appraise, protect and promote the health of students. Preventive and emergency school-based health services are provided to public school children in grades kindergarten through twelve. Services are provided in accordance with a local School Health Services Plan jointly developed by the county health department, school district and school health advisory committee.

One of the roles of school health in the school is to ensure the health and safety of all students. To accomplish this each school works closely with parents to make sure the health needs of their child is identified and addressed. If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s health needs are being managed contact your school.

Basic School Health Services 

Basic school health services, mandated by the School Health Services Act and other Florida Statutes, are provided to all students in Florida public schools and participating nonpublic schools.

Basic services include:

  1. Health appraisal
  2. Health records review
  3. Nurse assessment
  4. Nutrition assessment
  5. Preventive dental program
  6. Vision, hearing, scoliosis, and growth and development screening (with BMI)
  7. Health counseling
  8. Referral and follow-up of suspected or confirmed health problems
  9. First aid and emergency health services
  10. Referral of students to appropriate health treatment
  11. Consultation with student’s parents or guardian regarding health issues
  12. Follow-up for mandated school entry physical examinations
  13. Follow-up for appropriate grade level immunizations against preventable communicable
  14. diseases
  15. Medication administration
  16. Maintenance of student health records
  17. Meeting emergency health needs in each school.

All schools in Pinellas County are provided basic health services.  The service is provided by both Pinellas County School (PCS) staff and DOH-Pinellas County (FDOH) staff.  DOH-inellas County staff also assists charter schools throughout the county. 

Full School Health Services 

Full Service Schools provide the infrastructure necessary to coordinate and deliver services donated by community partners and participating agencies. This program is authorized by s. 402.3026, F.S. and focuses on underserved students in poor, high risk communities needing access to medical and social services, as identified through local county agency demographics. The full-service schools integrate the services of the Department of Health that are critical to the continuity-of-care process. The department provides services to students on the school grounds. These schools provide all basic school health services, in addition to a range of locally available medical and specialized social services, as an extension of the educational environment.

Services include:

  1. nutritional services,
  2. medical services,
  3. aid to dependent children,
  4. parenting skills,
  5. counseling for abused children,
  6. counseling for children at high risk for delinquent behavior and their parents,
  7. education for the students’ parents or guardians.

The effectiveness of this program has been enhanced by the co-location of services for children and their families.  Pinellas County School staff provides services to Full Service Schools in Pinellas County through utilizing LPNs that are overseen by RNs. 

Comprehensive School Health Services  

Comprehensive services are intended to provide more in-depth health management through the increased use of school health staff to promote student health, decrease student risk-taking behavior, and reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy at locally designated comprehensive schools.

The program includes a multidisciplinary team composed of a psychologist, social worker, and nurse whose responsibilities are to provide basic support services and to assist, in the school setting, children who exhibit mild to severely complex health, behavioral, or learning problems affecting their school performance.

Effective preventive services are aimed at delaying:

  1. early sexual involvement:
  2. aimed at pregnancy,
  3. acquired immune deficiency syndrome,
  4. sexually transmitted diseases, and
  5. Destructive lifestyle conditions, such as alcohol and drug abuse.

 Each team provides student support services to an elementary school, middle school, and high school that are a part of one feeder school system and coordinates all activities with the school administrator and guidance counselor at each school. Current schools receiving Comprehensive School Health Services are Gulfport Elementary School, John Hopkins Middle School, Lakewood High School, Tarpon Springs Elementary School, Tarpon Springs Middle School and Tarpon Springs High School.

Program services include:

1. Planning, implementing, and evaluating school health services. Staffing shall include a full-time, trained school health aide in each elementary, middle, and high school; one full-time nurse to supervise the aides in the elementary and middle schools; and one full-time nurse in each high school.

2. Providing student health appraisals and identification of actual or potential health problems by screenings, nursing assessments, and record reviews.

3. Expanding screening activities.

4. Improving the student utilization of school health services.

5. Coordinating health services for students with parents or guardians and other agencies in the community.

DOH-Pinellas County staff provides services to Comprehensive Service Schools in Pinellas County through utilizing CNAs that are overseen by RNs.  The schools that receive this service are: Tarpon Springs Elementary School, Tarpon Springs Middle School, Tarpon Springs High School, Gulfport Elementary School, John Hopkins Middle School and Lakewood High School.

Examinations and Screenings 

Florida Statute 1003.22 requires any child who is entering a Florida school for the first time to present proof of a physical examination. This exam must include a review of all body systems and be performed by a licensed medical provider within 12 months prior to enrollment. A yearly physical examination and twice yearly dental visits are recommended for all children.

Screenings Your Child Will Get at School:

  • Vision: grades K, 1, 3 and 6
  • Hearing: grades K, 1 and 6
  • Height and Weight and Body Mass Index: grades 1,3 and 6
  • Scoliosis: grade 6

Additional Screening Information: 

• Parents may request in writing any screening at any grade level.

• Any parent who desires to opt their child out of a screening must do so in writing up to the day of the screening. The opt out request must contain the student’s name, grade and the screening(s) you do not want performed.

If your child's vision, BMI, hearing or scoliosis screening results are outside normal limits, you will receive a letter with information and/or follow-up instructions/resources. The screening and follow-up results will be noted in your child's health records.

Medications at School 

When possible, give medications at home. School personnel will administer approved medications to students during the school day when it is necessary to help them stay in school. In order to administer medications or treatments to your child at the school the following conditions must be met:

1) A Medication/Treatment Authorization Form must be on file at school as required by law for any medications to be administered in school (including over the counter medications).
2) Medication must be in the original prescription or unopened over-the-counter container labeled with the child’s name, medication name, dosage and specific time(s) to be administered.
3) Parent/guardian must deliver the signed Medication/Treatment Authorization form and medication directly to the school so that medications can be accepted and counted.

If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s health needs are being managed contact your school.

Healthy CHildren Learn Better. School nurses make it happen