Frequent Questions

  1. Our screening team is busy in the fall doing vision and hearing and typically do spinal in the spring.  I saw the fall semester listed for the grade levels...does this have wiggle room?  We try to do spinal in January and February of the spring semester, but can adjust if that is the new rule.

    If you choose not to screen in the Fall semester (by end of December), you will need to screen your students at the required age.

  2. For the upcoming school year, do we still have to screen at the required age or grade level in the fall even if the child was screened the year prior?

    Yes. With the new age requirements, the child will need to be screened at the appropriate age or during the fall semester of the appropriate grade level.

  3. I wanted to be sure I read the new update regarding spinal screening correctly. I am able to screen girls in the fall of their 5th grade year? Also, there may be girls that turn 10 before entering 5th grade, even though the new update states 10 years I am able to wait until the girls enter the 5th grade?

    Yes. Your district has 2 options:
        • Screen by age or 
        • Screen by specified grade level in the fall.

  4. If I am reading this correctly, we should now be doing a mass spinal screening for all 5th and 7th grade girls during the fall semester—even if the student is not age 10 or 12 at the time of the screening—since those are the identified semesters that MOST students are the appropriate age, correct?  

    Yes. Girls will be screened two times, once at age 10 (or fall semester of grade 5) and again at age 12 (or fall semester of grade 7).  The additional option of the fall semesters of grades 5 and 7 for girls (and fall of grade 8 for boys) has been added to provide additional flexibility for a school-based setting while still closely following the professionally-recommended ages, understanding that some students will not be the exact age at that time during the school year.  Remember, however, that any students who fall significantly outside the recommended ages due to grade level promotion or retention should be screened at the appropriate age.

  5. What about students whose ages do not align closely with the identified grade levels?

    It is incumbent on schools to identify outliers (i.e., students promoted to higher grades or held back) and ensure their screenings align with appropriate ages rather than grades.

  6. What determines whether we screen 13 or 14-year-old boys? Do we just pick an age? 

    Yes, the school or district can pick, so long as the student falls within one of the allowed categories of age or grade.  The school has the flexibility to screen boys at age 13 or 14, or in the fall of grade 8.  

  7. If a boy enrolls at age 15 or above with no history of spinal screening, should he be screened?

    A screening will not be required.

  8. Current professional recommendations encourage screening be performed in a medical home. Can schools encourage or require children to get screened at their doctor’s office or by another qualified individual outside the school? 

    Schools may encourage, but they cannot require students to be screened in the medical home.  

  9. Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 37, requires school administrations to comply with the screening requirement. This means the school must ensure the child is screened for spinal abnormalities by a certified screener in the school or by a qualified individual outside the school.

    Schools can obtain documentation from parents that spinal screening has been performed by a professional at the appropriate age or fall semester of appropriate grade level. This may reduce the number of students who need to be screened and prevent unnecessary additional screening.

    School administrators may obtain an affidavit documenting that: 
       • The spinal screening will be performed by a qualified individual outside the school. (School administrators
          should obtain further documentation that the spinal screening was performed within 60 days of receiving
          this affidavit.) or  
       • The spinal screening is being declined based on religious tenets.

  10. If a child is admitted within 60 days before the end of the current school year, can we wait to screen them in the first 120 days of the next school year?

    If the student will still be the appropriate age or entering the appropriate grade level during the first 120 days of the following school year, then the screening may be postponed until that time.

  11. Can nursing students be trained to help school nurses conduct spinal screening?  

    Vision, hearing and spinal screeners must have a GED or High School Diploma to qualify to become a certified DSHS screener. Nursing students who meet the qualification criteria, and become certified, may help school nurses conduct spinal screenings. 

  12. Will the Child Health Reporting System be updated to reflect the changes to the required ages or fall screenings?

    The reporting system will be updated to reflect reporting requirements. We are currently working to make system reporting updates and will provide updates to the schools as they develop. 

Last updated September 26, 2018