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School Health Services


Spinal Screening

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Spinal Screening Program was established by the Texas Legislature to detect abnormal spinal curvature in students.  School-based spinal screening helps to identify adolescents with abnormal spinal curves and refer them for appropriate follow-up by their primary care physician. Screening can detect scoliosis at an early stage, when the curve is mild and may go unnoticed. Early detection is key to controlling spinal deformities. 

The Spinal Screening Policy has been reviewed and updated regarding ages and grades to be screened for the 2018-2019 school year. In compliance with Health and Safety Code, Chapter 37, all children shall undergo screening for abnormal spinal curvature in accordance with the following schedule:

•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).
•Boys will be screened one time at age 13 or 14 (or fall semester of grade 8).

It is incumbent on schools to identify outliers (i.e., children promoted to higher grades or held back) and ensure their screenings align with appropriate ages rather than grades.
ESC-20 offers spinal certification classes throughout the year. Register in Connect20.


Vision and Hearing Screening

The Vision and Hearing Screening Program, Texas Health and Safety Code requires that all children enrolled for the first time in any public, private, parochial, or denominational school or in a Department of Family and Protective Services licensed child-care center and licensed child care home in Texas, or who meet certain grade criteria (specified below), must be screened or have a professional examination for possible vision and hearing problems.
  • 4-years-old by September 1st
  • Kindergartners
  • Any other first-time entrants
  • (4 years* through 12th grade) must be screened within 120 days of admission
  • 1st-, 3rd-, 5th- and 7th--graders must be screened anytime within the school year (preferably within first semester)
Health Services Region 8 Vision and Hearing Program Manager:
Elijah Brown, MPH
Vision, Hearing and Spinal Screening Program
Department of State Health Services
Phone: (512) 776-6442
ESC-20 offers vision certification, hearing certification, and vision/hearing recertification classes throughout the year. Register in Connect20.

Acanthosis Nigricans

(Risk Assessment for Type II Diabetes)
Texas Risk Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children (Acanthosis Nigricans) An online certification training program to perform the Acanthosis Nigricans Screening is available through the University of Texas – Pan American website at the following web link. Information on screening requirements and data submission is also available on the Texas Risk Assessment for Type 2 Diabetes in Children website.

UDCA Training

Guidelines for Training School Employees Who Are Not Licensed Healthcare Professionals
House Bill (HB) 984, 79[R], relates to the care of students with diabetes in schools. The bill mandates that principals identify unlicensed personnel to assist with caring for students during the regular school day or while participating in a school activity. The bill also mandates that the Texas Diabetes Council (TDC) develop guidelines for training school personnel to be diabetes care assistants.
 Guidelines for Training School Employees who are not Licensed Healthcare Professionals to implement House Bill 984 (79th Legislature) related to the Care of Elementary and Secondary School Students with diabetes.
 Frequently Asked Questions related to implementing House Bill (HB) 984.
ESC-20 offers UDCA training in September and January of each year. Register in Connect20.

Bloodborne Pathogen Control

As a result of legislation passed in 1999, Texas public school districts are required to implement bloodborne pathogen exposure control plans. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) School Health Program compiled information and resources to assist public school districts in adapting policies to ensure compliance with Title 25, Part 1, Chapter 96 (Bloodborne Pathogen Control) of the Texas Administrative Code (§§96.101, 96.201-96.203, 96.301-96.304, 96.401-96.402, 96.501, 96.601) and Chapter 81 of the Health & Safety code (§§ 81.301- 81.306).