School Entry Health Requirements
California Education Code requires that students have a general HEALTH EXAM and DENTAL EXAM upon entering school.
The School Entry Health Exam is intended to detect problems that may interfere with effective learning. Early identification and treatment are important because an undetected health problem can hamper your child's progress in school.
California Law requires that the Health Examination for School Entry be completed sometime between 18 months before entering first grade and 3 months after entering into first grade.
Nea collects the Report of Health Examination for School Entry form as part of the kindergarten enrollment process along with required vaccination records. School health exam requirements are specified in the California Health and Safety Code: California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 432.
Your child's health exam should include:
- Health and developmental history
- Unclothed, complete physical examination
- Oral health assessment
- Nutrition assessment
- Vaccinations, appropriate for age
- Vision screening
- Hearing screening
- Screening for anemia, lead, urine abnormalities, tuberculosis, etc.
- Health education and anticipatory guidance
Who should do the exam and complete the form:
The health assessment must be performed by a health care provider licensed in the State of California, such as:
- A licensed physician or physician's assistant
- A certified pediatric/family nurse practitioner
- Your family's usual source of medical care, such as a private doctor, a community clinic, health department clinics, HMOs, military facilities, etc.
No-cost health exams are available to eligible children through the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) program. The CHDP program assists families in meeting the school entry health exam requirement by linking families with local CHDP providers for health assessments.
If you do not want or cannot obtain a health exam for your child, a waiver (signed by a legal guardian) is acceptable. However, this is strongly discouraged. The waiver is primarily intended to be used for reasons of deeply held personal beliefs, not as a matter of convenience.
To ensure that they are ready for school, California law requires that your child have an oral health assessment (dental check-up). This assessment must be done by dentist or other dental health professional licensed in the State of California.
California Law requires that the Oral Health Assessment for School Entry by May 31 of the kindergarten year, or within 12 months before your child starts school. (If you cannot fulfill this requirement, please indicate the reason in Section 3 of the form).
Nea collects the Oral Health Assessment/Waiver Request form as part of the kindergarten enrollment process. Your child is not healthy and ready for school if they have poor dental health.
Resources to help complete this requirement:
- To locate a Denti-Cal dentist, call Medi-Cal/Denti-Cal’s toll-free number (800-322-6384) or use the Medi-Cal Provider Directory for Dental Program Providers.
- To enroll your child in Medi-Cal/Denti-Cal, go to this online resource for California benefits.
- For additional resources, contact your California County Public Health Department.
- Baby teeth are very important. They are not just teeth that will fall out.
- Children need their teeth to eat properly, talk, smile, and feel good about themselves.
- Children with cavities may have difficulty eating and have problems paying attention and learning at school.
- Tooth decay is an infection that does not heal and can be painful if left without treatment.
- If cavities are not treated, children can become sick enough to require emergency room treatment, and their adult teeth may be permanently damaged.
Follow this advice to help your family stay healthy:
- Take your child to the dentist twice a year.
- Choose healthy foods for the entire family--fresh foods are the healthiest foods!
- Brush teeth at least twice daily with toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Limit candy and sweet drinks, like punch, soda or soft drinks, and even fruit juice! Sweet drinks and candy contain lots of sugar which causes cavities and replaces important nutrients in your child’s diet. Sweet drinks and candy also contribute to weight problems which lead to diseases like diabetes. The less candy and sweet drinks, the better!
Many things influence a child’s progress and success in school, including health. Children must be healthy to learn, and children with cavities are not healthy. Cavities are preventable, but they affect more children than any other chronic disease.