Like other states, Florida has specific requirements for initial enrollment in public school. These include up-to-date immunization records and a physical performed by a qualified healthcare provider. Read more to find out if your child is ready to begin school next term, and what you can expect during a routine school physical.
School Physicals in Florida
A physical is required for each student entering the public school system for the first time in Florida. This means all kindergartners (or pre K, if attending) will need a physical, as will students transferring to a Florida school from out of state. Physicals must be within 365 days of the start of the school year. In some cases, a physical from an out of state doctor that falls within this timeline may be acceptable as well.
What To Expect During a School Physical
When you schedule your child’s appointment, specify that you would like a “school entry physical exam.” This will let the provider know what needs to be checked and documented for your student to attend school. Florida has a standardized health exam form that may be used by your provider to document the appropriate screenings (although this is not always the case).
During the exam, nursing staff will likely take your child’s blood pressure and temperature. They may also record your child’s height, weight, and pulse. The provider performing the physical will then evaluate your child’s hearing, vision, and speech. He or she may test coordination by asking your child to stand on one foot or the other. He or she will also do a non-invasive physical exam, which typically involves:
- Listening to the heart and lungs
- Pressing on the abdomen
- Checking the ears, throat and nose with an otoscope
- Feeling the throat
- Checking for evidence scoliosis
- Skin assessment
- Dental assessment
You can expect a relatively quick visit, unless you have more questions. Your child will also receive any missing or out of date vaccinations needed to meet school requirements (see below).
Florida Public School Immunization Requirements
Parents of students just starting school (preK or kindergarteners) or transferring to a Florida public school from an out of state school will be required to provide current shot records prior to admission. Currently, the state of Florida requires proof of the following immunizations to attend public school:
- 4-5 doses of IPV (Polio vaccine)
- 4-5 doses of DTap (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough)
- 2 doses of varicella* (chicken pox)
- 2 does of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- 3 doses of Hepatitis B
- 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough)
7th graders will also be required to receive an additional dose of Tdap prior to starting their school year.
Currently, influenza and COVID booster shots are not required, although they are highly recommended.
How Are Immunizations Documented in Florida?
Your healthcare provider will need to fill out form DH 680 once immunizations are deemed up to date. This is the Florida Certificate of Immunization, and it can only be completed by a licensed healthcare professional. Your provider can then print a copy of this form for you to give to the school your child will be attending.
If you are transferring to a Florida school from out of state, be sure to obtain a copy of your child’s current vaccinations as reported under your previous state’s immunizations database. Your new healthcare provider can update your child’s record in the Florida vaccinations database and print a copy of the form for you.
Can a Child Attend Florida Public School Without Vaccinations?
In general, no. In accordance with Florida’s legal statutes, all children attending public schools are required to have the above listed immunizations prior to admission. Parents may, however, request a religious exemption by having their county health department fill out Form DH 681, which they can then give to the school in place of the DH 680 Certificate of Immunization.
School Physicals in Destin, Florida
If your child is still in need of a physical prior to beginning school in Florida next year, contact the Crane Center to schedule an appointment with our board certified family physician, Dr. Tuel. Dr. Tuel is qualified to complete school entry physicals; however, your child will be referred to another provider for any necessary vaccinations.
The Crane Center offers fast and flexible scheduling to accommodate your needs. Call or go online today to get started.