School Physicals

To be enrolled into Okaloosa County and Santa Rosa County schools, it is mandatory that your child have a medical examination, also known as a school physical. These physicals help to make sure the school staff is aware of any type of physical deficiency the child may have so they can better serve the child’s needs.

These school physicals are non-invasive and simply consist of a general medical evaluation including vital signs, growth and development, brief vision and hearing screening, checking for scoliosis, and other outwardly visible issues. Nothing is done to the child that will cause pain or psychological distress. If any findings from the school physical are a cause for concern, your child may be referred to a specialist or additional screening or treatment options will be discussed. School physicals are covered by almost all health insurance plans. If you are uninsured, the physicals can be paid for by cash or credit card and the rates are very affordable.

school-physical-fort-waltonBelow are some frequently asked questions about school physicals:

Who needs a school physical?
The state of Florida requires all children entering a Florida school to have a physical examination by a licensed healthcare provider, regardless of the child’s age. The physical must be performed within the previous 12 months of enrollment.

Where can my child get a school physical?
Gulf Coast Immediate Care offers school physicals by licensed healthcare professionals. We are conveniently located on Highway 98 in Fort Walton Beach across from Liza Jackson Park. Our clinic is easily accessible for Fort Walton Beach, Navarre, Gulf Breeze, and Hurlburt Field residents.

What will be evaluated during my child’s school physical?
You and your child will be asked some basic questions regarding your child’s habits, development, and medical history. The healthcare provider will also perform a brief evaluation for vision, hearing, and dental abnormalities. Additionally, baseline vital signs will be obtained as well as a brief physical exam of the head, chest, abdomen, and limbs. You can view the actual school physical form to get a better idea of exactly what will be evaluated.

How often does my child need a school physical?
The state of Florida only requires school physicals for the initial enrollment into a Florida school; however, we recommend that your child receive well checks annually, even if your child appears completely healthy. Our doctors and physician assistants are well-trained in recognizing growth and development issues that might be subtle in the early years.

When is the best time to get a school physical?
Of course, the weeks preceding the start of school will be the busiest time to get a physical; however, at Gulf Coast Immediate Care, we don’t require appointments. We accept walk-ins at the time that is convenient for you and your child. Because your child’s physical can be performed up to 12 months prior to enrollment, you can set the time that is most convenient for you and avoid the longer waits that occur during the several weeks before the new school year begins.

My child had a health screening at Preschool. Does he/she still need a school physical?
Yes, the health screenings performed at preschools and VPK’s are just basic vision screenings and aren’t sufficient to meet the requirements of a school physical.

What do I have to give the school to prove my child had a physical?
Your healthcare provider will give you a signed physical examination form after your child’s physical has been performed. Your school requires this original completed and signed physical form. We suggest that you keep a copy of the physical form for your records.

My child wants to play sports. Is this school physical form sufficient for a sports physical?
No a school physical is not the same thing as a sports physical. A sports physical is a more detailed evaluation of the child to ensure he or she doesn’t have any type of physical ailments that would be potentially dangerous to participate in school sports. Sports physicals are only valid for 12 months from the date of evaluation. Sports physicals must be performed each year in order for your child to participate in any school sports, including football, soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, swimming, cheerleading, dance team, marching band, cross country, track & field, golf, weightlifting, and wrestling. If your child needs a sports physical, make sure and let us know when making your appointment or at the time of your walk-in registration.
For more information about school physicals, give Gulf Coast Immediate Care a call at 850-244-3211 or stop by our office at 345 Miracle Strip Pkwy in Fort Walton Beach, FL.