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AGENCY WORKS TO ENSURE KIDS ARE `FIT’ TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL

SHARE AGENCY WORKS TO ENSURE KIDS ARE `FIT’ TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL

Getting a family of kids ready to go back to school in September is hectic. Getting all of the kids in the county back in school is downright frantic.

Mary Meredith, head of the Davis County Health Department's nursing division, said September is always busy as her staff checks health and immunization records of students, gives physical exams, does eye checks and generally copes with the flood of students going back to school.And all of it is done in addition to the department's regular schedule of clinic work and immunizations, Meredith told the county health board this week.

"No one on my staff goes on vacation in September," Meredith said. "If someone calls in sick, it's a major crisis."

There is a more urgent tone to this year's activities after an outbreak of measles last spring showed how vulnerable the school-age population is. More than 100 cases of measles were eventually diagnosed before the outbreak was stemmed.

The September crunch is eased somewhat because eight elementary schools are on year-round calendars now, with two or three more converting in the future, Meredith said. But that easing is partially offset by the district's rapidly growing student population.

Meredith described her staff's September activities:

- Starting, updating and transcribing health files on 4,700 kindergarteners.

- Between 175 and 200 physical exams for Head Start students.

- Amblyopia or "lazy eye" vision tests on 6,600 students between the ages of 3 and 6.

- TB skin tests on 250 new school employees and between 250 and 300 new students.

- Regularly scheduled immunization clinics that handled 400 to 500 clients a week.