Back to School Physicals More Important Than Ever During the COVID-19 Pandemic

September 10, 2020


Whether your child is remote learning or navigating in-person schooling behind a mask, it’s important that your child is healthy and ready for the school year. Depending on your child’s grade level, their school will still require a back-to-school physical this fall. All students entering early childhood, kindergarten, 6th grade, and 9th grade are required to have a current physical exam completed.


 "It's important to be proactive about your child's health and continue to screen for potential health risks," says Daneen Woodard, M.D., ACCESS Regional Medical Director. "That's why I believe physicals are the best way parents can ensure their child is both physically and emotionally healthy and ready for the upcoming school year."


Even if your child is not required by the school for a physical this year, it is still good practice to bring your child in for an annual wellness exam and physical. This appointment can help your child stay healthy, begin preventive treatments if necessary and promote healthy habits that will follow them throughout their life. And don’t forget to ask for a flu shot. Health experts are already raising concern about this year’s flu season in the midst of this health crisis, and it’s important that every member of your family receive a flu shot this year.


And as this pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, it’s important that we remain vigilant and get tested to stop the spread. COVID-19 testing is especially critical for any students participating in in-person learning. For this reason, ACCESS now offers COVID-19 testing at no cost for anyone over the age of 2.


What happens during a physical?

While this will be different for each child, based on your child’s age and the reason for the physical, many aspects of the exam are the same. Your provider will keep track of your child’s growth and development as well as answer any questions that you or your child may have.


Providers will check your child’s height, weight and blood pressure to make sure they are within normal range. They may also provide tips on nutrition and lifestyle changes if any of these measurements are too high or too low. There will be an examination of your child’s ears, nose, throat and lymph nodes. The medical professional will also take a look at different areas of the body including neck, arms, legs and feet to make sure everything looks healthy and normal. Depending on what grade your child will enter next year, immunizations, blood tests and cholesterol checks may also be required as part of the exam.


How should I prepare for a back-to-school physical

To help put your kids at ease, you should talk to them about what will happen during their visit. This conversation is important, especially for younger children. Talking to your kids about what they can expect will help them feel confident and less anxious. You  should also write down a family medical history to share with your provider, which should include any changes to the child’s health since the last physical and a list of any medications the child is currently taking. As a reminder, due to COVID-19 protocols, we only allow one companion per patient and require every person to wear a mask before entering the health center. If you are unsure or have any questions before the exam, reach out to ACCESS, and we will be happy to answer any questions.


How do I schedule an appointment?

To schedule your child's physical, please call us today at 1.866.267.2353. We offer back-to-school physicals, annual wellness exams, and flu shots at all our 35 Chicagoland locations. Same day appointments available.