At the end of September, Holliston High School conducted its annual health screenings for freshmen and sophomores to inform students of their current physical health
The screenings took place over the course of two days and were conducted by school nurse Ms. Erica Olson, and a few other assisting nurses.
“Screenings are conducted in school in order to detect possible early signs of spinal problems, vision and hearing difficulties, and monitor growth and development,” said Ms. Olson.
Freshmen get tested for scoliosis, while sophomores complete the vision and hearing tests.
Ms. Olson explained that screenings are important especially during middle school and high school because at this time, students are changing and it is vital to check their progress.
Sophomore Austin Chang said, “I didn’t like the test because it made me realize how bad my eyes are and how I can’t see stuff [but] I thought that the screenings were a good way to inform me of my current health.”
The screenings take place in the first half of the school day, during the first two periods and DSB.
Although the events are highly important and informative, some students dislike the fact that it took place during some of their classes.
I felt like I “missed out on some valuable class time,” said Chang.
Ms. Olson said that there isn’t a time that works for every single student in the school and that it would be difficult to consider everyone’s needs. She said that since the screenings only take about five to ten minutes per person, students shouldn’t miss very much class time.
Despite the timing conflicts, the screenings are important because they help ensure students don’t have any obstacles health-wise to reach academic success.
Freshman Isabela Rahim said the screenings were “a waste of time” and “pointless because you are going to get checked at your physical anyway.”
According to the mass.gov website, students are required to be examined by their pediatrician at least once every three to four years; if the student is involved in sports, physicals must be administered annually.
Ms. Olson said, “there is a critical relationship between vision and hearing quality and the ability to learn. The height and weight measurements allow me to monitor students’ growth and development patterns,” which can change during the course of three to four years.
Ms. Olson also included that these school screenings are required by the state of Massachusetts.
She also thinks that “this is a good way for students themselves to know [every detail] about their health and not just their parents [and/or doctors].”
Unlike Chang and Rahim, Junior Abinaya Gargy did not get tested for anything and was “confused with the different processes.”
She said, “if they think it’s so necessary for students to get health screenings, why are juniors and seniors exempt from it?”
Chang has the same view. He thinks that upperclassman “should get tested too since every student is growing and all need to keep track of their health. Eleventh and 12th graders need to keep track of their health just as much as 9th and 10th graders do.”
Ms. Olson said that the school decided to check only the required grades in the interest of being cost-effective and efficient.
Not only is Ms. Olson only concerned about the health screenings, but also about the students’ overall health.
She encourages students to get a good night sleep, eat nutritionally, shoot for 60 min/day of physical activity, and frequently wash their hands in order to remain in good health.
She even added, “I would love it if students would start using their lockers and not carry around such heavy backpacks. The weight of the backpacks is a lot for young, growing spines.”
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