Scoliosis Screening Procedures


Florida statute 381.0056 requires that scoliosis screening be done on 6th grade students. To facilitate this requirement the principal assigns an administrator the responsibility of coordinating screening and notifies Coordinated Student Health Services. The role of the school coordinator is to implement the following procedures:

  1. Confirm screening date. Set up the schedule to run through periods like English or Math, so that grades can be kept separate.
  2. Notify parents, in writing, of the screening date. Parents need to know that they have the option to decline their child’s participation in the health screening. This can be done through a variety of ways: school newspaper, fliers, letters, etc. Written parent permission is not required. However, if a parent does not want his/her child to participate in the screening, he/she must send a written note prior to the screening to the school coordinator stating this fact. Parents who wish to OPT-OUT should complete the OPT-OUT form(Spanish)(Haitian Creole)(Portuguese) and return to his/her child’s school. Parents should contact the school if they have any questions. The OPT-OUT letter must be placed in the respective student’s cumulative health folder. A list of students to be screened should be given to the screening team on the day of the screening by the school staff.
  3. Notify teachers of screening date so that they can plan appropriately. Teachers should accompany their class through screening. The coordinator must provide a teacher for each section, male and female.
  4. Scoliosis screening, as outlined by the Florida Orthopedic Society, consists of observing students in two positions: upright to observe the shoulders, scapula and hips and bending over to observe the symmetry of the spine and protrusions of the rib cage. Poor posture, long hair and badly fitting clothes may give the appearance of or disguise scoliosis. Students are separated by sex and individually screened by health professionals. The students are to wear all garments at all times. The students are NOT required to remove upper garments.
  5. Design a method to send all students through the screening area on a prearranged date in alphabetical order by grade.
  6. The scoliosis video should be shown to students prior to the screening. A video has been supplied to each school’s media center. Students should also receive a scoliosis information sheet from the school.  Note:  Material appropriate for students, staff and volunteers is supplied annually to each designated coordinator.
  7. Advise students ahead of time to wear appropriate attire for screening. Girls should wear a bra or open-back swimsuit.
  8. Have a prearranged area prepared for screening that is large enough to accommodate screening. The boys and girls locker room is the ideal setting, as separate areas are required for both. Each area will need a table and two chairs. Masking tape to mark the foot line is helpful. Please do not have students dress out for P.E. that day if locker rooms are used.
  9. There needs to be enough room in the screening area to line up the students with a designated entrance and exit. Enough staff should be available to control lines. Parents and volunteers are very helpful in this area. However, it is important that a school-based staff member be present to maintain discipline and order. At least two staff members or volunteers should be available for the entire day to assist with clerical support.
  10. Please furnish two alphabetical SID lists to the screening team on the day of the screening with excused students’ names highlighted. Screeners need to know the students who are legitimately excused and absent that day. Once students are screened, the SID lists will be flagged in pink for any student referred for follow-up screening. These lists will be returned to the school’s scoliosis coordinator so that school records can be documented.
  11. Each student’s permanent health folder should be stamped and dated by the registrar on the outside of his/her folder that he/she has been screened for scoliosis. Florida statute requires that each middle school student be screened annually and that their folders be documented to that effect. Copies of all health referrals should be placed in the student’s permanent health folder.
  12. The dates and results of the health screening are to be given to the DPC to enter onto the TERMS panel.
  13. Scoliosis screeners will give a list of the students who failed the screening, along with the completed Student Scoliosis Screening Forms, to the designated school health personnel.
  14. Remember that the scoliosis screening is not a diagnosis. Students having definite signs of scoliosis will be referred by the designated school health personnel (HST/RN, Nurse, On-Call Nurse) for medical evaluation.
  15. The designated school health personnel will complete the referral letter and attach a copy of the scoliosis screening results form and give to the school’s scoliosis coordinator who will arrange for information to be sent to the parent.
  16. The designated school health personnel will complete and maintain the Scoliosis Referral Follow-up Log to track the complete (T) and incomplete referrals (N).
  17. If there is no response from the parent after the letter has been sent, and the follow-up call made, the referral will be considered incomplete (N).
  18. The designated school health personnel will inform the school DPC of the status of the referral for failed screening (complete or incomplete).


Scoliosis Guidelines Quick Reference