As schools begin to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, practices that occurred routinely for decades must be reconsidered and redesigned to prevent the spread of the virus among children and staff, and ultimately, the community. Vision screening is one of many services that meet critical needs of children and is an essential service to eliminate poor vision and eye health problems as a barrier to academic and classroom success. Fortunately, vision screeners can employ strategies to manage the risk of COVID-19 exposure and potential transmission during vision screening. The following new resources and training opportunities are now available to assist school-aged vision screening programs during the pandemic – even while children are not in school.
- Consideration for Home Visit Vision Screening in North Carolina during the Covid-19 Pandemic:
covers appropriate screening approaches during the Covid-19 Pandemic to include vision screening setup, tools, and methods in the home based- setting as well as cleaning and disinfecting eye charts.
- Online Vision Screening Training for School Staff and Volunteers:
School staff and volunteers can participate in virtual training now so that they will be equipped to conduct screenings in school as soon as students return.
- Online Vision Screening Training for Pediatric Primary Care Providers:
While students are not in school, the well-child visit may be the only place a child receives a vision check.
From June 2020 – October 2020, the PBNC Children’s Vision Screening Training and Certification Program has conducted a total of 66 virtual training workshops certifying 1,024 screeners across 60 NC counties. We understand that each community is approaching in-school versus virtual learning differently and that their capacities to participate in training and conduct vision screenings this year may be significantly impacted. As such, our staff is actively surveying and meeting virtually with every school district across NC. This outreach is helping us meet our clients where they are, understand how best to serve schools and other providers with regard to children’s vision health during the Covid-19 pandemic, and plan services accordingly.