Due to the pandemic, the majority of school children across NC went nearly 2 years without a basic vision screening. PBNC estimates a backlog of over 400,000 school children who were not screened last year, and who now may have developed new and worsening vision impairment that can impact their learning. During the 2020-21 school years, nurses expressed the challenges the pandemic presented and the ways in which the virtual PBNC Vision Screening Training and continued availability of vouchers impacted their work.
“Our district hired 12 new nurses this year. All of thew new nurses and the district audiologist attended the PBNC Children’s Vision Screening Certification training. We were unable to conduct mass vision screenings because students were in remote learning – with only our elementary schools coming back 5 days a week in April. Because we had the district audiologist trained she was able to complete hearing and vision screening together for EC students that were at home. Our school nurse team was very thankful that she was trained and could help with the vision screenings during home visits.”
-Alamance County School Nurse
“Due to the pandemic this year, we were limited to doing what we could with screenings However, we all were retrained with PBNC’s virtual training this year. The training provides a good refresher on when to refer or not and things to look for that could be issues/problems with visions now or in the future. As always, it’s good to know that we can request a PBNC voucher for students in need. You are a very valuable organization.”
-Stokes County School Nurse
“It has been a real eye opener this year to witness the number of children that had significant vision issues that were not picked up through observations in the classroom or at home. Without the mass vision screenings by PBNC trained screeners to identify and refer our students for care, children can experience months or years of possible lost learning.”
-Lee County School Nurse
PBNC’s Children’s Vision Screening training program partners with schools across the state to screen school-aged children for vision problems that may cause learning and quality of life issues well into the future. The need is greater than ever to catch up on identifying children with possible vision problems early and successfully direct them to treatment. PBNC and schools across the state are motivated to work harder than ever to ensure students receive vital vision health services so that they get back on track to see and learn in the classroom each and every day.