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Bill ends required school collection of students’ health screenings

DES MOINES — Republicans in the Senate have approved a bill that would no longer require Iowa schools collect proof that students have been screened for lead poisoning as well as vision and dental problems.

Senator Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, said it gives schools the option of telling parents and health care providers to forward that information to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“Schools are bearing the burden of this paperwork nightmare, a paperwork nightmare that does nothing to support the health and safety and well-being of students,” Sinclair said. “It’s simply paperwork.”

Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, said local schools are better able to track down parents who haven’t had their kids tested.

“The bill removes the requirement for the schools to report to the Department of Public Health the list of kids who are enrolled in kindergarten,” Quirmbach said. “So, under this bill, the Department of Public Health won’t even know who to follow up with.”

Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said schools should collect this information because healthy kids perform better in school.

“I think this bill looks at screening and testing as a transaction,” Mathis said.

Sinclair said she’s baffled by the push back.

“It’s the 21st century, ladies and gentlemen,” Sinclair said. “Why are we having parents shuffle papers to and from providers that ultimately get stuffed in somebody’s drawer and doesn’t really serve the interests of the child anyway?”

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.


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