The amendment to Virginia Code §22.1-273 - Vision and hearing of student to be tested - proposed through HB 1408 passed overwhelmingly through both the House and Senate. Virginia Code §22.1-273 had not been addressed in 20 years and advancements in technology left the Code outdated, ineffective, and therefore expensive. The new language is permissive, in that it clearly enables schools to provide enhanced vision programming.
The video to the left is intended for the administration and health staff in Virginia's public schools, all of whom are affected by this legislative progress. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact us.
"Instead of a child being out of the classroom for 15-20 minutes while I screen them the whole class was screened in that amount of time. The results were far more accurate and caught diagnoses that I would not have caught. The parents respond better also. The area doctors liked the reports and were impressed with the accuracy.”
~VA School Nurse
~VA School Nurse
HB1408 Impact & Importance
The proposed amendment to the current code brings screening protocols up to date and has features to help insure referred students receive the recommended follow-up care. The changes allow for consistency in services for all schools across the Commonwealth and implement sophisticated data tracking and reporting features, which are important in identifying trends in communities where poor health indicators such as vision are impacting educational outcomes.
Over six years VisioCheck programming has identified an epidemic in our urban communities where undiagnosed vision problems are more prevalent and low income children and children of color are disproportionately affected. Many schools and communities have vision referrals well over the national 25% average, some as high as 33%.
Good Vision is a critical component to success in school
Vision problems in children are prevalent
1 in 4 children has a vision problem significant enough to impact learning. That number is as high as 1 in 3 in more economically challenged communities.
Current Virginia mandates are outdated and ineffective
Impact of HB1408
80% of what a child learns in school is through vision, making good vision a critical component to school success. Implementing measures to improve vision outcomes for students will create significant savings in Virginia’s education budget, specifically in costs associated with re-education, under-performance and remediation.
The Department of Education is currently expending funds to provide an outdated and therefore ineffective vision assessment with no required outcome measures, which not only wastes the expense of current delivery, but contributes to the significant costs of school underperformance.
*SmartBeginnings 2016 School Readiness Report Card
$11,000 average annual cost per student to educate in VA Public Schools
SmartBeginnings estimates the cost of failed SOL at $672 per student
School Nurse Survey
Conexus' VisioCheck program meets the requirements set forth in the proposed amendment as a qualified comprehensive vision program. School nurses in the 22 school divisions receiving the program in the fall of 2016 were surveyed in regards to program outcomes and the proposed legislation. Please note the overwhelmingly positive feedback as shown below: