Student Support Services

Memo: School Health Examinations in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

Date:       December 17, 2020
To:           BOCES District Superintendents, Superintendents of Public School Districts, Principals of Public Schools, Charter School Leaders
From:       Kathleen R. DeCataldo
Subject:   School Health Examinations in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

In the May 21, 2020 New York State Education Department memo School Health Examinations in Light of COVID-19 Pandemicpdf icon, the Department asked schools to continue to accept any physical examination form from students for physicals conducted on or before January 30, 2021, regardless of the form used; allowed parents/guardians additional time to obtain a health exam for school attendance, and allowed students to participate in fall interscholastic athletics if they met the requirements in the memo. In light of the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department is again extending the requirements for a health exam for school attendance and participation in interscholastic athletics. Schools should:

  • Allow additional time for parents/guardians to obtain a health examination from a
    private healthcare provider before scheduling an appraisal with the director of school health services (medical director) if private healthcare providers are unavailable due to the COVID crisis. We encourage schools not to schedule grade level health appraisals with their medical director until April 2021, although that may change depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring; and
  • Permit student athletes to participate in the 2020-2021 sports seasons if they have previously had a health examination for school attendance in the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 school years and provide a current health history completed and signed by their parent/guardian within 30 days of the start of the season, unless a current health examination is deemed necessary by the school district’s director of school health services (medical director). Schools should use the revised Interval Health History for Athleticspdf icon form which includes questions on COVID-19. The Department will provide updated information as needed.

Please note - Beginning January 31, 2021 physical examinations for school are to be documented on the NYS Required Health Examination Formpdf icon or an electronic health record equivalent form. The Instructions for Completion of New York State School Health Examination Formpdf icon provides direction to healthcare providers on the details of the required components and the required presentation order of those components for an electronic health record form to be an equivalent form. Both of these documents are available on NYSED's School Health Services Webpage.

Please contact the Office of Student Support Services if you have questions by email at or at 518-486-6090.

Last Updated: December 17, 2020