School-Based Health Programs Serve Students Through the Pandemic and Beyond
Finding creative approaches to ensure the overall wellness of students and families was a top priority for FamilyCare’s school-based health (SBH) providers throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Despite the many challenges we’ve faced the past 18 months, our SBH programs continued to grow and stretch: both to meet our community’s most pressing needs and to offer preventative care—including medical, behavioral health, and dental services—so that, in or out of the classroom, our students were at their best.
While schools were shut down due to the pandemic, our SBH providers reached out to students to coordinate telehealth visits in addition to helping implement COVID-19 testing, diagnosis, and vaccination clinics within schools and communities. Our therapy staff also rose to the occasion to address the increased psychosocial and emotional needs of our students and families as they grappled with the unforeseen stresses of the pandemic.
Recently, a mobile unit was purchased to expand our SBH services into the St. Albans school district of Kanawha County, which we plan to launch in the fall of 2021. The new mobile unit will offer medical and behavioral health services, and we’re actively looking to add a mobile dental unit as well.
“We’ve already had a great experience working with these schools collaboratively—for instance, offering a free sports physical clinic at McKinley Middle School for athletes’ participation in the 2021-22 school year,” said Dawn Grigsby, FamilyCare’s SBH Coordinator. “We look forward to caring for the students in the schools in the St. Albans community!”
At FamilyCare, we truly believe that healthy kids learn better. By collaborating with our schools’ administrative staff and nurses, we will continue to ensure that every student in the schools we serve has access to the highest quality, whole-person care.
Currently, FamilyCare has four school-based health centers and two mobile units that service elementary, middle, and high schools across Kanawha, Putnam and Boone Counties, with plans for expansion in the near future.