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Westside, Children’s Put Student Safety First with Collaborative Pilot Program

Aug 03, 2020 01:11PM ● By Med Magazine

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Westside Community Schools are teaming up to help keep students and families safe and healthy when school resumes. A collaborative pilot program between Children’s pediatric experts and Westside educators has been designed to ensure district schools have a resource in place to quickly identify and treat any child with potential COVID-19 exposure, as well as prevent the spread of the virus in the school.

“As the region’s pediatric health care leader, our team is specially trained and experienced in caring for children and teens—always and especially now in this pandemic,” says Megan Connelly, DNP, APRN-NP, NE-BC, Children’s Vice President of Community Pediatrics & Child Health. “It is our responsibility and privilege to offer our expertise and resources to help students and educators return to school as safely as possible in this new environment.”

“Collaboration puts safety and students first,” says Robert Aranda, Director of Student Services for Westside Community Schools. “Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Westside Community Schools leaders continue to collaborate and build on our valued partnership to support families for the safety of our students. This pilot program will offer our families practical support and some peace of mind.”

The first element of the pilot program is providing education to equip and empower school staff. Children’s pediatric clinicians will provide COVID-19-related education to Westside school health office staff, school nurses and school principals. Staff will learn the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in children and teens, how the virus spreads, how to prevent its transmission, safety measures to implement in order to keep students and staff safe and what actions to take if a student is ill or presents with symptoms.

That leads to the second aspect of the collaboration: ensuring students receive appropriate medical care in an efficient and convenient way. Each Westside school health office will have access to virtual visits with a Children’s Physicians pediatric provider. If a child shows COVID-19 symptoms or has been exposed to COVID-19, the school will contact the parent for permission to set up a virtual visit. The visit will include the child, school health employee, parent and the provider. A link will be sent to the parent’s email address for easy access to the virtual visit. Based on the exam, the provider will determine any next steps, including if an in-person exam is needed, if medication is needed and when the child can return to school. If necessary, this partnership gives students direct access to the region’s largest network of pediatric specialists at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

The program is voluntary and is available to any Westside Community Schools student. Participants do not need to be a Children’s Physicians patient family to participate. Any visit would be submitted through insurance for payment. This is a natural extension of a longtime partnership between Westside and Children’s; Children’s has supported the school district with school nurses for the past 12 years.

“We’re all in this together, navigating unchartered waters. Through this collaboration, we hope to offer resources and guidance to keep learners and teachers safe and healthy at school this fall,” adds Connelly.