"If there's a low grade fever going on or something they could have immediate access," say Mark Barlass, Joplin School Assitant Director of Special Services.
The possibility of free on-site student health care at Joplin High School or any other R-8 school is in the beginning stages of research."It was a pretty cool idea. I mean, as we go into this new high school we're looking at this new career path. A once again, this career path is health and this health clinic would be a wonderful opportunity for our school, our district, and our kids," says Randy Steele, Joplin School Board President.
A Health Advisory Committee met for the first time in January and went to St. Louis to visit a high school with the program already in place. Committee members say after viewing that school, the program could be a good opportunity for Joplin. "We know just from exploratory and information we have on needs assessment that health care services and students receiving health care in Joplin, at times, can be limited," says Barlass.
Types of services offered at the center other than primary care are still not decided, so school board members have given the "okay" for the Committee to continue their research and come up with more details. "A consensus to the fact that we wanted more research. There's not a lot of schools involved in it right now. So we only know there's a couple schools out there that's done a pilot program," says Steele.
The only detail known right now is a full-time nurse practitioner would be on-site to keep students healthy and in school. According to Barlass, "There's a turn around or an increase in attendance because students have better health that have better access to health services needed and you know a healthy school is a healthy attendance."
Health advisory committee members say the health center could be possible at no cost to the school district. Instead, a contract for a private health agency would rent the space to offer their services. Committee members say they already have three undisclosed local health facilities interested in the program. The committee will discuss this more at a meeting on tuesday morning.