School-based health clinics coming to PCPS, RCS

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 4:07 PM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Giles County High School is setting the standard for school-based health care in the New River Valley, but soon that model will be added in Pulaski County and Radford City Schools.

“Improving their health is really going to improve their overall well-being and allow them to go to school and learn and be effective class members,” Dr. Megan Thomas said.

She’s seen firsthand the positive impact from bringing health care to the educational setting through the partnership between Giles County Public Schools and the Community Health Center of the New River Valley.

“We have students who, unfortunately due to circumstances, don’t get to go to the doctor as much as they need to,” she said. “We’ve had high schoolers who’ve never had a toothbrush.”

These clinics provide medical and dental care to students and staff members during the school day.

“We’re reducing the need for kids to leave school to miss time, reducing the need for parents to leave work and miss time at work In order for their kids to get the medical care they need,” said Jean Duetsch, a Nurse Practitioner.

After seeing the success in Giles County, Radford City Schools and Pulaski County Public Schools are partnering with the Community Health Center of the NRV.

“I think the pandemic taught us the importance of having accessible health care in our communities and in rural communities that sometimes becomes difficult,” PCPS Superintendent Kevin Siers said.

The health center says serving students in school can create a better educational environment while working to keep students healthy.

“On the day that they don’t feel well, or they have a toothache, or they need to get a vaccine, we’re trying to increase access, but also make it easier for them to attain those services,” said Meagan Arthur, the Community Health Center’s Director of Nursing.

“We just wanted to give families an option to maybe make their life and their day a little easier by having some of the services performed during the school day on site,” Siers said.