Students at six, soon-to-be nine, elementary schools can have a virtual visit with a health care provider right in the school’s health room with the school nurse. When a student has symptoms or an injury that need care or diagnosis beyond what the school nurse can provide, instead of sending the child home for the family to seek care, the student can be seen by a provider within 15 minutes at the school.
How it Works
Students can be seen for a variety of issues to seek a diagnosis or plan for care. Issues include, but are not limited to:
- Sore throats
- Stomach pains
The school nurse determines when an evaluation by a provider is a good option, and with parent consent, schedules a telehealth appointment. The nurse will be with the student on the video call with the provider. Telehealth visits are typically 15 minutes or less and are conducted in the school’s health room. This removes many barriers for families who may not be able to have their child seen by a provider for symptoms or injuries.
- Families have the option to establish care with the provider if their child needs follow up, a prescription or the family has questions. Providers have physical locations in the area of the school.
- To access telehealth care, families and guardians at schools with the program fill out a consent form which allows the school nurse to set up and supervise the visit with the provider. The nurse remains the primary point of contact for the student’s family or caregiver.
- Schools are set up with new technology necessary for a virtual health care visit. Investments have been made to ensure each school with the telehealth program has a computer with a video camera and electronic medical equipment to take vitals and share other necessary information with the provider.
- Telehealth is currently available at the following elementary schools:
- Mullan Road
- Telehealth will soon be available at:
- Schools were selected for the telehealth program based on the volume of students visiting school nurses and whether a school has a full- or part-time nurse. Data on the number of referrals to the emergency department was also considered. The goal is to expand the program district-wide over time.
- Telehealth is covered by most health insurance plans. Insurance information is collected through the registration form. If telehealth is not covered or a student does not have insurance, they can still access services. An insurance navigator is also available to help connect people to insurance.
Q: What information will families receive about the visit?
The school nurse will call the family or guardian to let them know the visit is being scheduled. The nurse will follow up by phone with information from the visit. The provider will send a visit summary via email or as a printed copy in the student’s backpack.
Q: Is health insurance necessary or accepted?
The student’s family will submit any insurance information with their registration and consent form. If they don’t have insurance, their student can still be connected to services. Providers have contracts with all Medicaid managed care organizations. Additionally, navigators are available to help people sign up for insurance, if desired.
Q: Who are the providers?
Doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners from CHAS, Providence, and Unify.
Q: Can a parent or guardian join the telehealth visit remotely or in-person at the school?
Some schools are set up with the ability to join the visit virtually, others are not. At all schools, a parent or guardian is welcome to be in person for the visit.
Q: Will SPS get consent from parents/guardians?
Yes. A consent form will be sent to all families at schools with the program so they can opt-in. If a family does not opt-in ahead of a medical issue at school and then wants to use the program, one of the providers has a system to collect consent on the spot.
Q: What are the benefits?
On-site telehealth visits at schools support the health of students so they can be learning. Students will miss less school due to injuries or symptoms going undiagnosed or treated. It's more convenient for families and caregivers, removing barriers of time, transportation and access to take their child to the doctor.
Q: Will this program help kids with COVID-19?
No, this program will not test for, diagnose or treat COVID-19. SPS continues to follow current COVID-19 protocols. Students who test positive for COVID-19 through established testing methods need to isolate at home. Students exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19 need to stay home and follow current guidelines for returning to school.