RACINE — The Southern Local School Wellness Center recently held its semi-annual Health Advisory Council meeting last week with 26 members in attendance. Rob Dudley, CEO for Coplin Health Systems gave opening remarks about the scope of services Coplin offers, especially noting the success of school health clinics in the system. He praised Southern highly for its great work with both children and community.
“We are now having schools from Ohio and West Virginia approaching us, beyond the ones already in operation. Southern has become a model program and has set the benchmark for the standards we hope all clinics can become,” said Dudley. “You have a special and unique group here at Southern. We are pleased to be a part of such a successful operation.”
Southern Supt. Tony Deem said, “What we were looking for when we set up our program was solely to improve the wellness of our kids here at school. It was always about the kids, and is still about the kids first. Fortunately, we have been able to expand services and serve our staff and the community as well. We are very proud of the program we have here.”
The clinic sees students first, then staff, parents and community. No appointment is necessary. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday when school is in session. The phone number for the clinic is 740-949-2348.
The Southern Local School Wellness Center is operated by Junie Maynard, Nurse Practitioner, Sharon Harvey, RN and Nikki Whobrey, LPN. Maynard gave a run-down of the services offered at the Southern clinic and provided numbers for services rendered last school year.
Generally operating only when school is in session, the clinic began opening on Mondays during the summer months a couple years ago. This year Maynard reported that there were 179 visits, 16 per day, over the 11 summer Monday sessions. The Southern clinic offered 106 free sports physicals to students as well. DOT physicals are given at the clinic.
Some of the programs the clinic operates during the year includes immunizations,; administering flu vaccines; hosting November Diabetes Awareness Month and Heart Health Day on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) where a panel of labs (CBC, CMP, Lipids, TSH and HbA1c) can be drawn for $25; promoting Southern staff wellness and promoting the “Biggest Loser Weight Loss Contest”; and hosting free sports physicals for Southern students grades 7-12 the month of May. The staff also works the kindergarten and preschool registrations, has a 5K run at Ravenswood, W.Va., park on April 4th, and most of all serves the medical needs of the students.
Southern now has dental services offered by Dr. Wilson four to seven times a month. At this point, the dental screenings and teeth cleaning are only offered to students. Upcoming dates for students are Oct. 18, 21 and 28, and Nov. 1, 4, 11, 15 and 22. Beyond these dates, parents can call the clinic for future dates.
The clinic also works closely on mental health service with Hopewell Health Centers, who are on-site daily Monday-Friday. Student needs are served by three in-house providers always on call at the school. Counselors are on-site daily.
Attendance has improved since the clinic has been in operation and school nurse visits have decreased. One of the goals was to improve attendance by being able to administer health care on-site rather than pulling a child from classes to see a doctor off campus. The needs of most children can be served on-site. School Nurse visits have diminished from 5,385 a year in 2002-2003 to 3,321 during the 2018-2019 school year.
The school district praised Coplin Health Systems for the work they have done at Southern and praised them for the work they have done to support Southern Local Schools.
Scott Wolfe is the director of federal programs and the director of food service for Southern Local Schools.