BURLINGTON, Iowa — The Burlington Community School District has partnered with Eagle View Community Heath System to open the school's first health clinic for students and staff.
The Eagle View Community Health System is based in Henderson County in Illinois, but provides the staff, equipment and supplies for the new clinic.
On the outside, it is a normal Wednesday at Burlington High School.
"We know that if our children are sick, hungry and tired and wet, they're less likely to be effective learners," said Superintendent Patrick Coen.
On the inside, healthy students are the focus.
"It makes all the sense in the world get the service where the service is needed where the people are," Coen said.
Coen has been among the district staff pushing for a program partnership like this for several years. The new in-school clinic, a first for the Burlington district, is set up in the high school's main office.
That location was chosen on purpose, according to Jana Cozadd, the director of operations with Eagle View. The location allows for students to come into the office without peers knowing the exact reason.
"This is a step in the process of us removing the barriers out of the way and getting them to class," Coen said.
Among the services offered are yearly physical exams and the necessary sports physicals for student-athletes, Cozadd said. Other services include vaccines, injury care and COVID-19 testing, according to the health system's website.
Cozadd said this is a new way of reaching the community.
"It's the idea of treating the student as a whole and where they are, so coming to the school, parents miss less work, students miss way less school," Cozadd said.
All of this is what Cassie Gerst envisioned to break down barriers to receiving health care.
"For the last seven years, we've been working on how do we become a more full-service school," Gerst said.
The program, which was free to the district, minus providing the necessary space, Gerst said, comes with some positive side effects.
"We believe that this clinic will lead to improvements in attendance, for staff, for children," Coen said.
This is the district's prescription for success.
Coen said he has spoken with the chief medical officer at Great River Health based in West Burlington about the new in-school health clinic. Coen said that executive said the clinic is a great tool for the community, but stressed the importance of communication between clinic staff and primary care providers.
The health clinic is open to any Burlington students and their families, plus any district staff.
The district is also exploring ways to use telehealth technology to help reach students and staff at the elementary and middle schools.
Coen said the district is looking at ways to expand this clinic to include dental care, as well as mental and behavioral health options. Coen said that decision will come after the current clinic is well-established and running smoothly.
The clinic is open during school hours, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m until 4 p.m.
The clinic will also stay open during scheduled school breaks, according to a Eagle View spokesperson. That includes the winter and spring breaks as well as the summer break.
For more information about the in-school clinic, and to learn how to register yourself or your child to receive care, click here.