School clinic a good idea

In many public schools, the only option for teachers when a student complains of not feeling well is to call parents or guardians and send the youngster home. Jefferson County Health Department officials want to change that.

During their meeting last week, Buckeye Local Board of Education members were told of a health department plan that could benefit both students and adults in communities around schools. It ought to be pursued.

Ashley Wilson, director of the health department’s WIC program, explained the proposal. It is for the department to provide a nurse practitioner to staff a clinic located in a Buckeye Local school. Equipment also would be provided by the health department.

In addition to providing some medical assistance to students, the nurse practitioner would be able to see adults from the surrounding area. That would be a money- and time-saving convenience for many Jefferson County residents.

It is the service to the students that may be most beneficial, however. As Wilson noted, the presence of a nurse practitioner could reduce absences by providing some services students otherwise would have to leave school to obtain.

School board members have agreed to consider the proposal. It may be on the agenda for their next meeting. Health department officials said they also have talked to other districts in the county, and that plans for additional, similar clinics may be forthcoming.

It certainly sounds like an excellent idea. It is no substitute for a visit to the doctor — parents should see to it that appointments are kep. But, in providing some health care services, the nurse practitioner could be of substantial help to both adults and students. Unless some unforeseen difficulty arises, board members should proceed with the in-school clinic.