AKRON, Ohio — Students in the Akron Public School District begin online classes next week and will continue virtual learning for at least nine weeks after that.
Even without kids in school buildings for a few months, administrators are currently working with nurses and medical assistants from Akron Children's Hospital to redesign school clinics.
"At this point, we are in the process of readjusting our clinics to meet some new community guidelines," said Debra Foulk, the executive director of business affairs for APS.
The clinic at East High School now has two entrances. The first entrance is for students who need things like first aid or medications.
"The other side of the clinic is where we're taking in any type of ill symptoms. That doesn't necessarily mean that they have COVID symptoms. It could be anything from stomach ache, or maybe it's hunger or a headache," said Michele Wilmoth, the director of school health services for Akron Children's Hospital.
If necessary, sick students can be directed to isolation bays separated by shower curtains. Parents will be instructed to pick up ill kids within an hour.
Wilmoth said all of the extra measures are meant to mitigate risk.
"Am I worried? Sure. I would be naive to say that I'm not, but we're doing the best we can. We're not going to be able to make it 100%," she said.
Children's Hospital has health services contracts with roughly 40 districts, making up about 200 school buildings.
The hospital is also expanding telehealth services with all of the districts under contract with ACH.
That will allow nurses to talk with students over video and potentially screen them for the coronavirus or other illnesses. Telehealth also provides more opportunities for students with chronic conditions to be monitored while learning from home.
"In light of COVID, we're expediting the way that we can do telehealth and meet our families wherever it is that they are," Wilmoth said.