ELKINS, Ark. (KNWA) — A rural school district is making it easier for students and families to get the care they need without missing school.
Monique Lambert teaches 4th grade reading, and has 90 kids to attend to throughout the day. When students are dismissed for medical or dental appointments, it can set everyone back.
“In the past, we had to call the parent. Most of our parents don’t work close by. Then they have to turn around, take the kid back into Fayetteville to the doctor and they’re missing half a day easy,” Lambert said. “It’s time out of school.”
The Elkins school-based health center opened its doors in December, after five years in the making.
16 renovated rooms are now used for medical, dental, vision, and mental health needs.
Shelly Hollingsworth, the Wellness Center Coordinator, says it will cut back on kids missing class, especially for routine appointments like going to the dentist.
“We would have a hygienist maybe once a week, or once every two weeks that can do that and a dentist that can provide basic fillings and therapies, dental sealants” Hollingsworth said.
The clinic is open to the district’s 1,200 students, 175 staff members, and now the entire community.
If you don’t have insurance, you won’t be turned away.
Hollingsworth says, “If they have insurance, their insurance is billed normally. If a student doesn’t have insurance, we’re going to help them enroll in insurance or find out why they wouldn’t — or if their insurance has lapsed, but also for financial reasons we will also find resources or help them.”
It’s a convenience that Lambert appreciates as both a teacher and parent to her almost 9-year-old daughter.
“She’s been down to the clinic twice since it’s been open, both for sinus infection. It was great because when I left work, the prescription was already called in. We swing by and get it,” Lambert said.
The clinic is open Mondays from 12-4 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-3 p.m., and Fridays from 7-3 p.m.