- Loudoun County Public Schools
Office of Outreach Services Awarded VDOE Grant to Establish a Mobile Clinic
Loudoun County Public School’s (LCPS) Office of Outreach Services received a Community Schools Development and Implementation Grant from the Virginia Department of Education for $355,081 to fund a mobile clinic providing LCPS students with immunizations, physicals and basic healthcare.
"This clinic is going to help families have real-time access to healthcare where they are," explained Sarah Eaton, LCPS' Outreach Services supervisor. “One of the main barriers to enrolling students at the start of school or when they transfer to LCPS after the start of school is children not having the appropriate immunizations. We hope this clinic will help address this situation.”
Starting this summer, the mobile clinic will visit various schools or community centers around the county – particularly those schools with high absentee rates due to students not having the appropriate immunizations or healthcare.
The mobile clinic aims to eliminate school attendance barriers due to missing immunizations or poor health. Virginia law requires immunization against certain diseases for kindergarteners and new LCPS students before school enrollment. In addition, students in grades 7 and 12 require an additional round of immunizations.
The Outreach Services and the Student Health Services teams have been researching the possibility of a mobile health clinic for several years. They looked at similar models in Bath and Wythe counties and Petersburg City Public Schools all in Virginia, and Donegan Elementary in Lehigh, PA.
"This idea is something that grew organically," said Dr. Clark Bowers, LCPS' Student Services director. "We've had challenges ensuring students receive the appropriate immunizations for years. We floated some ideas about what we could do to bring a resource directly to the community to help families and their students. Then, we learned about the community schools grant and decided to apply."
In addition to providing immunizations, physicals and basic healthcare, the Outreach Services team is working with community partners to participate in the mobile clinics and help eligible families sign up for Medicaid or discuss preventative services that they offer.
The Outreach Services team is surveying school administrators about the best times for their families to visit a mobile clinic and the best locations. They also liaise with local partners to develop staffing schedules and other logistics.
Eaton said the mobile clinic plan aligns with Student Services' foundational pillars, mainly supporting students' health and social services. "The ultimate goal of this clinic is to provide holistic support to LCPS students and their families, eliminating barriers to healthcare, keeping the kids healthy, and helping them stay in school and achieve academic success."
Published March 14, 2023