Although in-person instruction may take place online this year, King County Public Health will be opening 34 health centers on school campuses this month.
The health centers will provide such services to students as routine primary care, vaccinations, and mental health counseling; several will include dental services.
Twenty-seven of the centers will be located in Seattle public schools, including all high schools and middle schools along with a number of elementary schools. Five additional centers will serve students in the Bellevue, Highline, Renton, and Vashon school districts. The centers are independent clinics based inside schools or on school campuses, staffed by health professionals.
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“The need for basic health-care hasn’t gone away just because students are learning from home. In fact, many families may be struggling to get health-care access, and they may have fallen behind on routine vaccinations, which protect against many common childhood diseases,” said Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health — Seattle & King County, in a press release.
The health centers “are an important tool in eliminating race-based opportunity gaps,” says Hayes, and students who are behind on required vaccinations will need to be in compliance before scheduled in-person learning begins.
In Seattle, School-Based Health Centers are funded in part by the voter-approved Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy. Centers in other cities are funded in part by the voter-approved Best Starts for Kids Levy.
A complete list of participating schools can be found on the King County website.