Newswise — As students re-enter the classroom after Easter break, Baylor Scott & White Health and Salado ISD are announcing an expanded pilot program created in the fall to bring virtual health options to school nurses at Thomas Arnold Elementary School and Salado Middle School.

The innovative virtual health pilot program is designed to facilitate care for elementary and middle school students by connecting the school nurse, the child's parent or guardian, and a Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's Medical Center provider via a video visit. Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's is staffed by specially trained pediatric doctors and surgeons in 40 pediatric specialties, with advanced technology, equipment and accommodations designed especially for children.

"Our commitment to assuring the best possible outcome for each child entrusted to our care is expanding with this virtual health video visit program," said Dell Ingram-Walker, vice president of operations, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's. "We have so far been able to bring quality care and convenience to school nurses, parents and their children, helping them save time scheduling care."

Families at Thomas Arnold Elementary School were among the first participants in the pilot program this fall. This month, the program has been expanded to include all students enrolled in Salado ISD who wish to participate.

"Education and healthcare are two of the most important services we can provide our students. We are excited to merge these two services through our collaboration with McLane Children's by providing virtual health appointments for our students at our schools," said Salado ISD superintendent, Michael Novotny, Ph.D. "This will be very convenient for parents because it

will reduce the need for them to leave work to take their students to the doctor's office. The chances of other students or employees catching a possible illness lessens, and our students' attendance will benefit as the amount of time out of school to go to an appointment will be reduced. Most importantly, it will allow students to be diagnosed and treated sooner so they can get well."

Parents can pre-register their children for this pilot program upon enrollment through Salado ISD or register at any time during the school year online. Students do not have to be current patients of Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's but must be enrolled in a Salado ISD school. Once enrolled, parents will have access to the MyBSWHealth app for virtual care needs.

Common conditions can be addressed during a virtual health visit, such as:

  • Asthma and allergies
  • Cold and flu
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Head lice
  • Pink eye
  • Sore throat
  • Stomachaches and other digestive issues

When a registered student visits the school nurse, the nurse will determine if a virtual visit with a provider is needed. If it is, the nurse may contact the student's parent or guardian to coordinate a time. At the scheduled appointment, the school nurse and Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's provider will conduct a virtual visit with both the student and parent or guardian "on screen" to discuss the ailment and treatment options.

An after-visit summary is provided to the school nurse and to the parent or guardian via the MyBSWHealth app, and prescriptions can be sent to the family's preferred pharmacy. While this program is not meant to replace primary care providers, it supplements care with a convenient same-day option for same-day care needs without significantly disrupting the student's or parent's schedule.

"Our hope is that more families take advantage of this convenient virtual care option and that we continue to expand this option in our community," said Ingram-Walker.
To learn more about this virtual health offering, including eligibility requirements, parents should contact Thomas Arnold Elementary or Salado Middle School directly.