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Avera Medical Minute: eCARE school health services help students and faculty

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 10:39 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

The abrupt ending of school last year is still the topic of kids, parents, and educators. Edgemont Minnesota Superintendent Amy Ferley remembers the day.

"Friday, Friday the 13th of course. And we are actually a four day school week and so we were not even in school so we didn't have the chance to just, you know, even just to send supplies home with kids that day at all," said Ferley.

The following week their distance learning program was up and running.

"My teachers are rock stars. That's all I can say they just, they did a great job," said Ferley.

As the 160 students return to the k through 12 classes at Edgemont, Ferley is reviewing how to handle any symptoms the kids may have.

"To know the difference of is this a flu is this a common cold. Is this an allergy or is this something that I should be alarmed about," said Ferley.

So the district is relying on medically trained help, just a click away.

"That we are absolutely going to do our best to keep everybody as safe as possible, and that we're just going to be relying on medical professionals," said Ferley.

The professionals are seen virtually. Sheila Freed is the Avera eCARE school health director.

"To help assess those students and give guidance, according to CDC and the Department of Health really is what we're doing," said Freed.

They'll review symptoms, ask the important questions, and help determine what comes next.

"Is this something they can wait is it something they need to call the covert hotline or they need to call their provider right away get more guidance. When I think to the other thing is when can they come back to school," said Freed.

It's all about protecting the kids.

"We still want to be as careful as we can. We want to keep our children safe, but I think just teaching our kids to teach them how to wash their hands to use the sanitizer. Having practicing wearing masks. These are all things that kids can learn and kids are amazingly pliable," said Freed.

A medical team member can support school systems by being their virtual school nurse, freeing up teachers and staff to focus on other things.

Our educators are doing an amazing job right now they have been called upon with huge responsibility and I've just been so impressed how each school district is really stepping up to the plate," said Freed.

Avera eCARE health services and educators are teaming up to make it the best learning environment possible.

"School buildings are weird when there are not kids in them. And it's time to hear those sounds of learning in the hallway," said Ferley.

“Of course, we’re so excited that they’re going to be back in school or also ready in case we have to do some of that online learning online health support as well,” said Freed.

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