School Health Advisory Committee meets, discusses School Health Services Plan
When it comes to developing a school health plan, everyone seems to agree: the kids matter most.
"Every child is so unique in this town," Jessica Carrier, School Health Advisory Committee Chair, or SHAC, said.
In a unique situation, Bay District Schools' School Health Services Plan has yet to be finalized because four key parties still need to come together: Bay District Schools, the Florida Department of Health in Bay County, PanCare, and SHAC.
"We're here to advocate, support, advise anybody who has health questions related to school health," Carrier said.
She will help finalize that plan, but she has concerns she is passionate about.
One falls under Part II of that plan, Comprehensive School Health Services.
"What the comprehensive services do for our children is to teach them about high-risk behaviors such as teen pregnancy, such as tobacco use, and really educate them to prevent them from making decisions that will be detrimental sometimes to them," Carrier said.
SHAC isn't alone. Pamm Chapman, Vice Chair of the Bay District School Board, is serving as the liaison between the board and SHAC.
"I think I would like to see, you know, school nurses be able to come and actually talk to the kids and sometimes they will talk to nurses more than they would talk to parents," Chapman said.
Chapman hopes to see school nurses given more time in the classroom included in the plan.
Another goal of Carrier's is to see more Registered Nurses.
"Five years ago, I became a member of the School Health Advisory Committee. My goal then was to get more RNs in the schools and my goal is still the same," Carrier explained.
While one RN per school would be too costly, Carrier believes it's possible to meet the state's RN to school ratio.
Carrier said, "One nurse for every three schools means that those nurses are going be on campus a couple times a week."
With the new year right around the corner, it's a new opportunity for school and health leaders to finalize a plan.
The next SHAC meeting will be held in either January or February, depending on when the school health plan is finalized.