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School-Based Health Clinic To Be Opened By Start Of 2022-23 School Year

Schools Superintendent John Ravally gave details about the planned school-based health clinic at the May 26 Board of Education meeting.

Plans are being finalized for what could eventually be a community health center based at Hillcrest Elementary School.

The school district received a $200,000 federal grant to partner with Somerville-based Zufall Health Services to offer the clinic in what will be a renovated modular classroom at the school, schools Superintendent John Ravally announced at the May 26 Board of Education meeting.

He said the district and Zufall partnered on the grant application last year. Ravally said attorneys and staff for both the school district and Zufall are hammering out the agreements now.

The school board will probably have final agreements on which to vote at its June meeting, Ravally said. He said federal guidelines require that the health center be operational no later than the start of the 2022-23 school year.

The clinic will start offering basic pediatric services to township students, Ravally said.

“The scope of health services to be provided is yet to be determined, however the short-term vision is to provide essential pediatric services to students, such as vaccinations, wellness visits and such and the long-term vision is to provide other important pediatric services as well as health services to the larger community at that site,” Ravally said.

“This is an important endeavor,” he said. “We believe we will provide access to quality health care for all students and eventually be able to extend that same quality of care to their extended families and the surrounding community.”

Ravally said district nurses have been meeting with Zufall medical officials to determine the most important pediatric services to offer at the startup.

Township manager Robert Vornlocker has also been involved in the discussions, Ravally said, because the plan is to one day offer the services to all of Franklin.

While hours have not yet been set, Ravally said they would be structured so as not to interfere with the students’ school day, “or as not to overcrowd or put anybody at risk at any time and to make it convenient for families to bring students.”

The current thought is to have the clinic open year-round, which, Ravally said, makes the modular unit more attractive over housing the clinic in a school.

He said that initial services would probably be offered in a Zufall mobile unit, while the company is renovating the modular classroom.

Services would be offered on a sliding scale for those who could afford it, and for no cost for those who cannot. Insurances would also be accepted, he said.

Ravally said the grant was awarded on a revolving basis, but he did not know for how many years it would be renewed.

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