Students are given more opportunities to thrive when their schools are supported by the community. That’s why a partnership between local health care facilities and school systems is so important. AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray are committed to collaborating with local schools to meet the needs of students across Gordon and Murray counties.
“Without the assistance of community partners, we would not be able to provide the extra experiences that assist our staff in providing quality education to students both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Kimberly Fraker, EdD, superintendent of Gordon County Schools. “Our education system provides so much more than academics for our children, and we do our best to meet all of their needs, but we can’t do this alone.”
Actively serving within Calhoun City Schools, Gordon County Schools and Murray County Schools, AdventHealth continuously strives to strengthen its school partnerships by providing health care services, educational resources and seminars, school supplies, internships and career placement opportunities and more to help support local students on their educational paths.
“AdventHealth’s whole-person approach to care is similar to the goals we have for our students,” said Michele Taylor, EdD, superintendent of Calhoun City Schools. “We are both focused on education, health and safety. It’s a perfect partnership and vital to the success of our community.”
Returning to school is always a busy and hectic time, but parents and students truly didn’t know what to expect for the 2020 school year. To help students return to class, AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray provided support to help local schools open as safely as possible.
“Partners in education are so important in helping us meet the needs of our students in every aspect,” said Steve Loughridge, superintendent of Murray
County Schools. “This year, our partnership with AdventHealth was not just important, but crucial. We all worked together to navigate a return-to-school plan during the pandemic. Our partnership opens up opportunities for the school system to better serve our students on every level.”
Nursing Services at Gordon County Schools Starting the 2020 school year, several AdventHealth Gordon nurses are now providing health care
services at Gordon County Schools each day classes are in session.
“AdventHealth has been a welcome addition to nursing services in Gordon County Schools, particularly in our current situation,” said Dr. Fraker. “We now have qualified health care staff in every school consistently to assist in providing routine care for students who require regular medications or have other needs on a daily basis.”
Parents, students and school staff members can have confidence that AdventHealth Gordon nurses provide compassionate whole-person care. In addition to the everyday services they provide, the nurses also help navigate the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s comforting to have AdventHealth nurses to assist in screening potential coronavirus-related symptoms to ensure best-practices are being followed to provide for the health and safety of all of our students and staff,” said Dr. Fraker.
For the 2020 school year, AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray donated over 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students at Calhoun City Schools, Gordon County Schools and Murray County Schools. Each school then distributed the backpacks to the students who needed them most.
“This donation has helped aid the success of many students,” said Loughridge. “It takes a village, and we could not do it without the support of our community partners.”
This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the need for individual supplies was even more important.
“The pandemic has forced us to refrain from sharing supplies, so the individual backpacks filled with their personal supplies were definitely needed to limit contact between students,” said Dr. Taylor. “Also, school supplies are expensive and sometimes very difficult to come by. Parents were very appreciative to receive these donations, and our students are always excited to receive them.”
AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care Calhoun City Schools
AdventHealth Medical Group Urgent Care Calhoun City Schools opened in June 2020 on the campus of Calhoun High School and Calhoun Middle School. Made possible by donations from the Calhoun Rotary Club, the late Georgia representative John Meadows and his family and the Milton Ratner Foundation, the clinic has allowed students and school staff members to receive the care they need without missing class and is also open to the community.
“Calhoun is blessed to have a fully functioning urgent care facility on the campus of Calhoun High School and Calhoun Middle School,” said Dr. Taylor. “It provides many opportunities for our students and an array of services to our families and community.”
The expert Urgent Care team of family medicine providers can treat urgent, non-life-threatening medical conditions for adults and children. The clinic operates on extended hours during the week from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm and is even open during Friday night home football games.
“I’ve been to the clinic several times already for blood work and biometric screenings and have been highly impressed,” said Dr. Taylor. “Not only is the facility clean, safe and welcoming; they have quality staffing and have equipped the facility with state-of-the-art equipment to serve the needs of our students, athletes, staff and the community.”
Students who are in the health sciences pathway at Calhoun High School also have the opportunity to work at the clinic through the Calhoun College and Career Academy. This gives students hands-on experience in the medical field while also providing the schools with on-site health care support.
“The clinic works as an extension of the classroom and is used to enrich and support the Calhoun College and Career Academy’s health care pathway,” said Dr. Taylor. “Students are allowed to work and assist in the clinic as part of work-based learning. This allows students to practice and apply learned skills in real world environments and situations.”
Keeping Our Schools Safe
To help keep students and school staff members safe at school during the coronavirus pandemic, AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray donated safety signage to be placed in the halls and classrooms of Calhoun City Schools, Gordon County Schools, Murray County Schools, Georgia Cumberland Academy and John L. Coble Elementary School. More than 2,000 signs were placed throughout 26 schools.
“The return to school this year was like no other before,” said Loughridge. “We faced many obstacles in planning for a face-to-face return. There were so many guidelines for items like signs, masks and sanitizer. We wanted to make our students, parents and staff as comfortable with the new protocols as possible, and the signs helped us do just that.”
The signage was created to remind students and school staff members of the most important safety precautions they should be practicing each day while at school:
- Cover your cough or sneeze.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Wear a mask to help protect yourself and others.
“In the first several weeks of school, one of our primary goals was to educate students and families, as well as staff, on the importance of practicing mitigation measures to help stop the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Fraker. “The signage provided by AdventHealth has served as constant reminders of those essential mitigation measures throughout our schools and facilities.”
Meeting the Needs of Our Schools
AdventHealth Gordon and AdventHealth Murray team members are dedicated to supporting local schools whether it’s inside or outside the physical walls of each school system. In addition to supplying school nurses, backpack donations, an onsite health care clinic and safety signage, the AdventHealth team also provides:
- Health and wellness initiatives for school staff and students taught by AdventHealth team members
- Educational seminars on substance abuse, vape and smoking cessation and CREATION Life principles
- A surgical outreach program where select students develop basic suturing skills, laparoscopic surgical skills, da Vinci robotic skills and endoscopic urological techniques
- Speakers for students interested in different health care career pathways
- Work-based learning opportunities where students can work with the AdventHealth team
- School project evaluations for students
- CPR education
- School physicals
- Sponsored athletics and arts programs