The superintendent of Columbia Public Schools (CPS) predicts that a new health care center that will be available to all CPS students will improve health and attendance.
Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood briefed area business leaders about the project during Wednesday’s Regional Economic Development Incorporated (REDI) board meeting at Mizzou’s NextGen facility. Dr. Yearwood tells 939 the Eagle that the health center will maximize student success.
“Now we will have access, all of our scholars will have access to medical care. So if there’s an illness, they can get in, get medicines, get whatever they need and be able to get well faster so they can be back in-seat. Because we know, if we can keep them in-seat, if we can keep our scholars in-seat, then learning goes through the roof,” Dr. Yearwood says.
Columbia’s school board voted this week to approve a 12-page memorandum of understanding to establish the primary care health center. It will be located in CPS’ Field building on Rangeline and will offer preventative visits, acute visits, vision services, sports physicals and more.
Columbia-area business leaders and elected officials learned Wednesday that some CPS students have not received immunizations or sports physicals because they couldn’t afford them. Dr. Yearwood says the new health center will change that.
“And that will be provided for them, whether they have insurance, don’t have insurance, it doesn’t matter, we will make sure they have what they need to be successful in school health-wise,” Dr. Yearwood says.
The center will also provide counseling services. The services will be free to lower-income students and there will also be a sliding fee schedule as dictated by federal poverty guidelines.
Attendance issues contributed to CPS scoring just 70 percent on the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) annual performance review. Dr. Yearwood has said CPS has also increased notifications and increased calling, in an effort to boost attendance.