Del. Lawmakers Considering Requiring Health Centers in Schools - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Lawmakers Considering Requiring Health Centers in Schools

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Dover High School is one of the high schools that has a wellness center available to students. It is run by Bayhealth. (Photo: WBOC) Dover High School is one of the high schools that has a wellness center available to students. It is run by Bayhealth. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- The House Education Committee took up a bill Thursday at Legislative Hall requiring all public high schools in Delaware, other than charter schools, to have school-based health centers.

The bill says the state will pay start-up and operation costs for up to a year for any school that does not currently have a health center.

Schools in Sussex and Kent Counties do have health centers that provide basic services to students who may not have access to a doctor or health care network.

Jamie Rutherford, a Smyrna High School parent, said having a health center at their high school makes life much easier.

"They have their physicals done there," she says. "So they don't have to go to the pediatrician's office and wait three hours and expose your kids to some other illnesses possibly".

Rutherford said it can save the headache of trying to get the proper doctor's note, because her child can be excused from school by an in-house professional.

"If they're sick or whatever, especially with strep or something. They can get excused from their class," she said. "Win-win! Very convenient for a working family."

The three schools that do not have school-based health centers are Conrad School of Science in Wilmington, St. Georges Technical High School in Middletown and Appoquinimink High School in Middletown.

The Associated Press reports that legislative analysts estimate it would cost about $600,000 over the next three years for start-up costs at those three schools.

Karen Harmon of Communities and Schools, a Dover non-profit that connects struggling students with resources, says having school-based health centers is important to student success.

"Because it's the whole family dynamic," she says. "They're not healthy if they're not getting the food. They can't focus in the classroom setting."

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