TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - No more playing hooky for students at Annie Belle Clark Elementary as well as Eighth Street Middle School.
The two schools now have partnered with Tift Regional and have both opened Southwell Clinics.
“This is the new clinics that have been formed in partnership with Tift Regional. We are super excited to be offering the opportunity for the students and staff of Tift County Schools,” Tift County Superintendent Adam Hathaway said.
“We were actually approached by the superintendent of the school board about a year ago to look into the possibility of doing some kind of collaboration like this. So he has seen some pretty significant attendance issues and we have seen some of our patients having access issues in some of our clinics as well. And we saw it as an opportunity to work together to solve both of our problems,” explained Claire Byrnes, the Tift Regional Medical Center ambulatory services vice president.
Stephanie Morrow, the principal at Annie Belle Clark, said she is happy that the clinic program will start at her school.
"It is a great opportunity for me to start the process in hopes that we will have these other clinics for other schools,' said Morrow. “With the parents, I think it was an optimal opportunity to be able to just come across the hall to be able to get their boys and girls seen and then being able to get back to work.”
Tift County Schools has over 5,000 students and each one, depending on their classification, can attend any of the two clinics for acute health services.
“We see children for fever‚ ear infections, sore throat, UTIs and obviously we are anticipating on seeing children for the flue this season,” said Nurse Jessica Boyd.
Boyd said that parents see this as a great opportunity for them to not miss work.
“The faculty and staff have been very receptive and as well as the parents. You can really tell how it impacts them. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a mother happy to send their child back to class and be able to go back to work. It not only helps with attendance but it helps with finances at home,” explained Boyd.
Parents, as well as students, said they’re excited about this new idea of having the clinic inside both of the schools.