CLK Schools receives funding for school nurse

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — The Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium, and Keweenaw received a $10,000 donation from the Keweenaw Health Foundation to assist the school district in financing its school nurse program, said Superintendent Chris Davidson. The check was presented by Ed Jenich of the KHF at the regular October meeting of the school board. The funding will aid the district in making the transition from a part-time to a full-time nurse.

In 2016, the board elected to contract part-time nursing services from Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, said Davidson.

“They provided us with an affordable option for onsite nursing support at a time when funding for such services was scarce,” Davidson said.

Over the three-year period that that CLK Schools was contracted with Aspirus, Davidson said the schools noticed a constant increase in health care demands for the students. As a result, the board decided it was necessary to hire a full-time nurse. The resolution to hire was approved at the March 2019 board meeting.

Board President Phyllis Locatelli said that after discussions with the nurse, and reviewing the student data, there was no doubt the board needed to provide more to the students.

“By providing proper medical attention,” she said, “we can reduce student absences, and as a result, increase student learning.”

Early in 2019, the annual budget had already been set, said Davidson, and with Lansing not providing stable funding conditions, the board reached out to the Keweenaw Health Foundation, and they were happy to provide some financial assistance to assist in making the transition from a part-time to a full-time nurse.

“The donation was just to help us get through that transition time,” said Davidson, “where we had already set the budget, we kind of knew where our expenses were, but the board was a little leery in adding the expense, but knew that the (nursing) services were greatly needed.”

The addition of the full-time school nurse will increase student access to receive assistance with and for proper medical attention at school with outside providers, said Davidson, and help ensure the school is prepared for any type of emergency situation, bring supplemental health services, such as dental treatments, directly to the students, and to ensure that students receive any required medications to be properly administered.

“Educating the whole child includes healthy students who learn about, and practice healthy lifestyles,” Davidson said. “Having a nurse on-campus full-time is a major part of CLK Schools accomplishing this.”