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HIDOE Expands Hawai‘i Keiki Health Services to Address COVID-19 Pandemic

ʻĪao Intermediate School. PC: file photo by Wendy Osher.

The Hawai‘i Department of Education announced the expansion of its Hawai’i Keiki program with the addition of 15 new registered nurses, one advanced practice registered nurse and additional funding from HMSA to support its health hotline and telehealth services.

The new RNs will focus on supporting individual schools statewide. This expands the current team of 23 nurses for a total of 38 nurses available to work with HIDOE in collaboration with the state Department of Health.

HIDOE is using Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on students and learning in the public schools. Recruitment is underway and HK anticipates the nurses will be onboard by mid- September.

HIDOE reports the RNs will provide safety protocol training, advice for COVID-19 exposed and positive families, rapid response to clusters or reported cases, and support for student and teacher coping and resilience behaviors.

“The additional health resources at the school will allow administrators and teachers to focus on education, while HK RNs and APRNs will focus on health concerns related to infection, transmission, and state public health regulations,” according to the Department of Education.

The HK nurses are available to teachers, principals, and parents through a telephone hotline. In addition, the APRNs are providing telehealth services as needed by families.

Health Hotline and APRN Telehealth Visits

In addition, HK is continuing the no-cost health hotline and telehealth APRN visits as an extension of services provided to students in the school health room.

Over the past year, a $25,000 contribution from HMSA gave students continued access to the health hotline and telehealth services over the summer. At the start of this new academic year, HMSA contributed an additional $150,000 for new technology that will allow the telehealth program to provide virtual medical examinations.

Students and families can call (844) 436-3888 (toll free) with questions Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m excluding holidays and an RN or APRN will answer health-related questions.

If a student needs a visit with a health provider or does not have a care provider, a telehealth appointment with a HK APRN can be scheduled.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2020/09/14/hidoe-expands-hawaii-keiki-health-services-to-address-covid-19-pandemic-by-adding-more-than-a-dozen-nurses-to-the-program/

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