Nixa Schools free on-site clinics help keep absences low

NIXA, Mo. -- As cold and flu season begins, school leaders in Nixa say their on-site school clinics are keeping busy.

The Nixa School District started the clinics through CoxHealth for staff and their children in February. The district is now making the clinics available to all students at Nixa High School, Nixa Junior High, as well as Highpoint and Espy Elementary Schools.

District leaders heard complaints from staff members about the lack of an urgent care clinic in Nixa and how hard it was to get into their primary care doctors quickly. With the virtual clinics, teachers do not have to miss any school, unless they're found to be contagious. A virtual clinic navigator can even come to their classroom. The patient sees a provider over a video link, who can treat things like ear infections, rashes and strep throat.

Doctors through the virtual clinics saw almost 400 staff and kids by June of this year. This school year, doctors report about 100 visits so far. One reason for the large number of visits is that Nixa is covering the cost of the visits for their staff members. District leaders hope to break even by not having to pay as many substitute teachers. They found since starting the clinics, the staff has missed about 350 fewer days.

"Because we found such great success with our staff and their kids, we're now starting to open it up to our families across the district in select schools," said Zac Rantz, Nixa Public Schools. "And the goal is to have access to these type of clinics over the next couple years spread to every single building in the district."

The school district is not covering the costs of student visits. Parents first give permission for their child to be seen and participate in the visit. But if they cannot make it in person, they can also join in through a video link.