AUSTIN – Following a backlash against a virtual health care system deployed in some Austin ISD schools, Seton said it will spend nearly $2 million to add more nurses at Austin ISD campuses.
The healthcare provider and the district said Wednesday that Seton would absorb the expense of adding 33 registered nurses to the schools, bringing the total to at least 73. Before the move, more schools had been relying on telemedicine, which meant nurses would be providing care to some students through videoconferencing software. In turn, fewer nurses would be in schools for the district’s younger students.
With the announcement, each large elementary and middle school will have a full-time nurse while the medium-size schools will share a nurse and health assistant. Each small schools will have full-time health assistants and a shared nurse.
“We’ve heard parents’ concerns and we value their input,” said Kristi Henderson, DNP, CFNP, who leads the AISD student health services program at Seton, along with Medical Director Mark Shen, MD. “We also know that RNs are a trusted source for parents. We aim to bring in more of these trusted experts into schools so they, along with parents, will help develop a long-term, sustainable plan to help care for Austin’s children.”
“The health and safety of students is of utmost importance to Austin ISD, and we are proud to continue to work successfully with our Seton partners and parents to arrive at a sustainable solution to help care for our children’s well-being,” said Austin ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz in a statement.
The nursing change will not happen immediately, as Seton is still in the process of hiring new staff.