Spotlight on Telehealth in K–12 Education
An Inside Look at San Bernardino USD's Whole Child Approach to Wellness
- By Colleen Williams
Bernardino City Unified School District,
our wellness multi-tiered system of support is a comprehensive
approach to providing students with the physical and mental health
to serving the whole
Wellness and Support Services department leverages professional
development and implementation supports to school staff developing
systems, practices and data-driven decisions with telehealth services
and community partners to provide care and address challenges like
implementing telehealth services on-campus, students are able to
receive immediate medical support, with staff
reporting over 92 percent of students returning to class following a
visit from the school health office.
how our student wellness and support services team proactively
addresses challenges to support our students.
Wellness and Support Services: Gluing physical and mental health
together through wellness
San Bernardino City
Unified School District, we are committed
to actively improving health, wellness and safety within the
communities we serve. To achieve this, we prioritize the health,
and safety of
our students, defined like this:
optimal physical, mental, social-emotional and spiritual condition
through which individuals are informed optimistic, active and loved;
and communities are safe, productive places where individuals work
interdependently for the welfare of all.
sense of hope, well-being and personal positive empowerment fostered
in caring and giving environments where everyone has access to
adequate housing, economic opportunities, and security in
communities. Well communities are sensitive to diversity and instill
pride by providing a sense of well-being to its members though
healthcare, jobs and green spaces.
environment that exhibits and values a culture of security, mental
and physical stability, order, positive affirmations and embraces
diversity of all members.
Wellness and Support Services department is highly collaborative,
working together to ensure students’ physical, social-emotional and
behavioral health needs are being met. Physical health can greatly
affect mental health (and vice versa), so it’s really important
that all of
students’ basic needs are
being met so they can focus
on their academic learning.
we support students’ physical health needs
always been a big advocate of telehealth. It provides flexibility and
convenience, which is especially important for our student
partner with Hazel
support the work of our school nurses, and provide in-school and
in-home telehealth appointments to students. The benefit of working
with a telehealth provider is having a team of medical providers
available to address common non-emergency health concerns, like
headaches, eye infections, cold or flu symptoms and asthma symptoms.
this extra layer of medical support means that our underserved
those who experience difficulty seeking care, like our homeless,
foster care and chronically ill students — are able to receive
quality care at no extra cost.
school nurses aren’t able to prescribe medications on the spot,
having a telehealth provider available ensures that students can
still get the medicine or treatment they need without a parent having
to come to school and take their child to a clinic. This has been
especially beneficial throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, since
families can schedule a
virtual appointment for their student from home.
is effective for meeting students’ physical health needs, and also
for meeting their mental or behavioral health needs.
we support students’ mental health needs
our belief that all students are entitled to receive the benefits of
a comprehensive school counseling program. We have credentialed
school counselors who advocate for educational opportunity, equity
and access to programs and services so that every student is
supported and challenged to achieve their highest potential.
counseling services align programs with the California Standards
for School Counseling Profession and the American School Counseling
Association’s (ASCA) National Counseling Standards.
as they support the work of our school nurses, Hazel Health providers
the work of our counselors. A telehealth provider can evaluate a
student’s feelings, needs and symptoms, and then can help the
student and their family understand what those feelings and symptoms
mean. They can also provide relevant resources and refer students to
care experts who are able to meet their specific needs.
district has developed a mental health team to provide intensive
intervention to small groups of students and individuals.
We also partner with Victor
Community Support Services,
which is a community-based agency that delivers mental health and
family support services. Partnering with this community resource
means that we’ve been able to provide free
mental health services to families throughout the pandemic.
we support learning continuity and attendance
view telehealth as a preventative measure to keep students at school,
and also as a part of our multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). For
our Tier 3 intensive work, where we’re individualizing supports and
making sure that we’re advocating for our students, telehealth has
been especially helpful. Having a medical provider available to back
up the recommendations of our nurses and to relay what a student
needs to a parent is very effective.
we support staff members
our district decided to scope our social-emotional learning (SEL)
lessons and match standards and benchmarks with curriculum, we had an
entire team dedicated to grounding our school climate and culture in
trauma-responsive mindsets, restorative practices and positive
behavior interventions and supports.
have provided professional
development opportunities over the past three years to school
leadership for SEL, warning signs and risk factors around mental
health, and had our administrators, student wellness team and other
staff members participate. Ensuring that every staff member and
partner is on board with our initiatives is crucial to the success of
our student wellness department.
students healthy is a group effort
student health initiatives are successful because we
collaborate with stakeholders
through community engagement and town hall meetings, and utilize
student and family survey data to consider the unique needs of our
district and surrounding community and identify the right resources
and partners to meet those needs. We also started small, and worked
to gain buy-in from stakeholders so we could strengthen our health
and wellness initiatives over time.
keep students healthy and in school, you must remain proactive in
sharing resources with families, emphasizing the importance of
collaboration among staff and seeking out the right partners to meet
the needs of your district community.