Telehealth delivery systems would provide K-12 schools with remote health care, healthcare provider access to students. 

On Thursday, the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve a $17.6 million grant to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). The grant would be used to create a telehealth delivery system within K-12 schools to provide remote healthcare and healthcare provider access to students.

“Healthy students learn better. Implementing this telehealth program for Mississippi’s K-12 students will better ensure health issues are identified and treated,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “This program can potentially reduce absenteeism, help parents and guardians get quicker access to services for a child and even save lives.”

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to cover the grant.

Signed into law on March 11, 2021, The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) provided additional funding to aid public health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December 2021, the U.S. Department of Education approved Mississippi’s plan for use of American Rescue Plan funds to support K-12 schools and students and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to the state. The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department, including Mississippi’s, show how states are using the funds to support the social, emotional, mental health and academic needs of students.

MDE’s goals for the telehealth services program include:

  • Providing Mississippi school districts and charter schools that currently have a school nurse on staff or contract with the equipment needed to effectively implement and manage the delivery of telehealth services to students.
  • Improving the overall healthcare outcomes of students in Mississippi by increasing student access to primary, acute and specialty healthcare providers.
  • Expanding healthcare offerings to Mississippi students beyond diagnosis and treatment to include services that focus on health maintenance, disease prevention and health education for students, families and school personnel.

The grant period is from July 1, 2022 through Sept. 30 2024, with a liquidation period ending Dec. 31, 2024.