School-based health programs provide health services, like oral health, to students in schools. Schools were closed and students learned virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting school-based health programs and impacting the care children received. This study surveyed public elementary schools in Virginia to understand the impact the pandemic had on school-based health programs and what factors are crucial in order to deliver care in this setting. The biggest health concern among respondents was the mental health of students and the health of staff; oral health was not among the highest concerns for most schools.

What next?

  • Policy: Incorporate school personnel in determining disaster response plans as schools play an important role in the medical, dental, and behavioral health of children.
  • Clinical: Foster partnerships with local schools to begin or expand school-based oral health programs in your service area. Learn more and contact Catalyst for help. 
  • Community: Ensure schools are connected with local direct service providers, especially for mental health resources.

School-Based Health Services in Virginia and the COVID-19 Pandemic

A. Krantz, E. Steiner, J. Mitchell
Journal of School Health
February 2022