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Philadelphia School District Eyeing External Providers For Some Nursing Services

(Superintendent William Hite outlines a plan to increase health services to Philadelphia school students.  Credit: Mike DeNardo)

(Superintendent William Hite outlines a plan to increase health services to Philadelphia school students. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Layoffs and budget cuts have reduced the ranks of Philadelphia school nurses in recent years (see related story), but the school district is working on one remedy.

District officials say there are currently 195 fulltime nurses, covering 242 public schools plus 100 or so private and parochial schools.

Do the math: not every public school has a nurse every day.

In an address this week to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, schools superintendent William Hite said the district is negotiating partnerships with local universities to get supplemental health services into schools.

“If this works, then we could have nurses in every school — or at least nurse coverage in every school on every given day,” Hite said.   “So that’s what we’re after.  And we hope that we’ll be able to work the necessary steps through this in order to get this resource back in our schools.”

School officials say the partnerships would not replace school nurses but would provide services like dental or body-mass screenings.

Hite says the negotiations are in the early stages.