(Photo by Chinh Doan)
BELTON (October 30, 2012)—The Belton ISD is making sure students, teachers and employees are doing everything they can to be ready for the flu season by hosting vaccination clinics at every school in the district for the next few weeks.
"School children are the ones where the flu starts each year," said Dr. Manju Gaglani of Scott & White.
"When they go home, it spreads to other members of the family, and the elderly are the ones going to the hospital."
Belton ISD administrators also want to prevent the flu to keep the students learning as much as possible.
"When they're safe and healthy, they're ready to learn and attendance goes up," said Charlotte Smith, Belton ISD health services coordinator.
That is one of the many reasons why these flu vaccinations are free.
No insurance is needed.
For those with insurance, there is no co-pay.
The offer is possible thanks to volunteers at Scott & White and surrounding nursing schools and funding from the state.
Belton ISD students and employees can choose to receive the vaccine either by a shot or through nasal spray.
Third grader Sydney Piper is already learning about how the flu vaccine can help her and her classmates.
"Then I know it's safe to hang out with them, and they probably don't have the flu because they're getting the flu shot," Sydney said.
Syndey and her mother Julie Piper took advantage of this opportunity Tuesday.
Piper, who has taught at Southwest Elementary School for 16 years, knows how quickly germs can spread between kids.
She says having a clinic at school makes preventing the flu for their family and other families in the Belton District much easier.
"It's here, so I don't have to go out of my way to get myself and my children vaccinated," Julie said.
"And for our classroom, the opportunity is for all students."
Scott & White research from a couple of years ago show the district-wide flu vaccine clinics are more than just about saving time and money.
These clinics have potential to help unclog waiting rooms filled with people.
"Research shows this can reduce medical visits for respiratory illness and have one-third less visits in the community," Gaglani said.
Belton ISD has about 9,900 students and 1,400 employees.