When the coronavirus pandemic halted in-person classes, Prisma Health pivoted its school-based telehealth education program, expanding to reach more students.
“We really just revamped the telehealth education program and made it accessible to students even though they were at home,” said Madelyn Hutnyak, administrative coordinator for Prisma Health.
Prisma’s school-based curriculum focused on obesity prevention and reduction, containing lessons on physical activity and nutrition, guided by the CDC Eat Smart, Move More program. When students transitioned to distance learning, the program evolved to provide pre-recorded, video lessons for teachers to share with students learning from home.
Trey Goodwin is the Physical Education coach at Webber Elementary. Growing up in Eastover, he was once a student of Webber. Now he gives back to his town by encouraging and teaching students how to maintain active and nourished lifestyles. Prisma Health’s school-based curriculum supports his mission.
“One thing that I include in my lessons, just to make sure they understand the importance of eating healthy balanced meals, instead of just junk food,” Goodwin said.
The on-demand videos increased the number of students reached by 74 percent compared to in-person lessons, according to Hutnyak.
“We went from 250 to 300 students to 850 to 900 students,” Hutnyak said.
Now the program includes all 3-5 graders at Gadsden, Hopkins, Horrell Hill and Webber Elementary schools in the Richland County School District One and all 2-5 graders at Manchester Elementary in the Sumter School District.
“It’s helping a whole lot,” Goodwin said. “I think it’s very important for them (students) to see other people stressing the same things that I’m stressing. Because most times children will take something better from other people.”
With the growth of Telehealth during this pandemic, health providers are finding new ways to reach people who might not be in an area that has the means to provide proper health education or health care to its community. For Coach Goodwin and Webber Elementary, it has become as simple as posting a video online. Now his class has access to a series of video lessons and activities that can help them take better care of their fitness and health without leaving the comfort of their home or classroom.
“Me personally, I love it,” Goodwin said. “Growing up, we didn’t have a program like this, so I think it’s a blessing, honestly.”