QPS working with health department as emergency point of dispensing

Quincy Public Schools board members, from left, Sheldon Bailey, Mike Troup and Jim Whitfield have been recognized under the Illinois Association of School Board's Master Board Member program.
H-W Photo/Deborah Gertz Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 21, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Nov. 21, 2019 12:22 am

QUINCY — Quincy Public Schools is working with the Adams County Health Department to serve as a point of dispensing, or POD, in case of emergency.

The School Board heard about the plan at Wednesday night's meeting.

"The health department reached out to us and asked if we would like to be a closed POD," Superintendent Roy Webb said.

A closed POD is not open to the public, but is operated by private organizations with staff trained to dispense medications to residents, staff, staff family members and clients.

If, for example, some sort of mass immunization would be needed in Quincy, "the more existing closed PODs we can utilize, the more able we will be to get the general public immunized in the quickest fashion," Health Department Administrator Jerrod Welch said.

"If a disease needs vaccine to control it, they distribute vaccine to us and our nurses immunize our staff and our staff's family so they don't have to go stand in long lines," Webb said. "We would be able to take care of our employees."

The county has several closed PODs in place, but QPS would be one of the larger ones.

Working with QPS "certainly opens up our capacity," Welch said. "It gives us another partnership that's beneficial."

With more than 1,000 full-time equivalent staff plus their family members, "that's a number of people that we would be able to work with their nursing staff and their administration to have treated or immunized in an emergency in a quick fashion," Welch said.

"In our department we only have around 10 to 15 nurses at any given time. Even when we pull in medical reserve and staff up as large as we can for response, we're still going to struggle to immunize an entire community unless we use these sorts of strategies," he said.

The department looks for facilities to serve as PODs that have existing medical and/or nursing staff -- and tries to develop as many PODs as possible.

"That way we're able to focus on individuals who don't really have access through those sorts of points of distribution," Welch said.

Also Wednesday, the School Board:

Adopted a tentative 2019 levy, payable in 2020, totaling $38,471,435 with a tax rate expected to drop by just over 10 cents to $3.85 per $100 assessed value. The levy will be finalized in December.

Approved a server lease totaling $133,049.40 over three years, or $44,349.80 per year. The new equipment should be fully implemented by January, and the current equipment will be used at Quincy Junior High School for additional backup and redundancy.

Reviewed two public service announcements put together by the School Based Health Care Committee in connection with the district's hot spotting work.

Learned board members Sheldon Bailey, Mike Troup and Jim Whitfield have been recognized under the Illinois Associaiton of School Board's Master board Member program.

Learned the district expects to spend about $1.5 million on health life safety work in summer 2020 at several buildings.

Heard an update on hiring for the 2020-21 school year, which is ahead of this time last year.