LEAP Academy University Charter School Health and Wellness Center in Camden helps children stay safe


CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) – Dr Velmina Rivera is used to being busy.

“I just saw two patients before you arrived,” Dr Rivera told Action News.

During the pandemic, the patient base at LEAP Academy University Charter School‘s health and wellness center in Camden doubled to more than 2,000.

“Because now the kids are in school, so they’re catching normal viruses – not just COVID,” Dr Rivera said.

The health center is on the tenth floor of the school.

Students, families, staff, and even community members can benefit from COVID-19 tests, vaccinations, and other resources.

When Lorna Quintana’s daughter contracted COVID last November, they learned quickly.

“She had no symptoms, and we already know that because they were tested quickly,” Quintana said.

Clinic operations were briefly interrupted when the school closed, but quickly resumed even when the school was far away.

“In March 2020, when they started closing the school, (I was) still there,” said Dr Rivera.

“It reduced the number of spreads because we could identify it and rectify it immediately,” said COO Stephanie Weaver-Rogers.

The health center grew over the years and hired a pediatrician when the school realized that many of their families had no health care and would end up in emergency rooms.

“We have the prevention side, which is so essential to be really proactive in informing people, educating our community, and then providing the necessary medical services,” said school founder Gloria Bonilla-Santiago.

“I think it’s very unique because most of the schools don’t have a health center, so you are going to waste time getting the kids to school because you have to go to the doctor, the parents are going to lose time. time at work, and we have this internally, ”said Weaver-Rogers.

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