Article| Volume 35, ISSUE 3, P304-309, May 2021

The Future of Telehealth in School-Based Health Centers: Lessons from COVID-19

Published:January 29, 2021DOI:


      In response to COVID-19, schools rapidly transitioned to virtual learning. School-based health centers (SBHCs) required immediate shifts from in-person to telehealth services to continue supporting students.


      A qualitative analysis of nationally-led “Listening and Learning” sessions by the School-Based Health Alliance revealed substantial innovation and expansion of telehealth services.


      Providers and sponsoring organizations shared challenges and mechanisms for troubleshooting barriers during online webinars to provide support, education, and resources to SBHCs.


      Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate the value of SBHCs, which continue to target barriers to health care access, protect the most vulnerable, and decrease the spread of disease. Telehealth implementation by SBHCs can support schools and communities, mitigate future strain on the health care system by continuing to keep youth from over-burdened emergency departments and provide needed mental health care. State and federal policy changes can ensure the continued provision of telehealth by SBHCs for disadvantaged youth.


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      Anna Goddard, Assistant Professor, Sacred Heart University, Davis & Henley College of Nursing, Fairfield, CT.


      Erin Sullivan, Senior Program Manager of Research and Evaluation, School-Based Health Alliance, Washington, DC.


      Paula Fields, Director of Programs and Consulting, School-Based Health Alliance, Washington, DC.


      Suzanne Mackey, Director, Policy, School-Based Health Alliance, Washington, DC.