The Bartholomew County Council has voted to accept a $330,000 state grant that local health officials plan to use to fund salaries for as many as three full-time nurses, pandemic planning at schools and bolster vaccination efforts for a variety of communicable diseases.
The grant, called the Crisis CoAg COVID-19 Workforce-School Liaison Grant, was awarded by the Indiana Department of Health and will provide the local health department with funding from July 1 to June 30, 2023, said Bartholomew County Director of Nursing Amanda Organist during the Bartholomew County Council meeting Tuesday.
It is the second consecutive year that the health department was awarded the $330,000 in grant funding, Organist said. The local health department has been using the funding to pay the salaries of two contract nurses but has enough money to bring on a third nurse.
“I’m just having trouble, as with everyone else, getting some employees,” Organist said during the meeting.
Besides bankrolling up to three nurse salaries, the money also will be used to fund “monthly communications” with local schools and vaccination clinics for a variety of illnesses, Organist said.
Some of the “monthly communications” with schools include “updates with vaccines, checking in if they need assistance, communicable disease information, outbreak/pandemic planning,” among other things, Organist said.
“We have a great relationship with all the schools in the county,” she said.
Currently, local officials do not expect the grant funding to be available next year, Organist said.
Additionally on Tuesday, the county council gave approval to the Bartholomew County Health Department to use $7,500 to purchase a new vision screener for nurses to use in local schools. “It’s an upgrade of what we currently have, and it seems to work better for the young kiddos,” Organist said.