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District chosen as pilot for state-wide initiative

Posted on: April 3, 2020
State chosen

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District has been chosen as the state of Ohio’s pilot district to improve broadband connectivity within the Switzerland of Ohio school district. This program is an initiative in conjunction with Governor DeWine’s Mental Health Initiative and Lieutenant Governor Husted’s InnovateOhio Initiative. 

Mrs. Lydia Brodegard, the District Behavioral Specialist and Woodsfield Elementary’s Athletic Director, first received news of the potential project in November 2019. She was notified that the School-Based Health Care Plan had been selected by the Governor’s office for review of a special project with his personal office in conjunction with OH Medicaid. Switzerland of Ohio Local School District was announced as the pilot district for this initiative in January 2020. 

Mrs. Brodegard describes two phases to this program. The first phrase being that “before the end of the year, mental health professionals will be able to communicate with a child at any school from any school, roughly by September 2020.” The second phase is that “a mental health professional will be able to communicate with a child in any school from the provider’s office.” 

The Telehealth pilot project comes with a $1,000,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid. The District will be focusing on addressing the need for high-speed internet across the District by improving broadband connectivity, which will allow for additional ways for students to utilize Telehealth for behavioral health and other critical school-based health services, including prevention and treatment. 

In “InnovateOhio Issues Statewide Broadband Strategy,” Governor DeWine states: 

“The lack of broadband connectivity throughout Ohio is putting us at a competitive disadvantage… Our team at InnovateOhio is working to improve access for Ohioans and build a best-in-class network throughout the state.The Ohio Broadband Strategy identifies ways to increase service by leveraging our state assets and resources, encouraging public-private partnerships, and coordinating broadband expansion with economic development initiatives.” 

What does this mean? 

    • The best Broadband internet will be made available to all school buildings
    • Telehealth equipment and training will be made at all school buildings
    • Medicaid is funding the project because of Switzerland’s concentration on behavioral/mental health
    • The Governor’s office will also fund, set up legal agreements, and see the entirety of the project through

Mrs. Brodegard says, “Together with our district, our community, and our state supporters, we will provide needed services to our students’ education, social and emotional learning, and mental health!”