South Carolina school districts open clinic as flu spreads through state

ROCK HILL, S.C. — South Carolina is dealing with a high number of flu cases, and now some local school districts are doing something to fight back against the surge in sickness.

That includes a new clinic that opened in a Rock Hill elementary school to help families, and it’s helping parents diagnose their children quickly.

Andrea Blanton, a mom and a nurse, knows firsthand the impact that sicknesses like the flu can have on school children.

“I’m also a nurse at an emergency department, so we’re seeing it like crazy. We’re just doing stuff at home trying to keep them safe, keep them good,” said Blanton.

This is where Rock Hill Schools is stepping in to help keep kids safe. The district just partnered with the Department of Health and Environmental Control, opening a free flu and Covid testing clinic at Belleview Elementary School.

“Hopefully it’s reducing transmission if you know that you’re either COVID or flu positive,” said Kendra Neely, a school services program manager with DHEC.

Neely says the testing sites were made possible with federal grant money. School districts have to request the clinics, but once they open, teachers, students, and their families can use the facilities.

“Right now with flu numbers being so high, I think access to testing has been limited. It’s been difficult to see a provider or get in and out of urgent care or ER,” Neely said. “So hopefully this can be an added benefit for the community.”

Rock Hill school leaders say in just the month of November, more than 400 students tested positive for the flu. In addition, nearly 200 students reported symptoms but were never tested for flu or Covid.

“It passes around real fast,” said Blanton, who added that she’s grateful and hopeful the program will help kids. “Like I said, I work at an ER, so it’s hard for people to come in, and they have to wait hours just to get tested. So this is very convenient.”

DHEC tells Channel 9 that about 20 school districts across the state have expressed an interest in the program. Near Rock Hill, the York, Chesterfield and Lancaster school districts have signed up for these clinics.

YSD1 has testing available Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m . to 2 p.m. at York Comprehensive High and Floyd D Johnson Technology Center. For those in Rock Hill, you can get information on testing by calling 803-980-2016.

(WATCH BELOW: Teens accused of murder plot in Rock Hill to remain in jail)