The Health Center is expanding its services for Walla Walla Public Schools’ middle and high school students.

The nonprofit center, already providing mental health support to students, will now begin offering free virtual non-emergency medical appointments for sixth- to 12-graders who do not have medical insurance.

Non-emergency conditions that can be treated virtually include headaches; problems with eyes, skin, stomach problems and sleep; joint and muscular pain; anxiety; cold symptoms; sore throat; and reproductive health issues.

Appointments can be made via the same school-provided Chromebooks that students use for distance learning.

Suzanne Knapp, The Health Center’s business manager, said the center had previously offered these services, as well as its mental health services, in person.

“During COVID, we had to stop some of our medical care,” Knapp said. “We transferred all our mental health care to telehealth.

“We have wanted to be able to help in a broader way with our medical care,” Knapp continued. “So we worked together with Dr. Tim O’Connor, who oversees our medical services, and our nurse practitioners, to come up with a plan to be able to offer at least basic services.”

Christy Krutulis, Walla Walla Public Schools executive director of teaching and learning — who is also on the board of directors of The Health Center — said the partnership between the two organizations is a great benefit to students, even outside of the pandemic.

“The collaboration of Walla Walla Public Schools and The Health Center personnel allows for a more immediate plan to be implemented to support students while they are on campus,” Krutulis said.

She said the center is also adding an additional mental health counselor to the staff already placed at Walla Walla High School and Pioneer Middle School.

“This additional support will help staff in the buildings respond to the needs of more students, primarily in need of mental health supports,” Krutulis said.

Students can contact help@thehealthcenterww.org to set up a virtual appointment.

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at jeremyburnham@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.