Letter to ESU-9 and Parochial Schools from the medical community in South Heartland Health District.

July 13, 2020


Dear ESU-9 and parochial superintendents, principals, faculty, staff, and school boards:

As your local medical professionals, who care deeply about protecting the health of students and their teachers in our schools, we would like to express our united support for your efforts to open our schools safely to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations in COVID-19 Planning Considerations:  Guidance for School Re-Entry (attached) indicate that masks and face coverings are high priority for students along with social distancing and hand hygiene.  We agree with this recommendation and join the many other professional organizations who support these interventions for the health and safety of our children: Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians, Nebraska Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics, Nebraska Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With Coronavirus still active in our communities, we strongly support the following methods to prevent the spread of this disease and safely reopen schools:

  1. Mask wearing- use of cloth masks or face coverings in all enclosed settings.
  2. Physical distancing- A goal of at least 3-6 feet distance from others (about 2 arms’ length).
  3. Hand washing- Frequent hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Scientific evidence clearly demonstrates the above recommendations will be critical to providing a safe return to school and reduce outbreaks that will threaten school or classroom closure.  Mask usage is most effective when all persons wear them; choosing not to wear a mask endangers others by risking asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread of the virus.  The use of masks interrupts virus transmission and has been effective in curbing the epidemic along with other social distancing measures.  While we understand that there may be specific and limited school circumstances where continuous use of masks is not possible, masks are safe and have been successfully used with no additional health risks in a variety of settings including the pediatric population.

Thank you for your leadership and for your key roles in providing a safe environment for our children, their families, and the whole community, as we work together to navigate through these unprecedented times.


The medical community in the South Heartland Health District

  • Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C
  • Hastings Family Care
  • Family Medical Center of Hastings
  • Blue Hill Clinic
  • Webster County Community Clinic
  • Main Street Clinic, Red Cloud
  • Superior Family Medical Center
  • Nelson Family Medical Clinic
  • Edgar Medical Clinic
  • Quality Health Care Clinic, Sutton
  • Sutton Family Practice
  • Memorial Health Clinic Harvard
  • Memorial Health Clinic Clay Center
  • Pediatric Dental Specialists of Greater Nebraska
  • Obstetricians & Gynecologists, P.C.
  • Central Nebraska Infectious Disease
  • Brodstone Memorial Hospital
  • Webster County Community Hospital
  • Mary Lanning Healthcare

We are willing to support and assist you in providing a safe return to school for your students and staff. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

  • Daniel Leonard DO
  • Shade Whalen MD
  • Noelle Sherrets-Ratigan DO
  • Kristen Johnson MD
  • Janet Howe MD
  • Andria Head PAC
  • Nikki Pfeil PAC
  • April Rostvet PAC
  • Julie Shaw PAC
  • Suzanne Greenquist, DO
  • Jim Miller, MD
  • Curtis Reimer, MD
  • Tim Zimmerman, MD
  • David Schram, MD
  • Logan Pritchard, DO
  • Mackenzie Hemje, MD
  • Brenda Nunley, APRN
  • Tammy Gangwish, APRN
  • Allison Kleier, APRN
  • Zachary Frey, MD
  • Mackenzie Hemje, MD
  • David Little, MD
  • Justin Wenburg, MD
  • Richard French, MD
  • Doug Hentzen, MD
  • Michele Durr, MD
  • Marisa L’Heureux, APRN
  • Julie Theis, MD
  • Timothy Blecha, MD
  • Bob Leibel, MD
  • Jason Hass, PA
  • Matt Gatlin, PA
  • Alisha Fangmeyer, NP
  • Heidi Bergen, NP
  • Kristi Eggers. NP
  • Judy Hohman, PA
  • Michael J. Sullivan, MD
  • Jennifer Harney, MD
  • Mark Jobman, MD
  • Scott Johnson, MD
  • Jeffery Muilenburg, MD
  • Kate Thiele, PA
  • Timothy Widhalm, MD
  • Kathy Davis, APRN
  • Holly Solt, PA
  • Daniel Brailita, MD
  • Abel Luksan, MD
  • Shelley Faris, MD
  • Benjamin Fago, MD
  • Cory Ohlson, MD
  • Maggie Sheehy, MD
  • Matthias Coe, MD
  • Brian Elliott, MD
  • Joshua Sloan, MD
  • Kenneth Shum, MD
  • Morgan LaCompte, PA
  • Melissa Thompson, NP
  • Becky Farrall, NP
  • Chantal Afuh-Leflore, MD
  • Barbara Welch, MD
  • Jessica Meeske, DDS, MS
  • Holly Randone, DDS, MS
  • Gary Lehn, DDS
  • Todd Pankratz, MD
  • Tyler Adam, MD
  • Jill Fish, MD

Supporting Resources:

COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-Entry, American Academy of Pediatrics

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Considerations for Schools, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus Update – April 27, 2020

We are now seeing ALL patients at Children & Adolescent Clinic P.C., in accordance with the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

COVID-19 Video Update – April 9, 2020

COVID-19 Phone & Video Consultations – April 6, 2020

We have made it easier for you to see your practitioner without leaving the home, and it is safe for you and your family.

Children & Adolescent, P.C. is now offering appointments on phone or video (known as Telehealth).

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is an appointment on your phone, tablet or computer, where you will speak to one of our practitioners directly.

Many health issues can be solved through Telehealth and it’s a great pre-screener to touch base with your healthcare practitioner.

Sometimes, the practitioner will need to see you in person and ask you to come in for a follow up appointment, or provide you with the next steps.

How much is a Telehealth appointment?

Telehealth will be billed just as if you came into the office to see your practitioner.

This is a new situation for all of us and though it is an uncertain time, our number one priority is helping you safely and conveniently access the care you need for your child(ren) and we look forward to supporting you in whatever way we can.

Always remember, your child is the center of our world!

For more information, visit our FAQ’s here.

COVID-19 Clinic Update – March 31, 2020

Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. is taking proper precautions as the social spread of the Coronavirus continues.

The clinic is taking the following measures:

  • All clinic staff are wearing N-95 masks, with surgical masks covering as well as gloves during all patient encounters.
  • Staff are donning full PPE in our Sick Care Clinic.
  • All Well Child checks (2 years and under, kindergarten and 7th grade physicals) are being seen in the regular clinic space in the morning with above precautions.
  • All sick patients are first being seen via Telehealth by one of our providers. If the provider deems it necessary for the patient to be seen in person, he/she will see a provider in full PPE car side or in the isolation Sick Care Clinic.
  • The isolation Sick Care Clinic at both the Grand Island and Hastings locations are ventilated appropriately, as to not flow through the rest of the building, and have a separate entrance.
  • All newborn patients have a separate entrance, are seen in the morning hours, and have specified rooms only used for newborn care.
  • Newborns will enter through the west entrance at the Hastings site.
  • The front doors are locked at both locations and even well children are being met outside and masked and their temperatures are being taken to ensure everyone’s safety prior to entrance to the clinic.
  • As a screening procedure, all staff will have his/her temperature monitored twice per day.
  • Clinic Management prepared care packages for staff, so that each staff member can take appropriate precautions at home.
  • The clinic staff have donated food for patient families who may need to be in quarantine.
  • Staff has been educated regarding appropriate precautions and social distancing.

COVID-19 Communication Update – March 30, 2020

As we continue to protect our community, Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. is implementing additional precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

All Well Child (any non-sick patients) visits will be scheduled in the morning, and enter into the regular main entrance of the clinic.  We will not see any Well Children visits in the afternoon at this time, with no exceptions.  Please note that all staff will be masked, and gloves will be used with all patients to decrease any risk.

All Newborn visits will be asked to enter the back of the clinic (employee entrance) and go directly into a designated room at both our Hastings and Grand Island locations.  These appointments will be scheduled in the morning as well.  Please call the clinic upon arrival and a staff member will meet you at the back door and escort you to the room.

All visitor restrictions are still in place, and we ask that you strictly comply with the following:

  • Only one adult should accompany a child for his/her visit.
  • Siblings should not accompany to the clinic, unless no other option is available.If there are two adults AND children other than the patient in the party, one adult will be asked to take the other child/ren to the car, and one adult will be allowed to remain with the patient for the visit.

Telemedicine Is Now Available through CAAC for all sick visits

When you call into Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. to have your child seen for an illness, you will be set up with a telemedicine appointment.  Our front office staff will first connect with you to get all needed information for the call.  One of our providers will meet with you via telehealth via your cell phone, tablet or computer (this is your choice).  The provider will treat your child via telehealth; however, if they feel that your child needs to be seen by a provider, they will recommend that you come to our Sick Care Clinic.

At this point you will be scheduled for a time at the Sick Care Clinic by the providers nurse.  This Sick Care Clinic is on side of our buildings and uses the side entrance in Hastings, and the side employee entrance in Grand Island, as to keep our sick and well children separated.  Additionally, our staff has been separated for safety as well.  You will be asked to wait in your car until a staff member meets you and escorts you to the Sick Care area.  Signage is in place to help direct our patients to the correct area.

Thank you so much for your diligence during this time that is unique to all of us.  Your children are our world, and we want to do everything we can to keep them safe, while caring for their needs.

COVID-19 Communication Update – March 25, 2020

Your family is part of our family at the Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. The clinic is in daily contact with local and national health departments, Omaha Children’s Hospital, The University of Nebraska Medical Center and various pediatric practices throughout the state of Nebraska.  Every hour, recommendations and modifications to the healthcare environment are implemented to reduce potential exposure and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We must do our part as well to advocate for the children in our care.

In conjunction with our regional leaders and local colleagues, effective immediately, all well child checks occurring from the newborn to 18 months visit as well as kindergarten physicals and seventh grade physicals with occur between 8am and 12pm at either clinic site, exclusively. There will be no exceptions to this. This modified schedule will take effect immediately and remain in effect for the duration of the summer unless national and state health departments recommend otherwise.

The clinic is currently in the process of rolling out a telehealth platform which will be live and available for widespread use no later than Monday, March 30, 2020. Parents will be able to access healthcare providers remotely through a secure link on their phone, tablet or computer and have real time, face-to-face interaction with the healthcare provider who can better risk stratify, triage and render medical recommendations. This may result in the provider requesting that subsequent care, including an ‘in-person’ visit be arranged as well.  As we finalize the plan, we will continue to keep you updated using our social media sites.

Thank you for helping us keep the spread of this virus as controlled as possible. We appreciate each and every family represented at our clinic.  Please keep all healthcare professionals in mind as we address this new frontier, and know that your health and safety is at the forefront of all we do.  Your children are the center of our world!

Dr. Shade Whalen
Dr. Daniel Leonard IV

COVID-19 Communication for Parents/Patients

As a precaution to protect the community, Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. is following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All individuals entering Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. at either location will be screened for travel exposure and wellness prior to or upon arrival.

We will attempt to schedule all Well Child (any non-sick patients) visits in the morning and all Sick visits in the afternoon at both clinics. This is in an effort to keep our well children from being exposed. If a parent/guardian insists on a Well Child visit in the afternoon, please note the following disclaimer:

We will be happy to see your well child in the afternoon, but please know that is not our recommendation due to potential exposure. If a parent/guardian insists that a well child be seen, the following question will be asked:

  • Is your child diagnosed with an immunosuppressed condition such as Asthma or Chronic Lung Disease/Diabetes/Heart Disease/Severe Prematurity? If so, we can only schedule your child during the Well Child visit designated time.

To protect the health of patients, families and staff, Children and Adolescent Clinic, P.C. has implemented visitor restrictions as follows:

  • No more than two adult visitors/guardians with each child.
  • Siblings should not accompany to the clinic, unless no other option is available.
    • If there are two adults AND children other than the patient in the party, one adult will be asked to take the other child/ren to the car, and one adult will be allowed to remain with the patient for the visit.

Patient Questions asked when scheduling sick children:

We will ask all individuals coming into the clinic the following screening questions:
1. Has anyone coming into the clinic had any known direct contact with any individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19? ​Yes/No
2. Have you or anyone in your household traveled outside the United States in the last 2 weeks? ​Yes/No
3. Do you have any of the following symptoms?
a. Fever of 100.4 degrees F or higher? ​Yes/No
​   b. Cough? ​Yes/No
c. Shortness of Breath? ​Yes/No

Note: Screening questions are not an indication of the COVOD-19 virus.

Children and Adolescent P.C. has set up areas at both locations to see suspected COVID-19 cases, that are away from the general public. In addition, we will be using PPE precautions (masks, glove, gowns and eyewear) as recommended by the CDC.

While the pediatric population is not currently seen as high risk with the COVID-19 virus, Children and Adolescent P.C., is dedicated to the health and wellness of your children. We will continue to keep you updated as more information emerges about the virus.