Pekin Community High School (PCHS) introduced a new element to its registration process for the 2021-2022 school year: one-stop shopping.

As incoming PCHS freshmen and transfer students registered for classes Thursday, they also had an opportunity to sign up for or receive such state-required services as physical examinations, immunizations and dental examinations. According to PCHS Principal Joel Schmieg, the school’s insurance provider, BlueCross BlueShield, coordinated the event with Familia Dental and the Tazewell County Health Department to provide on-site dental exams, physical exams and meningococcal conjugate vaccines.

“This is the first year we’ve offered this service,” he added.

According to Rachel Borton, a family nurse practitioner with the Tazewell County Health Department, getting appointments can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Additionally, some local families may lack medical insurance and are not able to afford required services.

“We came to what we feel like was a good, convenient location,” Borton added. “Parents coming to register students could come to a place they’re familiar with. We were happy to come here, where they would feel more comfortable to get these free services.

Schmieg estimated that about 40 students signed up to take advantage of the services offered. Jason Hubert had already taken care of the medical and dental requirements for his sons, senior Joshua and freshman Caleb, but was impressed with the convenience of being able to take care of those requirements while getting students registered for classes.

“For families that aren’t able to get it done elsewhere, it’s nice that they can do it all here,” he said.

While this is the first year that PCHS hosted the opportunity to combine free medical and dental examinations with course registration, Schmieg indicated that it would not be the last. PCHS staff has already discussed the possibility of expanding the availability in the future, and inviting other Pekin schools to participate.

“Some of our family members right now are working two different jobs or are working long hours and can’t get their students to (medical and dental) appointments,” he added. “So, it really helps out for them to come into our school and get it all done in one stop.”