A new partnership between Helen Arnold elementary school and Cleveland Clinic Akron General is giving the school’s students an opportunity to receive free health care.

The Akron School Board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the school and the hospital during its regular meeting Monday that will allow Akron General to bring its mobile unit to the elementary school to provide primary care to students.

Debra Foulk, the executive director of business affairs for Akron Public Schools, said it was the hospital that initially approached the school with the idea, choosing Helen Arnold in particular because of its close proximity.

Foulk said Cheryl Goliath, the executive director of medical education and research at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, had a vision of physicians developing relationships within the community and giving back to others, so she approached the elementary school with the idea. Goliath was not available for comment Monday.

The mobile unit will provide students at Helen Arnold with a wide swath of primary care for free, including physicals, chronic health management, check-ups and even prescriptions. Akron General’s Partners Physician Group will cover the costs.

The partnership is effective immediately, starting with a mobile unit from the hospital that will be on site to provide immunizations to students from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday during the Helen Arnold CLC’s open house at 450 Vernon Odom Blvd.

All five of the vaccinations required to enter kindergarten in the state will be available. Those vaccines are Hep B for Hepatitis B; DTAP/DT for tetanus, diptheria and whooping cough; IPV for polio; MMR for measles, mumps and rubella; and varicella for chicken pox.

The school will host two more vaccination sessions this week from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday and Friday.

School starts for grades 1-9 at most Akron Public Schools, including Helen Arnold CLC, on Wednesday. Kindergartners in the entire district go back to school Sept. 5.

LaMonica Davis, the principal at Helen Arnold CLC, said new students have 14 days to get up-to-date on their vaccinations once they’ve enrolled at the school.

She said one benefit of the partnership between the school and Cleveland Clinic Akron General is easing the burden on families new to the area.

“We want to make this service available for them so they don’t have to worry about going to find a doctor,” Davis said.

The mobile unit will be on site twice a month for the rest of the school year to provide the vaccinations, although an exact schedule is not yet set.

Davis said the goal is to expand immunization offerings to other schools in the school district in upcoming years.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom.