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BPS and 2020 On-site Launch ‘Vision for Boston’ Pilot Program
BOSTON — Monday, January 13, 2020 — The Boston Public Schools (BPS), 2020 On-site and eyewear brand Warby Parker have partnered to launch “Vision for Boston,” a pilot program offering BPS students free, comprehensive eye examinations and corrective eyewear.
The program brings the eye doctor to students in their schools. 2020 On-site licensed optometrists and specialists will visit 13 BPS schools over 20 days beginning January 6. All students in participating schools are eligible to receive free eye exams, and any form of health insurance will be accepted. Students without health insurance will not be asked to pay. Any student found to need eyeglasses can choose a pair at no cost.
“The Boston Public Schools is committed to providing our students with the resources they need to thrive academically and throughout their lives,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “A healthy body means a healthy mind, and this all hands on deck community support will allow our young people to become more engaged in their education, further preparing them for success."
2020 On-site, a leading provider of on-site vision care for businesses and schools, founded in Boston, previously partnered with individual BPS schools beginning in 2015. In recent years, 2020 On-site has visited over 30 schools in the Boston area. Other organizations, such as the New England College of Optometry (NECO), Boston Medical Center, and Prevent Blindness have also partnered with BPS Health Services to assist with state-mandated vision screenings for many years. BPS Health Services met with these organizations to combine and expand efforts, with the goal of creating a district-wide vision initiative.
“It’s fantastic that we’re kicking off 2020 by making sure our students’ vision needs are being met inside their own schools,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “I am grateful to 2020 On-site and all the partner organizations that help us to provide essential vision screenings and optometry services for students, easing the financial burden on our families.”
There are several mandated health screenings for students required by state law. All BPS students in grades K0-5, 7, and 10 must receive a vision screening in school. Students are screened by BPS nurses and health paraprofessionals. In addition, NECO students and instructors also visit schools to assist with screenings. All students who do not pass their vision screenings are flagged as requiring a full eye examination.
Families were asked to complete consent forms to permit students to participate in the pilot program. 2020 On-site will provide students in grades 4-12 a complete, comprehensive eye exam. Any student found to need corrective eyewear will have the opportunity to choose a pair at no cost. Students in grades K0-3 can also choose eyeglasses, for no cost, if the school has a copy of a recent prescription, written within the last year.
Through the pilot program, Warby Parker will provide free prescription eyeglasses to students that need them. The company has designed a line of glasses specifically for students that are part of this program and Warby Parker’s Pupils Project initiative.
"Warby Parker opened its first store in Boston nearly seven years ago. We've loved being part of the city's rich, historic community and look forward to making an impact on its students by providing access to free glasses through this public-private partnership," says co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal.
Vision exams will take place both inside schools and onboard 2020 On-site’s mobile vision center, an eye clinic on-the-go. 2020 On-site optometrists and vision specialists will conduct pre-testing, including capturing a high-definition image of the retina and an eye pressure test for glaucoma detection, before students receive a comprehensive eye exam using fully-digital, top-of-the-line equipment.
“So much of learning is visual. While we know that long-term educational performance is closely linked to a child's ability to see clearly in class, many students lack access to routine eye exams," said Alexis McLaughlin, CEO of 2020 On-site. "2020 On-site is incredibly proud to once again partner with Boston Public Schools to bring free eye exams and glasses to students who need them. Expanding access to vision care for all is central to 2020 On-site's mission, and we can't think of a better place to channel our passion than in our own community.”
Thirteen BPS schools are participating in the pilot. Schools were recommended by Boston Public Schools Health Services Department due to their high need of vision support, while school administration and school nurses advocated for their school communities to participate. The participating schools are: Blackstone Elementary, BTU Pilot K-8, Conley Elementary, Curley K-8, East Boston High, Henderson Upper, Hernandez K-8, Irving Middle, JFK Elementary, King K-8, McCormack Middle, Sumner Elementary and Umana Academy.
About Boston Public Schools
The Boston Public Schools (BPS), the birthplace of public education in the United States, serves nearly 55,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 125 schools. BPS is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families, and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career, and life.
About 2020 On-site
2020 On-site is a Boston-based startup revolutionizing how healthcare is delivered. 2020 On-site brings state-of-the-art mobile vision centers to companies and schools so employees and students can get a comprehensive eye exam right outside their front door. Each mobile vision center is outfitted with a retail store which enables customers to purchase contacts and glasses. 2020 On-site has over 460 corporate clients in Boston, Atlanta and Chicago, and is continuing to expand across the country.
2020 On-site has been deeply committed to expanding access to care for all since its founding. The startup has been a partner of the Boston Public Schools since 2015 and the Atlanta Public Schools since 2017, donating eye care to students in need. A portion of the proceeds from 2020 On-site’s corporate business supports their schools program. For more information please visit, www.2020onsite.com.
About Warby Parker
Warby Parker was founded in 2010 with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Every idea starts with a problem. Theirs was simple: glasses are too expensive. By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, they’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear starting at $95 (a fraction of the going price).
Warby Parker also believes that everyone has the right to see. Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners utilize public and private-sector partnerships to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. To date, Warby Parker has distributed more than five million pairs of glasses to people in need.