Before the coronavirus pandemic, the health sciences classroom at Kerman High School buzzed with students using medical equipment, including a sonogram wand to find the carotid artery, a Hoyer lift to practice moving each other from a hospital bed to a wheelchair and hospital suture kits to practice stitching skills.

Gerry Villa, a former nurse at Clovis Community Medical Center and now the medical careers instructor at Kerman High, said with real hospital equipment and her experience, she is able to provide students the kind of hands-on learning that translates into healthcare careers.

Villa credits the support of Community Medical Centers with helping grow her program from 26 students in its first year to 66 the next year. Since COVID-19 has shut schools in Fresno County, Villa has used the equipment to produce how-to videos for students who are now getting lessons online remotely.

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