Dental screenings and fluoride varnishes, flu shots, school supplies aren’t normally something that you would expect to be free. 

The average cost of a dental visit without insurance can run about $175, while flu shots fall between $5 and $45. As for school supplies, the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, discovered in a recent survey that parents would be hitting a record high of $789 in back-to-school spending this year.

All of these costs add up, especially during a recession with more than 22 million people unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UnitedHealthcare was planning to help Plano families with its Plano Families First Health & Wellness Fair on Saturday, offering free dental screenings and fluoride varnishes for children, free flu shots (first come/first serve basis), free school supplies, and a variety of community and educational services. 

“I am humbled by the generosity, determination, grit and innovation of the Plano business community,” Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere said Thursday morning in a prepared statement. “They have rallied and dug deep to support the Plano Families First Health Fair despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. 

“This year we know hardships are more widespread than ever. My hope is this event touches the lives of our families to make Plano healthier and better for years to come.”

A couple of hours later, the event was cancelled.

Plano officials sent another press release Thursday afternoon to explain why: “After reviewing the current COVID conditions in the City of Plano and considering the potential size and duration of this event, the City of Plano has cancelled Plano Family First Event scheduled for Saturday, October 17, 2020.” 

According to Plano’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been a total of 4,037 total confirmed cases, while 3,861 have recovered. As of this writing on Thursday afternoon, there were 176 active cases, with 16 cases added within the last 24 hours.

In the Thursday afternoon press release, Plano officials didn’t indicate if or when the event would be rescheduled. City Manager Mark Israelson said that he understands how important the Plano Families First Health & Wellness Fair is sorely needed in the community.

“While we are disappointed that we will not be able to enjoy this health and wellness event, the safety of our residents, volunteers and staff continues to be our greatest priority,” City Manager Israelson said. “We thank Plano residents and all who are involved in this event for their continued patience and understanding at this time.”

Christian McPhate

Christian has been working as a freelance journalist in North Texas for more than a decade. His stories have appeared in the Dallas Observer, the Houston Press, and Rolling Stone magazine. He covers a...