Why should educators pay attention to health and safety?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Schools program offers a Whole School Whole Community Whole Child framework for addressing health in schools. A healthy school that supports the whole child has these ten components: physical education and physical activity; nutrition environment and services; health education; social and emotional climate; physical environment; health services; counseling, psychological and social services; employee wellness; community involvement, and family engagement. Learn more about CDC’s ten components.
A healthy and safe school environment is essential for learning.
- If students and families do not believe school is healthy and safe, they may not show up in the first place.
- If students and families lack access to health care, they are more likely to miss school.
- If students feel unsafe, ill, or hungry, it is difficult for them to concentrate on learning.
- A physically and emotionally healthy and safe school environment supports the well-being of educators as well as students and their families.
How can schools support physical and emotional health and safety?
Schools can promote health and safety in a variety of ways. Educators can:
- Invest in a positive and welcoming school climate.
- Create a sense of belonging, connection and support among students and adults.
- Provide healthy and nutritious meals.
- Ensure clean environments and reduce mold or pest infestations that trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments.
- Address fears about Covid-19 transmission among students and families.
- Work with health professionals to communicate when students and educators should stay home and when to return to school after being sick.
- Offer easy access to needed health and mental health care to students and their families.
Attendance Works: Scan of Environment and Attendance Tool can help schools identify strengths and opportunities to help create the underlying school features that contribute to positive student attendance, including climate, culture and the physical environment.: https://www.attendanceworks.org/resources/scan-environment-attendance/
Kaiser Permanente: Resiliency in School Environments (RISE) by Kaiser Permanente works with schools and districts to prepare staff to better understand and integrate social and emotional well-being into all aspects of school life.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The brief, The Relationship Between School Attendance and Health, takes a close look at the reasons behind chronic absenteeism, and its adverse impact on health and life outcomes and offers potential solutions.:
CDC Health and Academics: This website page offers fact sheets, research and its Whole School Whole Community Whole Child (WSCC) framework for addressing health in schools.
Mental Health California: Find links to a variety of mental health resources offered in the state. https://www.mentalhealthca.org/resources