Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: April 1, 2013
NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK, CHILD HEALTH AT SCHOOL
The role of school nurses in Delaware schools is critical in supporting the health and well-being of children so that they can
enter the classroom ready to learn. School nurses work closely with public health nurses to safeguard the health of school
children, however, nurses are just one aspect of quality school health. Parent engagement, community support, and school policies
are also important. During National Public Health Week (April 1-7, 2013), consider ways to improve student health, grades,
attendance, and behavior:
- Support school efforts to provide all children with access to nutritious meals, regardless of their family's income. Kids need
healthy breakfasts and lunches to learn. Ask your school for information on the free and reduced lunch program.
- Work with your school to ensure that school vending machines offer water and juices instead of high-sugar sodas, and healthy
snacks instead of high-fat, high-sugar junk food.
- Support school efforts to teach kids to say no to tobacco, drugs, and alcohol; to delay sexual activity; and to be educated
about preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. While Delaware schools are smoke-free, you can advocate
for smoke- and tobacco-free policies at public areas where children are present.
- Speak up about the importance of physical education at school. Overweight and obesity causes diseases like cancer and diabetes.
Over 25% of Delaware public schools have met the Healthier U. S. School Challenge. Find out if your school is one of these. Learn
more about First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! Campaign at www.letsmove.gov.
- Safety matters. Ask your child about the fire and safety drills that are held regularly in school. Find out about safe paths
for walking to school. While Delaware public school playgrounds meet safety standards, if you have an improvement idea, share it
with the school principal.
- Bullying is hurtful. Ask your school about their policies against bullying and how kids experiencing bullying know where to get
help. A 2008 Delaware law requires each district and charter school to have a bullying policy. http://www.doe.k12.de.us/infosuites/students_family/climate/files/Bully%20Prevention%20Law%20Outline.pdf.
- Promote good dental health by teaching the importance of having dental cleanings at least twice per year, brushing three times
daily, and flossing daily. The Division of Public Health's dental van visits high-risk elementary schools to provide sealants that
prevent cavities. The uninsured can also access free dental care through this link: www.freedentalcare.us/st/delaware.
- Schedule an appointment with the pediatrician. Well-child visits continue to be essential as children get older. Each growth
stage is important to the child growing into a healthy adult. All children entering Kindergarten and Grade 9 are required to have a
health examination; annual exams are also recommended. Children should receive their recommended immunizations from their health
For more ideas on how to improve health and safety at school, visit www.nphw.org.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health
and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.