Tag Archives: schools

DHEC in the News: More Focus On The Flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC: Protect Yourself and Get Your Flu Shot

Flu activity is continuing to increase in the Palmetto state and while it’s unknown when the flu season activity will peak, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging South Carolinians to protect themselves against the flu.

“The Influenza A strain continues to be the most frequently reported this season in South Carolina and nationally,” Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC Immunization Medical Consultant, said. “When there are high levels of the H3N2 strain circulating, there tends to be more severe illness and a higher number of deaths.”

46 people in South Carolina have died from the flu, DHEC says

GREENVILLE, S.C.Flu activity is continuing to increase in the Palmetto State and while it’s unknown when the flu season activity will peak, officials with The Department of Health and Environmental Control are encouraging South Carolinians to protect themselves against the flu.

As of Jan. 20, 46 people in South Carolina have died. Individuals over 65 have the highest hospitalization rate and number of deaths, DHEC officials said. About one-third of all laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported this season are in older adults.

DHEC confirms the flu is severe this year, but not unlike past H3N2 seasons

As flu deaths and hospitalizations keep mounting in South Carolina, public anxiety seems to be rising, too.

Numbers published by the state health department this week show influenza activity is widespread throughout the state. In fact, it’s widespread across the country. The flu is everywhere — all at once.

It has hit schools and day care centers and churches. It has even surfaced in the Statehouse and in The Post and Courier newsroom.

Fairfield Co. school reopened after flu-related closure

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) – A Fairfield County school was hit so hard by the flu this week that officials decided to close its doors.

Richard Winn Academy in Winnsboro, SC was closed Wednesday, Jan. 24 due to the flu.

Here Is Why Doctors Say It’s The Worst Flu Season In Recent Years

Columbia, SC (WLTX) — The flu epidemic continues to be on the rise in South Carolina. State health officials say 46 people have died from the flu since the season started.

We are four months into the flu season and currently, there is a widespread epidemic across the country.

Eight S.C. Schools Receive Champions of the Environment Grants

Eight schools have been awarded grants to support efforts to educate the next generation of environmental stewards.

“This year, Champions of the Environment grant program winners will establish wildlife habitats, and develop learning gardens and outdoor classrooms,” said Amanda Ley, DHEC‘s coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. “Environmental education programs like the Champions program provide opportunities for students to become engaged in real environmental issues that go far beyond the classroom and hopefully make a lasting impact.”

About Champions of the Environment

Established in 1993, Champions of the Environment has been empowering youth environmental action for 25 years. Champions of the Environment provides resources and support to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The program is sponsored by DHEC, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

“Some of our first Champions would be in their 40s now, with families of their own,” said Ley. “We hope that they have carried on the culture of environmental stewardship, promoting behavior change in South Carolina.”

The eight Champions of the Environment winners

This year’s grant winners are:

  • Lakewood Elementary School, Horry County — Students will establish a seed library by growing, harvesting, storing, and sharing seeds from locally grown heirloom vegetables.
  • Academy for Technology and Academics, Horry County — Plants will be grown in three different garden systems to determine which one results in better water use efficiency, soil quality, plant production, and labor input.
  • East Clarendon Middle/High School, Clarendon County — An outdoor classroom will be created to teach students about natural habitats, composting and recycling, and the weather’s effect on plant growth.
  • Dutch Fork Middle School, Lexington/Richland Counties — Students in the ACTION (Assisting Communities Together Inspiring Our Neighbors) Program will work with special needs classes to improve an outdoor classroom by increasing plant diversity to attract pollinators.
  • McBee Elementary School, Chesterfield County — The entire school will be engaged in hands-on science by planting and maintaining a garden, building and decorating rain barrels, and composting cafeteria waste.
  • Jackson Creek Elementary School, Richland County — Naturalists from Camp Leopold will help students create a wood duck habitat in the wetland surrounding the school.
  • Porter-Gaud Lower School, Charleston County — Students will cultivate pollinator habitats on campus by restoring an existing nature trail and school garden.
  • Irmo High School, Lexington/Richland Counties — Standard and special education students will join forces to support a bee population by composting cafeteria waste for a pollinator garden.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about the Champions of the Environment program.

DHEC in the News: Infant mortality, flu shots, Zero Harm Award

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

South Carolina DHEC releases new infant mortality data for 2016

(WCIV) — South Carolina DHEC released new information showing that South Carolina’s infant mortality has remained at 7.0 deaths per 1000 births.

This data shows four fewer deaths in 2016 then the in the previous year.

Recent reports say there is a 26 percent decrease in the overall rate of infant mortality in the last 20 years, even though data does show a slight increase in infant mortality among some populations.

DHEC provides flu shots to students

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is working with the school district to provide the flu vaccine at your child’s school this fall. The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu.

Kershaw Health earns zero harm award

Kershaw Health has earned a South Carolina “Certified Zero Harm Award” from the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) in recognition of the facility’s excellent work in preventing hospital-acquired infections.

CDC offers K-12 schools guidance on Zika prevention and response

It’s the beginning of yet another school year, and parents are rightly asking many questions in an effort to make sure students will get the best instruction, guidance and care possible.

What is the teacher’s homework policy and how often does he give tests? How much experience does the school nurse have? Where will medications be kept and how quickly will a student be able to access them if needed? What’s the school’s emergency dismissal plan?

What’s the plan to prevent and respond to the threat of Zika at school?

Wait. What was that? A plan for dealing with Zika? At school?

While parents are not used to asking that question, the fact is schools, like individual households, cities and counties and other entities, can’t ignore the potential spread of Zika.

But schools aren’t left to their own devices. The Centers for Disease Control has developed interim guidance for district leaders and administrators at K-12 schools. The guidance includes information for planning school-related activities and recommends actions schools, in consultation with local public health authorities and government officials, can take to reduce the potential risk for Zika virus transmission on school premises and among students.

CDC notes that there is no evidence that the risk for Zika being transmitted on school properties will be higher than in other local areas. The virus is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, through sexual contact, or from a pregnant woman to her fetus.

The CDC guidance, which will be updated as new information becomes available, provides an overview of the potential roles and responsibilities of public health authorities and school officials, describes prevention measures that schools can take to reduce mosquito exposure, and provides information on responding to a case of travel-associated Zika virus infection or confirmed local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus. Considerations for child care, camp and higher education settings also are addressed.

Click here for information on interim guidance for Zika response planning for district and school administrators.

The latest available Zika virus information, including answers to commonly asked questions, can be found here.

Information on mosquitoes and Zika can also be found at scdhec.gov/mosquitoes or scdhec.gov/zika.

Champions of the Environment: Chesnee High Water Bottle Project

Guest post by Ms. Deborah Ezell , Chesnee High School, Spartanburg School District 2

The Chesnee High School Water Bottle Project began as an offshoot of our recycling program and my marine science class. We discuss the ocean trash patch every semester and the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean. Seeing the amount of water bottles in the recycling bins, I felt it was important to stress the need to reduce the amount of trash we generate all together.

Peer-to-peer engagement

A few students got together to make a video last year to introduce the idea to the school body about the ocean trash patch and the need to reduce the number of plastic bottles we use every day. The video was a necessary undertaking because the student body really had to understand why it is so important to stop using plastic bottles before they would buy into the inconvenience of having to fill their own bottle. They needed to know what was at stake.

The video was shown at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year we began distributing water bottles to the students. We kept coolers of ice water in each wing for students to fill up their bottles anytime during the day. The coolers were difficult to maintain because they had to be cleaned and refilled twice a day. It was very labor intensive and after six months of it the kids were getting a little tired.

Taking it to the next level

Winning the Champions of the Environment Award has allowed us to put in water fountains fitted for bottles and it has made all the difference for our water bottle program. The students in Chesnee are now invested in the program and would not want to go back to the days without the bottle fountain. We have lowered the number of plastic water bottles by 30 percent in 2015. Since January 2016 we have lowered the number by almost 50 percent!

The City of Spartanburg has begun a water bottle program, so I hope our success helps the city make a water bottle program successful across the city. We plan on taking our show on the road and spreading the word at the Spartanburg Earth Day festival and The Spring Fling Festival.

Student pride

I feel like this program will continue to be successful in the future because the students feel a sense of ownership in it. They designed the school recycling logo, created the video, wrote the grant application and then won the award. They feel pride in what they have accomplished and that pride will help keep this program going for a long long time. These kinds of programs can be difficult sometimes, but when the students take ownership of their work you as the teacher can spend more time helping them understand the importance of what they are doing.

 

This post is part of a series of posts on environmental education submitted by DHEC’s Champions of the Environment 2016 winners.

About Champions of the Environment
Champions of the Environment provides resources and support to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The program is sponsored by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. For more information, visit www.scdhec.gov/champions.