Tag Archives: schools

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.

National Immunization Awareness Month

By Betsy Crick

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August means back to school, and it’s also National Immunization Awareness Month. While you’re buying school supplies and planning to meet your child’s teacher for the very first time – don’t forget the most important item on your list: making sure your son’s or daughter’s vaccinations are up to date.

Important Updates:

  • Children in 5-year-old kindergarten and first grade are required to have two doses of chicken pox vaccine.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses for better protection against the disease.
  • South Carolina 7th, 8th and 9th graders are required to have one dose of tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster vaccine.  This booster vaccine is called Tdap.  In addition, there are other vaccines recommended for adolescents, including vaccines to protect them against meningitis and HPV-associated cancers.  Talk to your health care provider about these adolescent vaccines.
  • Flu season is just around the corner!  CDC recommends that everyone who is 6 months of age and older and can receive the flu vaccine should get the vaccine as soon as it is available.  Stay tuned for more information about school-located vaccine clinics which will be offered this fall.

Click here for the 2015-2016 “Required Standards of Immunization for School Attendance” and the “Required Standards of Immunization for Day Care Attendance.”

Many illness outbreaks in schools and child care facilities are due to vaccine-preventable diseases such as flu and pertussis. Getting all required vaccines is important and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease.

Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your child may need. To locate the DHEC Clinic nearest to you, please visit our website.

Healthy Habits:
There are some other actions you can take to help protect yourself, your family and those around you from getting sick, including:

  • Frequent handwashing. Wash your hands with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough with a tissue or the crook of your elbow – not your hands. Be sure to cover your mouth and nose. If using a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately and wash your hands.
  • Stay away from others who are obviously sick. The best way to avoid them is by keeping a safe distance.
  • Stay home from work, school and errands when you’re sick. You don’t want to make others around you sick.
  • Live healthy. Keep yourself strong by eating properly, exercising, and getting plenty of rest.

Oh SNAP! DHEC’s Shorus Manning receives glowing review for helping students make healthy choices

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By Cassandra Harris

As part of her work at the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Shorus Manning travels to elementary schools across South Carolina to help students develop skills for making healthier food and lifestyle choices. Noting her professionalism and caring attitude, Parent Teacher Liaison Freddie Harrell recently took the time to share glowing remarks on Manning’s continued efforts to provide nutrition services to the students and teachers at JP Thomas Elementary.

“She is doing an excellent job here at our school,” said Harrell. “The teachers, as well as the students, love her and they look forward to working with her each year.”

During her most recent visit, Harrell explained, “The moment she walked up to the classroom there was an uproar because she remembered the students, and they remembered her, from kindergarten.”

Manning is a registered and licensed dietitian for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education program with the Office of Professional and Community Nutrition Services here at DHEC. Working with stakeholders across the state, she provides nutritional education to individuals in a variety of settings, including elementary schools, head starts, senior centers, churches, and parks and recreation sites, among many others. Continue reading