A wide variety of public health programs and services are offered to schools and families in Perth County to enhance the health and well-being of students.
Core services that are available to all schools in Perth County:
School Administrator Support
Policy support to promote student and staff well-being
- Public health staff meet with principals at the beginning of each school year to explore the school’s priorities related to well-being and discuss Health Unit support that may be available. Support is offered to address health-related board or school policies (examples are School Food and Beverage policy).
Infectious and communicable disease prevention and control
- Monitoring of infectious disease rates and investigation of disease outbreaks in an effort to stop their spread as soon as possible.
Response to adverse drinking water results
- If a school’s water system produces adverse results, the Health Unit advises the school of appropriate action.
Cafeteria food safety inspections
- Public Health Inspectors conduct routine inspections and follow-up on complaints and suspected foodborne illnesses.
Smoke-Free Ontario Act promotion and enforcement
- The Act ensures that non-smokers are protected from harmful exposure to second-hand smoke in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places.
Teacher and School Staff Support
Curriculum support on a wide range of health-related topics
- Topic examples include alcohol and other substance misuse, tobacco, ultraviolet prevention, concussions and injury prevention, healthy eating and food safety, healthy sexuality, mental health promotion, oral health, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, road and off-road safety, sleep, suicide risk and prevention, violence and bullying.
Lending of curriculum kits
- Order curriculum kits for classroom teaching available to loan using our online order form. Topics range from bullying prevention to dental health.
Provision of printed resources
- Order posters, handouts, and more using our online order form.
Healthy School Links teacher e-newsletter
- Teachers can sign-up online. Includes curriculum support, trusted links, resources, and more.
- Kindergarten registration and early age-appropriate developmental checklist and screening (occurs every November for children entering school the following September).
- Regular e-newsletter that helps parents stay informed about health issues related to their school-aged child. One edition for kids in grades Kindergarten to grade 6 and another for grades 7 to 12.
- Drop-in group for pregnant and young parents (up to age 24), their children (under age seven) and partners.
- Free classes for pregnant youth and young adults and their partners and support persons.
- The Health Unit conducts immunization clinics within schools across Perth County.
- Health Unit dental staff visit all Perth County elementary schools throughout the year.
- Confidential clinics that provide a variety of services related to sexual health.
Elective services that may be provided to schools upon request, as resources permit:
Healthy School Committee support
Support for a Healthy School Committee that recognizes the importance of a learning environment that contributes to the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of students, staff and families. Youth engagement is a key feature.
General health promotion support
Consultation for creating and implementing a school-wide project or addressing a specific concern or need. Health Unit staff can offer staff and parent presentations, resource provision, curriculum and policy support and the facilitation of small group sessions.
Parenting support – parenting of school-age children and teens
Health Unit staff collaborate with schools to promote positive parenting for healthy child and youth growth and development.
School-Based Public Health Nurse Program
In most Perth County Avon Maitland District School Board schools, Public Health Nurse’s provide supportive counselling in a safe, accepting, non-judgmental environment to enhance learning and promote healthy growth and development. Referrals come from school staff, parents, guardians, and students. Most students 12 and over can consent to service themselves.
Mental Health Promotion
- Self-esteem program for grades 5 to 6 girls or other interested individuals.
- Facilitated by trained female volunteers and a Public Health Nurse. Topics include self-esteem, body image, communication, conflict management, dating relationships, stress management and social media.
- Self-esteem program for grades 5 to 6 boys or other interested individuals.
- Facilitated by trained male volunteers and a Public Health Nurse. Topics include future planning, coping with anger, healthy relationships, dealing with stereotypes, bullying and social media.
Life promotion and coping with stress
- Health Unit staff collaborate with teachers of all grades to encourage students’ skill development related to coping with stress, with particular emphasis on the transition from elementary to secondary school. Build skills that contribute to suicide prevention.
- Resources and group support. Skills can be taught to students of any age to support improvement in memory and attention, reduce stress and anxiety, and help with emotional self-regulation.
Gay Straight Alliance and Respecting Differences committee support
- These committees aim to improve the safety and acceptance of students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer (LGBTQ) or other. Any student who is concerned or passionate about counteracting harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation can join. Support is available to help school’s efforts in initiating and maintaining a Gay Straight Alliance.
Bullying Prevention and Be A Verb
- Support for developing a school-wide bullying prevention program.
- Be a Verb is a program that empowers students to take action when they see bullying happen. It is organized by a committee of students with guidance from at least one staff member and a Health Unit employee.
Nutrition and Healthy Eating Promotion
Eat and learn school nutrition program
- Offers funding and support to schools that want to have a breakfast, snack, or lunch program. The program works with parents, students and school staff to provide healthy food and help schools plan activities.
- Food Handler Training Certification for students interested in working in the food industry.
Safe and healthy lunches
- Information for parents about nutrition and safe food handling practices.
Physical Activity Promotion
Active and Safe Routes to School
- This initiative promotes safe, active transportation to and from school (examples are walking, cycling). Support to create, improve or maintain a route is available.
- Weekly after-school program for girls (grades 7 to 12) to empower them to be more active. Offers non-competitive activities such as yoga and Zumba, and includes an optional health discussion component.
- Planned by a student committee with guidance from at least one staff member and a Health Unit employee.
Sexual Health Promotion
Sexual Health 101
- A Public Health Nurse is available to help reinforce the healthy growth and development curriculum by speaking with students about sexual well-being and the Health Unit’s Sexual Health Clinics. This presentation is targeted at students in grades 9 and 10 and is designed to help youth better access sexual health services in Perth County.
Grade 12 exit presentations on sexual, mental and physical health
- A Public Health Nurse highlights the importance of routine sexual health practices following graduation from high school (including immunizations, prescriptions, services and more).
Tobacco and Substance Use Prevention
- Interactive one hour session that educates students that the majority of youth do not smoke through fun activities and identifying their own unique reasons for being smoke-free.
- A six week interactive, after school program led by high school students employed by the Health Unit. They provide youth with the information they need to make healthy, smart choices.
- Topics covered include: raising awareness about tobacco use, energy drinks, alcohol and drugs.
- Designed for youth ages 14 to 18, to help them quit smoking.
- Will help youth learn why they smoke, what to expect when they quit, and how to increase self-confidence to keep trying (even if they relapse) and make an action plan to quit successfully – for life!
For more information, contact Health Line at 519-271-7600 or toll-free 1-877-271-7348 extension 267.