2022: The Year of the Comeback Kids
By Heidi MilbyDirector, Program & Field
As parents and public health experts working directly with districts and schools, we understand the emotional roller coaster and challenges educators, parents and caregivers faced as students returned to in-person learning over the past school year. From major learning gaps to lost or rusty social skills, to diminished physical and mental health and increased incidents of disruptive behavior, students in underserved communities were especially impacted by the vagaries of the pandemic, school closures and remote learning.
Our partners in Clay County School District south of Jacksonville, Florida, know these challenges all too well. This past year, 2,000 fewer students received flu shots, and the district actually saw early onset type 2 diabetes appear among elementary school students. Just as they had experienced the dramatic loss of important health services for kids throughout the pandemic, they have worked earnestly to bring those services back and address these and other pandemic-related health issues impacting their students.
Taken as a whole, these issues are daunting, but addressing one piece at a time through a holistic approach to whole child health is how Clay County is working its way back to pre-pandemic health. As we work with them to transform their school wellness policies and programs, this process also includes finding small wins that can have big outcomes, like getting students active again with new physical activity and PE equipment. Providing students with new ways to use their bodies and interact with each other has lifted students’ and parents’ spirits and helped put kids back on a path toward better health and well-being.
You can read more about Clay County’s story and how our new model has helped them rebound. Get inspired during National Physical Fitness & Sports Month in May to give your students a boost with physical activity ideas to end the school year (see the Play All May campaign in Events below), and make a plan for the next school year. And remember:
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback.”
Published on: May 11, 2022