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Health and education are linked. Healthy young people are better learners and are more likely to complete their education. Those with a good education are more likely to have better health status.
We are your partners in health!
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health works in partnership with school boards and schools to create healthy and supportive environments for students, staff, families and community partners. This work involves:
- providing services, such as immunizations or oral health screenings, either directly within schools or in our Public Health offices; and
- offering health promotion information, resources, and programs on topics such as healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco.
The Important Role of Schools
Promoting well-being is one of the core goals of the Ontario Ministry of Educaton's Achieving Excellence vision. Schools are tasked with developing learning environments that promote and support student well-being - to focus not just on academic success, but also on the whole child so that they may reach their full potential.
By providing quality instruction of the Health & Physical Education curriculum; building school environments that reinforce the health lessons taught in class; and implementing healthy school policies, students will be more likely to adopt healthy behaviours and maintain them throughout their lives.
Together we can create healthy school communities!
General Resources from Public Health:
- 'Welcome to Kindergarten!' Resource
- 'Healthy Bodies - Healthy Minds' Display Series (set of 3 displays available for borrowing. Contact 613-966-5500 ext. 279)
Read through the health topic pages listed above to learn more about how Public Health can support your school.
Learn more about Healthy Schools :
Alcohol and Other Substances
Alcohol and substance misuse education in the school and classroom setting is essential to assist students in gaining and developing the necessary skills and knowledge to make healthier choices. Classroom teachers have a unique opportunity to positively influence the lifestyle choices of their students through role modeling, knowledge and teaching. Alcohol and substance misuse education in the classroom is best achieved by:
- Engaging students in exploring real-world situations and issues related to alcohol and substance use.
- Establishing a learning environment that includes positive role models.
- Connecting with community partners with topic expertise, to support curriculum linked learning in the classroom.
- Providing opportunities for students to practice making reasoned decisions.
- Engaging students in learning through problem-solving.
- Assisting students in making cross curricular connections between personal choices related to substance use or misuse and potential outcomes.
Alcohol and Substance Misuse- Useful Information
Home - School Connections
Illicit Fentanyl in Our Community
The presence of illicit (non-prescription) fentanyl and other illicit drugs containing fentanyl have been identified within Hastings and Prince Edward Counties and surrounding regions. Fentanyl can be fatal even in small amounts.
Curiosity and risk taking are a normal part of the teen and young adult years. The teenage brain continues to develop throughout the early part of adulthood – especially the areas in charge of impulse control. A student may find themselves in a risky situation where alcohol and drugs may be available.
Talk to students about the risks of drug use and overdose. Fact sheets are available to help lead classroom discussions, to share with parents, and for students themselves.
Help reduce the risk of overdose – educate students about the drug; the signs of an overdose; and what to do if someone is in trouble. Get a Lifesaver kit.
Asthma is the most common chronic health condition among children in Ontario. Encourage all school staff and volunteers to learn about asthma and create an asthma-friendly school environment where children are supported to manage their asthma.
Ophea's Asthma Education Initiative includes free resources about asthma management in schools. Supports include:
- An online support network to help support the implementation of Ryan's Law, 2015
- Asthma resource kits for principals and educators
- Checklists for creating asthma friendly schools
The Clean Air Checklist is a tool for classroom teachers to use to improve the air quality in their classroom.
The Ontario Lung Association provides information about asthma and asthma management, free resources, and links to community programs.
Secondary school students who are working in the food industry are welcome to participate in Hastings Prince Edward Public Health’s Food Handler Training Program.
A healthy school nutrition environment exists when schools promote healthy eating through both words and actions. Delivering and modeling consistent messages about nutrition and the food environment ensures that students get the same information about healthy eating whether they are selling items to raise funds, purchasing a snack in the school, or learning in the classroom.
Canada's Food Guide
- Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide – Outlines a healthy pattern of eating for Canadians based on age and gender.
- Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide: A Guide for Educators and Communicators – Information, tools, and key messages to emphasize when teaching Canada's Food Guide.
Promoting Positive Body Image
Educators play a role in providing consistent messages to promote positive body image. Words and actions related to body shape and size that are thought to be helpful may have unintended effects. When children and youth feel good about themselves and their bodies, they are more likely to adopt healthy behaviours like eating well and being active.
Resources and Supports:
- Healthy Bodies - Eat Well, be Active, and Feel Good about Yourself – An overview of key messages related to healthy eating, physical activity, and self esteem.
- National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) – A non-profit organization with resources on eating disorders and body image.
- Reflections on Body Image: The ETFO Body Image Project – An overview of body image in terms of child development and a list of key resources.
P/PM 150 School Food and Beverage Policy
The Ministry of Education issued the School Food and Beverage Policy in 2011. Supporting Tools:
Healthy School Environment
- Foundations for a Healthy School - A resource for healthy school planning from the Ministry of Education, with sample strategies and activities related to healthy eating.
- Guide to School Gardens – Information to create and sustain a school garden, including curriculum connections and resources.
- Fresh from the Farm – Now available in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, this program offers a healthy alternative to traditional fundraising. Students can sell Ontario-grown produce to raise funds while promoting healthy eating habits.
- Bake it Up! – Give your next bake sale a healthy makeover with tasty recipes that comply with the PPM150 Sell Most criteria.
- Bright Bites – Resources and activities to help schools transform their food and nutrition environment – one bite at a time. School teams can earn badges and compete with other Ontario schools in the Hall of Fame.
- Teach Nutrition – Created by Registered Dietitians for Ontario teachers and sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, this website offers information, programs, and resources on various food and nutrition topics for elementary and secondary educators.
- Ophea Teaching Tools – Access lesson plans, supplements, and activities to teacher healthy, active living in compliance with the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum.
- Eat Well and Be Active Educational Toolkit – A poster, activity plans, and images to facilitate teaching about healthy eating and physical activity.
- My Food Guide – An interactive tool that allows students to select their favourite types of food from each food group to create a personalized, printable Food Guide.
- Healthy Kids Quest – A series of free, downloadable modules on healthy eating and physical activity designed for grade 1-3 classes across Canada.
Student Nutrition Supports
Addressing Hungry Students
When teaching about nutrition, it is important to recognize that students may not have access to healthy food or control over the food choices available to them. While it is important to encourage students to bring healthy lunches and snacks to school, they should not feel penalized or stigmatized if they are unable to do so.
Resources and Supports:
- Food Access Guide – Information on free and low cost food and meal programs in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties including emergency food services, food box programs, and community gardens.
- Food For Learning – The lead agency for Student Nutrition Programs, providing financial and organizational support for schools offering meals and/or snack programs for students.
- Popular Fact Sheets for Parents
- At-A-Glance Guide to Ontario's School Food and Beverage Policy – An overview of PPM 150 for parents and students.
- Healthy Kids Community Challenge – A community based program that aims to promote the health and well-being of children in Hastings and Prince Edward counties through physical activity, healthy eating, and other healthy habits.
General Nutrition Support
- Eat Right Ontario – This free service allows Ontario residents to contact a Registered Dietitian with nutrition questions. Call toll-free at 1-877-510-5102 or visit the ERO website.
- Healthy Life Line - To speak to a dietitian from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health about your school's nutrition environment, call the Healthy Life Line at 613-966-5500, ext. 610 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 610. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program conducts two main programs in partnership with schools:
Annual assessment and maintenance of student immunization records under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA)
School-based immunization clinics (Grade 7 Hepatitis B/HPV/Meningococcal vaccines)
1. Annual Assessment of Immunization Records
This activity, perhaps better known as the ‘suspension process’ is required under the Immunization of School Pupil’s Act (ISPA). Public Health is required to have an immunization record for all students attending school. An exemption from immunizations for medical, religious or conscientious reasons can be obtained by completing the appropriate forms available for parents through our website. Completed exemption forms must be sent to Public Health. Only original documents will be accepted.
Overview of the process
- Upon enrolment all parents/students are asked to complete a School Immunization History Form (link found below) and attach a copy of their immunization record. The completed forms and records should be forwarded by the school to Public Health on a weekly basis via the school board courier system (using the light blue folders), by faxing the forms to 613-966-8145 or by an alternative secure delivery method.
- Public Health inputs immunization records into the provincial immunization database.
- During the school year, Public Health will request immunization updates from students in the form of a letter. (Please see the link below for the DRAFT 2017/2018 School Vaccine Schedule for more specific dates for the suspension process during the school year.)
- Public Health will issue a Suspension Order to students who are overdue or missing immunization information.
- Public Health will provide each principal with a list of students receiving a Suspension Order.
- Once a principal receives notification of a Suspension Order for a student, the student MUST be suspended from attending school as of the date on the Order, until either 20 school days has elapsed, or the principal receives notice from Public Health that the Order has been rescinded.
2. School-based Immunization Clinics
Public Health will provide hepatitis B, meningococcal and HPV immunizations to grade 7 students. Immunization nurses arrange the clinics with each individual school.
*Assistance Requested from Schools for Adequate Space
In order to provide a safe environment for administering injections, it is VERY important for staff to have adequate space and seating to immunize approximately 10-15students at one time. Staff prefer to be in a large room such as a library or gym, however other rooms may be suitable as long as they are large enough and have adequate light, air flow and space. Please also avoid stage areas if other activities are happening at the same times as the clinic. Tables and chairs are also required. Your assistance is appreciated!
Important Document Links
Immunization Intake Line: 613-966-5500 ext. 313, Fax: 613-966-8145
Children in schools are more prone to infection. A higher number of respiratory and enteric illnesses occur in this setting. To help prevent the spread of communicable diseases in schools:
- Ensure children in your school are immunized.
- Encourage parents to keep ill children home until they are well enough to participate in all activities.
- Teach children good personal hygiene, including handwashing, not sharing personal items, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or their elbow.
- Properly clean and disinfect surfaces in your school.
Reporting of Communicable Diseases in Schools
Section 265 of the Ontario Education Act prescribes that it is the duty of the principal to report promptly to the school board and to the Medical Officer of Health when the principal has reason to suspect the existence of any communicable disease in the school, and of the unsanitary condition of any part of the school building or the school grounds.
There is a list of Reportable Diseases, as specified under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, which are to be reported to the local Medical Officer of Health.
To report a suspected communicable disease in the school, or absenteeism rates over 10% in elementary schools and 20% in secondary schools (all causes), call the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 349 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
In order for Public Health to properly investigate the report of a suspected communicable disease, the school should be prepared to provide the following information:
- name, date of birth, address and phone number of person suspected of having a communicable disease;
- date of last day in attendance at the school;
- school bus number and bus route information (if applicable); and
- any other information Public Health deems necessary for the investigation.
- Canadian Paediatric Society
- Guide to Common Childhood Infections
- List of Reportable Diseases in Ontario
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offers a number of Infection Control resources that can be used in the classroom. These resources can be obtained by calling the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
- Glow Germ Kit – A useful interactive resource that assists in educating about the importance of hand washing and the appropriate technique.
Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves? – A five-minute video (DVD) on the importance of cough and sneeze etiquette.
This kit and DVD can be borrowed from Hastings Prince Edward Public Health by calling the Communicable Disease Intake Line at 613- 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 349. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511.
- Cover your Cough Poster
- How to Hand Wash Poster
- How to Hand Sanitize Poster
- Hand Hygiene Poster-Child
- Hand Hygiene Poster-Youth
- Hand Hygiene Poster-Adult
- Simple Steps to Germ Free Living Poster
- Tattoos, Piercings, Aesthetic Services
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Any blow to the head, face, neck or body that causes the head to move rapidly may cause a concussion. Children and adolescents are among those at greatest risk for concussin, especially during recess on the playground, physical education classes or sports at school. Research shows that a concussion can have a significant impact on a child's development - congnitively, physically, emotionally and socially.
To help ensure the safety and well-being of students and subsequently support effective learning, all publicly-funded school boards in Ontario are required to have a policy on concussion. The purpose of the policy is to support school staff, students and their families with information on how to minimize the risk of concussion, steps to follow if a concussion is suspected, and management procedures to guide students' return to learning and physical activity for a diagnosed concussion.
To learn more about concussions and school board policies within Hastings and Prince Edward counties, visit these websites:
Oral Health Elementary School Screening
Oral Health program staff visit all provincially-funded elementary schools in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties each school year and screen students in certain grades. These screenings do not substitute a child's regular visit to the dentist.
- Frequently Asked Questions and Information for School Staff - Access detailed information about school screenings, the re-screen process, consent, and where to direct parents for information.
Free Oral Health Clinics
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health offers free preventive dental services to eligible children 0 to 17 years of age. For more information, visit our general oral health page.
Healthy Smiles Ontario
The Healthy Smiles Ontario program is a government-funded dental program that provides free preventive, routine, and emergency dental services for children and youth 17 years old and under from low-income households. For more information, visit our general oral health page.
- Ophea Teaching Tools - Access lesson plans, supplements, and activities to teach oral health information in compliance with the Ontario H&PE Curriculum.
- Your All-Access Pass to a Healthy Mouth Healthy You is a resource designed specifically for the teenaged population. It contains information about oral health as it relates to: smoking, drug use, braces, oral piercings, eating disorders, gingivitis, periodontal disease, mouth guards, and mouth care.
General Oral Health Support
For more information please call our Oral Health program at (613) 966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 680. TTY: 711 + (613) 966-5500 + GA (Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Ophea Healthy Schools Certification
The Ophea Healthy Schools Certification is a six-step process for elementary and secondary schools that guides schools through the steps needed to effectively plan, implement and evaluate activities to improve the health and wellbeing of the entire school community. Schools identify a priority health topic area and can earn Bronze, Silver or Gold Certification based on implementing their plan. Registration for the 2017-2018 school year begins during the month of September!
24-Hour Movement Guidelines
In 2016, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology released the new 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth aged 5-17. These evidence-based guidelines are unique in that they demonstrate the interrelationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep within a 24-hour period. They also highlight the important contribution of light physical activity to overall, daily movement.
Physical Activity Statistics: Children and Youth
Unfortunately, the majority of Canadian children and youth are not meeting the 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Although local-level data is limited, the following resources can provide insight into the physical activity behaviour of the school-aged population.
- 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth
- Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (CAMH) (Grade 7-12 students)
- Early Development Instrument (EDI)Data (Hastings and Prince Edward Child and Youth Network)
The Ministry of Education released the Daily Physical Activity in Elementary Schools Policy in 2005.
Supporting tools and resources:
- E-Learning Module
- Teacher Resource Guides: DPA in Schools
Health and Physical Education Curriculum Support
Research demonstrates that physical activity has positive effects on students’ academic readiness and performance. Incorporating physical activity within the school environment can be made easier with a little planning. The following resources provide many great ways to inspire your students to be more active:
- OPHEA Teaching Tools: Ready-to-use lesson plans, supplements and activities to support Health & Physical Education curriculum.
- Play Sport: Activity-based resource inspired from the Teaching Games for Understanding approach. Includes curriculum linkages to help students develop physical literacy, health literacy and skills for healthy active living.
- Physical & Health Education Canada: Supports the development of health-promoting schools through the provision of information and resources regarding: quality DPA; healthy school environments; quality school intramural recreation; and dance education.
- Passport for Life: Online tool to assess and support students’ physical literacy.
- Active for Life: Contains resources to help educators facilitate students’ development of physical literacy (elementary).
- Have a Ball Together : Provides information regarding physical activity and physical literacy, and includes over 100 great ideas to get kids aged 0-6 years moving (elementary).
- GoNoodle Fun videos to activate kids’ bodies and minds-a great idea for transitions between topics or classes (elementary).
Healthy School Environment
- Ophea Healthy School Certification: Schools can earn Bronze, Silver or Gold Healthy Schools Certification by following a six-step process that is consistent with Foundations for a Healthy School.
- Walk Across Canada Guidebook: Promotes a fun and rewarding way to incorporate walking in the school environment.
- Physical Activity Leaders in Schools (P.A.L.S.): School-led physical activity program to promote intermediate student engagement and leadership.
- Ontario Ministry of Education’s Raise the Bar: Provides training and online resources to support inclusive intramural sports in Ontario schools
- CIRA Ontario: Tools, information and practical ideas to promote, encourage and develop healthy active living and personal development for all through recreational and educational programs.
Research demonstrates the importance of physical activity for child health and development. Providing children with opportunities to develop physical literacy are crucial to establishing motivation, confidence and skills that will support physical activity behaviours throughout their lives.
Find all the tools you need below to host your own physical literacy parent night at your elementary school:
Healthy Kids Community Challenge: A community based program reaching into early years and school settings that aims to promote the health and well-being of children in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties through physical activity, healthy eating, and other healthy habits.
The teen years are a time of major transition, when young people develop many of the habits, patterns of behaviour, and relationships they will carry into their adult life. These habits, behaviours, and relationships impact health in the adolescent years, but also have an impact on potential risks for diseases later in adulthood, as well as the health of future children. Providing education about preconception** and reproductive health topics during the teen years can create opportunities for students to develop healthy behaviours and maintain good reproductive health, both now and in the future.
** Preconception health refers to the health of all individuals during their reproductive years, regardless of gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. It is an approach that promotes healthy fertility and focuses on actions that individuals can take to reduce their risks, promote a healthy lifestyle, and increase readiness for pregnancy, whether or not they plan to have children one day. A comprehensive approach includes taking action at an individual, community and population level to promote preconception health. (Ontario Public Health Association. (2014) Shift-Enhancing the Health of Ontarians: A Call to Action for Preconception Health Promotion and Care. Toronto, ON)
Look for curriculum support on this page, which is coming soon!
Every child has a right to comprehensive sexual health education and access to sexual health medical care. Sexual health knowledge is an important contributing factor to the health and well-being of Canadian youth (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008). HPEPH partners with school communities and educators to ensure that this education is accessible and meaningful to all children.
NEW HPEPH’s Visual Presentations based on Ophea’s Grades 2 to 8 lesson plans
- Grade 2 - 3 Lessons
- Grade 3 - 4 Lessons
- Grade 4 - 4 Lessons
- Grade 5 - 5 Lessons
- Grade 6 - 5 Lessons
- Grade 7 - 6 Lessons
- Grade 8 - 5 Lessons
Sexual Health Clinics
HPEPH offers sexual health clinical services at the following HPEDSB secondary schools:
- Bayside Secondary School (Wednesday mornings)
- Centre Hastings Secondary School (Wednesday mornings)
- Moira Secondary School (Thursday mornings)
- Prince Edward Collegiate Institute (Wednesday mornings)
Students have the choice of attending a school clinic or a Sexual Health Clinic held at one of our community clinics.
HPEPH, Sexual Health Clinic Tours
Arrange a clinic tour for your class or agency group by contacting 613-966-5500 x 298.
HPEPH Sexual Health Program provides both clinical and education/promotion support. In order to obtain information regarding a clinical issue, contact 613-966-5500 x 243. If you require educational support, contact 613-966-5500 x 298.
Smoke-Free Ontario Act - Requirements of Schools
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) requires schools and school boards to ensure that school properties are 100% smoke-free. Tobacco enforcement officers inspect schools to check compliance with the law. Public Health can support schools with:
- laying of charges based on witness information provided by school staff
- enforcement presentations
- information for websites and newsletters
- Dr. Crazy Videos - a three episode YouTube mini-series depicting the dangerous substances used in tobacco products, the harmful effects of tobacco products, and the companies who market them.
- Lungs Are For Life - Ontario Lung Association teacher resource for grades K-12.
- Ophea Teaching Tools - Access lesson plans, supplements, and activities to teach healthy, active living in compliance with the Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum.
- The Academy for Tobacco Prevention - This is a school-based resource targeted for grade 4,5 and 6 classrooms in Alberta to educate and engage students about the harms of tobacco use and the health benefits of never using tobacco products. Please review prior to use to ensure resource connects with Ontario Health & Physical Education curriculum.
Student Tobacco Cessation Support
Quit4Life - A resource to help students quit smoking or using other tobacco products.
- FTI "Freeze the Industry"
- LML "Love My Life...Tobacco Free"
- Play, Live, Be Tobacco-Free
- YATI (Youth Advocacy Training Institute) Fact Sheets
General Tobacco Support
Call the Tobacco Talk Line at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803 ext. 600. TTY: 711 or 1-800-267-6511 Monday to Friday (8:30 am to 4:30 pm).
Sun Safety & UV
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Canada and is highly preventable. Childhood exposure to UV Radiation (UVR) is an important contributor to the development of skin cancer in later life.
Schools play a major role in minimizing student exposure to UVR (highest risk is between 11 am and 3 pm) and in both establishing and maintaining sun safety habits for a lifetime.
An effective sun safety school culture provides the opportunity for staff and students to enjoy the many benefits of outdoor play and physical activity while offering protection from UVR. This is done by establishing effective routines, enhancing shade on school grounds and developing and implementing a sun safety policy.
Develop a Sun Protection Policy
Sun Safety Policy Guidelines for schools is a best-practice guide to developing a sun safe school culture. It offers a step-by-step policy process and examples of exciting sun safety school and community programs.
Create a Sun Safe School Environment
SunSense Program (grades 1-6)
The SunSense program supports elementary school communities in creating a sun safety environment through education, policy development and awareness of sun safe practices. The program includes a policy development guide, as well as supporting tools and resources, such as curriculum resources, communication tools and FREE materials for download or order (UV bead bracelets and luggage tags). The program is a joint project of Canadian Cancer Society, Ophea and Evergreen.
Other Sources of UV Radiation
Tanning beds are another significant source of UVR. Young people are at particular risk: using a tanning bed before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) by 59 percent. In Ontario it is illegal for persons less than 18 years of age to use a tanning bed. More information can be found on this website, on the Cancer Prevention page found under the “Healthy Living” tab.