Things keep changing for kids, thanks to COVID-19
Are you keeping up? It’s hard when things change so quickly. So much depends on the rate of virus spread in your school and county. As of this moment, here's what we know. 

The DHHR has transitioned to a new health surveillance system and is now using a new platform for COVID-19 contact tracing, officials said this week. Confusion grew between the two COVID-19 tracking maps. One is a county alert system. The other is for public schools and parents. Continued tweaking of the school map has concerned teachers' groups. They question its validity and believe continued tweaking creates more confusion.

Some good news: Last week, the Governor announced that WVDE is now reporting school outbreaks online. The Current Outbreaks in Schools chart lists the school and county where the outbreak has been identified, the number of cases in that facility, the date when the outbreak was identified, and information about whether the outbreak led to full remote learning. 

The Governor has also announced that he has committed $6 million of CARES Act funding to ensure the continued support of child care providers and families through the end of the year.

As of Thursday morning,156 newly confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were reported over the last 24 hours in our state, bringing the total to 15,848. There are currently 3,991 active cases.

15.37% of West Virginia's COVID-19 cases are children between the ages of 0-19 and represent 11.63% of those who have been tested.

WVDHHR's COVID-19 Website
WVDE's COVID-19 Website
West Virginia Feeding Map 
Think Kids' COVID-19 Resource Page
The Health and Hunger Summit takes a candid look at connections between the health care system and community resources that address hunger in West Virginia. Many thanks to UniCare for sponsoring this event. 

Session Three- October 6 at 10am

Health and Hunger From the Community Resource Provider’s Perspective

How are food pantries and resource providers responding to the needs of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic? What do they do when they identify a person who needs to see a doctor? Join us for a candid, collaborative dialogue with leaders in the field from around out state to discuss the current state of our food access system, who is currently accessing their services, challenges to providing these services, and ways we can work together to address food insecurity, for the health of all West Virginians.


Vandalyn Justice, The Salvation Army

Sara Lindsay, Catholic Charities

Roark Sizemore, Pantry Plus More 


Session Four- October 13 at 10am

Bringing Health and Hunger Resources to the Same Table

As the summit series comes to a close, we bring health and hunger policy experts to the table to ask: How can we use what we’ve learned to promote positive policy change between the health care and food access systems? Join us for an audience-engaged conversation about next steps in bridging the gaps between health and hunger.


Alexandra Ashbrook, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

Caitlin Cook, Mountaineer Food Bank

Candice Hamilton, West Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Spencer Moss, West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition


We're closing out this survey soon.

Results will be compiled in a report that we'll share with policymakers around the state. If you live in WV, have children living in your home and haven't completed it, please take this 3-minute survey. 

Take the Survey
Improving Health among Youth in Rural Appalachia: Enhancing School-Based Health Centers
Two years ago, Kelli, Sara and Simon embarked on a three-year fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program. Their research project focuses on school-based health centers here in our state. 

Children in West Virginia display some of the worst health outcomes in the country and experience challenges in accessing high-quality health care. Over one quarter of children live in poverty and one third of children live with obesity. School-based health centers (SBHCs) are a mechanism to provide reliable health care in a location most children find themselves daily – their local school. This research proposes to investigate the characteristics of effective and ineffective SBHCs, focusing on how their features relate to children’s health and well-being. The findings from this research project will be used by researchers, Think Kids and its wide network of partner organizations, health care providers, and state policymakers to improve the quality of care provided by SHBCs and, in turn, advance a culture of health in communities across West Virginia.
The charts above can be found on the project's website

If you're a staffer in a school-based health center and would like to be interviewed for the project, it's not too late! Share your availability on this Doodle poll, and we'll set up an interview (usually lasts an hour). We'd love to have your input. 
What we're reading
The Kaiser Family Foundation has published a brief that examines how a series of economic and societal disruptions stemming from COVID-19 may affect the health and well-being of children and families. It draws on published literature and pre-pandemic data from the National Survey of Children’s Health and the National School-Based Health Care Census, recent survey data on experiences during the pandemic, data tracking the number of cases resulting from school openings, and preliminary reports based on claims data evaluating service utilization among Medicaid and CHIP child beneficiaries. 

Read the report: Children’s Health and Well Being During the Coronavirus Pandemic


PBS reports on a data snapshot from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that shows how vaccinations, screening for childhood diseases, visits to the dentist and even mental health care dropped precipitously from March through May of this year, when doctors’ offices and hospitals put elective services on hold to confront the coronavirus. The data, based on an analysis of billing records, come from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which together cover nearly 40 million low-income children. Among the findings is that despite the increased use of telehealth, there were 6.9 million fewer mental health visits.

Read the article: Virus shutdown took a toll on routine health care for kids

"As the United States’ covid-19 death toll moves relentlessly beyond 200,000, data shows that only about 100 children and teenagers have died of the disease, a fatality rate that is drawing wonder from clinicians and increasing interest among researchers hoping to understand why." The Washington Post reports on COVID-19 statistics compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association. 

Read the article: Child deaths tied to covid-19 remain remarkably low, months into U.S. pandemic

This week, NPR reported on a COVID-19 School Response Dashboard, created with the help of several national education organizations, that currently shows an average of 230 cases per 100,000 students, and 490 per 100,000 staff members, in the first two weeks of September. No one from West Virginia is participating yet in this project. The responses come from public, private and charter schools in 47 states, serving roughly 200,000 students both in person and online, as of Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Read the articleNew Dashboard Tracks Coronavirus Cases In Schools Across 47 States
What's coming up
The Handle with Care Virtual Conference Series continues next week with Dr. Jim Harris. It is no secret that we live in an increasingly complex world and that this complexity has resulted in several challenges for social and emotional development of youth today. In this presentation, Dr. Harris gets back to the developmental basics and helps to give you some ideas about how we can better understand and support youth in an ever-changing and complicated world. Dr. Harris will focus on such topics as the importance of relationships, the value of being challenged, the benefits of success and much more. Registration is $10

The GKVF Summit on Race Matters will focus on Health and Healthcare on Oct 1. Come hear from keynote speaker Camara Jones, a physician and epidemiologist, as well as panelists Lauri Andress, Patrice Harris, and Anthony Woart. Register here

The 21st CCLC Multi-State Conference is a two-day virtual experience, scheduled for October 5-6, that will provide professional development to individuals from the State Education Departments and youth development experts from West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.  This event will share best practices and innovations in afterschool programming serving low-performing students in high poverty areas. The conference will feature three keynote speakers, a networking session, exhibitors, and over 20 workshops. Conference strands will include Middle and High School Programming, Elementary School Programming, Equity, Strong Foundations, Partnerships and Sustainability, and Resiliency. Registration is free. 

Inside Project Hope now provides a suitcase and some toiletries to help meet both the physical and emotional needs of foster care children. According to The Inside Hope Project founder, Pam Reynolds, “Arriving at a new home with something that is theirs helps them feel they belong." Complete an brief application for a "care case" here.

Is it possible to fight infectious disease like COVID-19 – and create a more just world in the process? Watch the award-winning documentary Bending the Arc, and join Partners in Health on Thursday October 22, 2020 07:00 PM EDT for an inspiring live panel discussion. Register here. 
“Thanks for reading The Big Ideas, Think Kids' newsletter. A better West Virginia begins here, with its kids. Check out our newest brochure and if you haven't already, please subscribe."
Candice Hamilton, Board of Directors
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