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Think Kids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that envisions a day when all of West Virginia's kids are safe, healthy, and aspire to do great things
Kids and COVID-19
West Virginia is in week 10 of Governor Justice's "West Virginia Strong- The Comeback." Last week, youth games with spectators, summer youth camps, and in-person high school graduation ceremonies were permitted. This week, the last week of the re-opening, fairs, festivals and amusement parks were permitted to open as well.

Governor announced that Department of Health and Human Resource's Bureau for Children and Families will issue a one-time payment to foster care families and providers as part of the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19. This payment will provide in-state foster families, child placing agencies, as well as residential and emergency shelters additional financial help for costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past several months.

County boards of education are developing school re-entry plans that address the needs and safety of their students. WVDE has proposed scenarios and considerations that counties may consider when determining re-entry.

Currently, 10.16% of all COVID-19 cases in our state are individuals ages 19 and under. 

WVDHHR's Website
WVDE's Website
West Virginia Feeding Map
Free COVID-19 Testing Dates/Locations
WVDE School Re-Entry Guidance
Think Kids' COVID-19 Resource Page
Have a few minutes? We've partnered with the West Virginia Child Care Association and group homes/emergency facilities across the state to get encouraging cards in the hands of kids who haven't had visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Click.Write.Send. That's all you have to do. Help let them know they're not forgotten. 
On our next webinar
Join us on Friday, July 10 at 12pm for our next webinar. We'll continue to discuss how West Virginia is responding to the needs of its kids during the pandemic. Again this week, the focus will be on COVID-19 and school health. We had great presenters on last week's webinar from Randolph, Roane, Pendleton, and Kanawha Counties and discussed the intricate considerations that each county-- even each school-- must take into account before drafting policy. Do you screen kids before they get on the bus, or when they get to school? How will they eat lunch? How will protocols differ between elementary and high schools? Where do you quarantine students who show signs of infection? What if their parents/guardians can't come and get them?

We welcome any ideas for presenters sitting at these planning tables from around the state. It's a complicated issue; we hope to give space and opportunity for many perspectives and ideas to be shared. We hope you can join us. 

Register for the Zoom Webinar
Learn more on our Facebook event page
Access videos, notes, and resources from previous webinars
WVDE is looking for community input regarding school re-entry. Please complete the appropriate planning survey, community survey or adult ed survey, & share with your community.
We're looking at you, Kanawha Co
Our statewide assessment of the needs of kids affected by the drug crisis continues. Next stop, Kanawha County. We held our kickoff listening session at Cafe Appalachia on June 18. Now, we're holding virtual listening sessions. Parents, grandparents, guardians, doctors, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, camp counselors, pastors, coaches, etc.-- community members who work with these children, care for them, and have important knowledge that should inform policy, we want to hear from you. We have 60-minute sessions scheduled weekly through July. Please note, no input you share will be directly attributed to you. You do not have to turn on your video. You can write your responses in the chat box. However you'd feel most comfortable in participating, it's okay with us. 

We encourage you to share information about this project widely with friends/family/colleagues in Kanawha. We're interested in learning more from all perspectives-- including kids! 

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. Thank you for your support. 

View our event's calendar
What we're reading

The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school. The AAP has created guidance to support education, public health, local leadership, and pediatricians collaborating with schools in creating policies for school re-entry that foster the overall health of children, adolescents, staff, and communities and are based on available evidence. Beyond supporting the educational development of children and adolescents, schools play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity. "These recommendations are provided acknowledging that our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is changing rapidly."

Read the report: COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry

The 2020 edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT® Data Book is out.This year’s publication is the 31st edition and continues to deliver the Foundation’s annual state rankings and the latest available data on child well-being. It also identifies multi-year trends — comparing statistics from 2010 to 2018. As always, policymakers, researchers and advocates are encouraged to use this information to help shape their work and build a stronger future for children, families and communities. We love this book! When data is so hard to come by, the Data Book is our "go to" for information on kids' health/well-being in our state. 

Read the book: 2020 KIDS COUNT Data Book

"... our data, originating from a large number of specialist centres across Europe, show that COVID-19 is usually a mild disease in children, including infants." Published last week in The Lancet: Child & Adolescent HealthCOVID-19 in children and adolescents in Europe: a multinational, multicentre cohort study is aimed to capture key data on children and adolescents with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection across Europe, to inform physicians and health-care service planning during the ongoing pandemic.

Read the study: COVID-19 in children and adolescents in Europe: a multinational, multicentre cohort study

Adults aren't the only ones gaining the COVID 15. COVID‐19–Related School Closings and Risk of Weight Gain Among Children, published in late March, reports that the COVID‐19 pandemic may exacerbate the epidemic of childhood obesity and increase disparities in obesity risk. In short, researchers make the case that that the COVID‐19 pandemic will likely double out‐of‐school time this year for many children in the United States and will increase the risk factors for weight gain associated with summer recess.

Read the articleCOVID‐19–Related School Closings and Risk of Weight Gain Among Children

"With more than half of the country’s child-care programs shuttered during the pandemic and nearly a third saying they could not weather a closure of more than two weeks, the availability of child care is attracting bipartisan attention as the country begins to reopen." This is according to an analysis released last week of child-care supply and demand by researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Center for American Progress.

Read the Washington Post's article on the analysis: Middle-income and rural families disproportionately grapple with child-care deserts, new analysis shows

West Virginia's Catholic schools are planning for a five-day schedule in the fall. The guidelines for the schools include detailed instructions on entrance and exit procedures, heightened cleaning measures, sanitizing of surfaces and materials multiple times a day, temperature checks, masks in designated areas, and creative lab and curriculum scheduling. 

Read the article: Catholic schools in West Virginia plan for five-day schedule in the fall

Camp Kno-Koma cancelled Summer Camp 2020. They are sending a gift box of supplies/goodies to each family making a request. The family must have a child with diabetes and priority will be given to those that have been attending Camp Kno-Koma. Please submit your application no later than July 15th.
Our friends at the West Virginia Immunization Network are running the coolest contest.  Until July 15, West Virginia school students in grades 5 to 12 can enter their Vaccine Super Hero Comic Contest for their chance to win a $200 West Virginia State Park gift card. Visit their website for details. 
What's coming up
Now more than ever, the connections we make between health care and community resources to feed the hungry are critical to keeping West Virginians healthy. Experts warn that the pandemic could cause extreme hunger to rise. Come join experts from West Virginia's health care and food pantry systems to discuss ways to work together to address these challenges. Registration is free. 

To Register: The Health and Hunger Summit
“Thanks for reading The Big Ideas, Think Kids' newsletter. If you have any article ideas, research to highlight, events to share, etc., please let us know. Check out our newest brochure and don't forget to subscribe." - Kelli Caseman, Executive Director 
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