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The Big Ideas

for March 16, 2020 

The mission of Think Kids is "fostering ingenuity, inspiring change, and cultivating generations of healthy, happy kids."
With COVID-19 reaching pandemic proportions, you may wonder what all of this means for kids. The biggest takeaway is this: Preliminary data suggest that children only experience minor symptoms from the coronavirus. Still, many children are growing anxious about what all of this means for there for their own health, as well as that of their friends and family. Think Kids has compiled a growing list of children-specific resources that may help you both stay informed and talk to the kids in your life about COVID-19. 

World Health Organization: COVID-19: IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance to protect children and support safe school operations

CDC: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) and Children

American Academy of Pediatrics Red Book Online: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infections (updated often) 

National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

UNICEF: How to talk to your child about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources: Coronavirus Disease 2019

West Virginia Department of Education: Coronavirus 19 Information

Education Writers Association: COVID-19 and Education 

Vox: What to do with your kids when schools are canceled

NPR's Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS | What Is Coronavirus? | The Dr Binocs Show | Peekaboo Kidz
Some students will struggle with food insecurity while schools are closed. This Facebook group is working to coordinate efforts across the state. Contact Jenny or Liz if you have questions or would like to volunteer/contribute. 
Dr. Michael Brumage has updated his online blog, titled Telling Kids About the Coronavirus.

Legislative Session is over. Was it a good year for West Virginia's kids? 

Is it just us, or does it seem like session ended months ago, instead of two weeks ago? Which isn't to say it was uneventful; the West Virginia legislature sent a record number of bills to the Governor's desk for his signature. The House passed 188 bills; the Senate passed 168, totaling 356. That's more bills than we can remember ever passing during one session. Were any of them focused on keeping kids healthy? The good news is, yes. While there's still the chance the Governor will veto them, let's look at the good things these bills will do. 

Senate Bill 150, the budget bill, included $19.8 million to finally clear the I/DD waiver waitlist. 

House Bill 4092, or the "Foster Care Bill," enjoyed bipartisan support and significant amending as it moved through the process. It spent 40 days in the House alone. Senate Judiciary even removed the bill's fiscal note just days before the end of session. Still, the bill passed, with many legislators on both sides of the isle calling it the most important legislation to pass during session. There are lots of components to the bill that address the needs of kids and families. More on the bill here and here. 

House Bill 4773, "creating a workgroup to investigate and recommend screening protocols for adverse childhood trauma in this state," passed the Senate unanimously. We'll be sure to keep you looped in when the workgroup is assembled. 

Senate Bill 723, requiring WVDE develop a plan based on analyzed data on school discipline, passed as well. More on that bill here. This would require WVDE to study school discipline statewide, develop a program to address the study’s findings and report back to lawmakers every two years on data and progress made. Research has shown that nationally, black students receive more out-of-school suspensions in our public schools than white students. This bill could help address inequities in the way public schools discipline students. 

House Bill 4378, "revoking licenses of teachers who abuse kids," will, among other things, require county boards of education to finish investigating an employee, if abuse is suspected, even if the employee resigns before the investigation is done. More details here. 

House Bill 4415 will create a Missing and Endangered Child Advisory System. Learn more here

House Bill 4497 requires an automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on the school or event grounds during all games or practices “under the control, supervision and regulation” of the WV SSAC. Once enacted, it will be called the Alex Miller Law in memory of the Roane High School football player who died during a football game last year.

House Bill 4543, or the "Insulin Bill," addressed the rising costs of insulin for diabetics. The original bill would have capped the monthly cost of insulin at $25 a month, but the bill was amended to raise the cap to $100. In addition, the bill required insurance providers to cover diabetes equipment, but those costs are not capped. More here

Many thanks to the tireless advocates who walked the marble floors, working for West Virginia's kids. Your hard work passed meaningful legislation, and we appreciate it!

Keep an eye out for a list of interim study resolutions, coming soon. We believe school health may be on that list again this year. 

What do you know about food pantries in WV? Kelli discusses the challenges to connecting with them and survey results to date in her most recent blog
Planning is underway for community meetings around the state. Want to learn more and get involved? Join our Facebook group. We'll kickoff our meeting series in May. 
In this month's The Lancet Psychiatry is a study that provides new research, showing how even light physical activity among adolescents was linked to improved mental health as the they got older: Depressive symptoms and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour throughout adolescence: a prospective cohort study.

Maternal obesity linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in children, "Maternal obesity may increase a child’s risk for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to an analysis by researchers from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health. The researchers found that mothers — but not fathers — who were overweight or obese before pregnancy were more likely to report that their children had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or to have symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness or impulsiveness at ages 7 to 8 years old. Their study appears in The Journal of Pediatrics."

Oral Health Status Has Improved for Children, but Some Gaps in Treatment Access Persist, "Children and adolescents in the U.S. have made substantial oral health gains in recent years while the prevalence of dental disease in adults has remained fairly constant, with an increase in the number of seniors with decay, according to a September 2019 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But a separate new analysis presents a more nuanced picture of progress, with a mix of gains and losses in terms of long-standing disparities among white, black, and Mexican American populations, and between higher- and lower-income groups."

Teaching Children How to Reverse an Overdose: "In rural Carter County, Tenn., health officials have embraced a strategy for stemming addiction: Teaching children as young as 6 how to administer Narcan, a nasal spray that can stop an opioid overdose from being fatal."

West Virginia News

Justice, West Virginia officials decide to close schools- Parkersburg News and Sentinel, March 14, 2020 

Burch expects schools to be fully staffed with students gone- West Virginia MetroNews, March 13, 2020

USDA approves West Virginia to provide meals to children with schools closed due to coronavirus outbreak- WBOY-TV, March 13, 2020

Plans underway to feed students while schools are closed amid COVID-19 threat- Beckley Register-Herald, March 13, 2020 

WV state school board launches review of Lincoln County school system- Charleston Gazette-Mail, March 11, 2020


Kids' Health Hero

We're looking at you, Taylor Stuck! Taylor is a reporter with the Huntington Herald-Dispatch whose beat includes the foster care system. Making sense of an incredibly complex system is no easy task. Neither is following frequently amended bills during session, nor tweeting during committee meetings. But she does it with competence, clarity, and a genuine interest in understanding how policies will affect the well-being of children. Show Taylor your appreciation by following her on Twitter. You're super, Taylor! 
Have an event to share? We'd love to add it to our website and promote in our newsletter.  And please save the date, the Health and Hunger Summit is scheduled for May 5, 2020 in Charleston. Come join the discussion about building bridges between health care and community resources. Click on the image to register. It's free and open to all health care professionals and community stakeholders. 
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