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The Big Ideas

for April 1, 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. 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. For a more complete list, visit our webpage

State Guidance

If I think my child’s sick, whom should I contact? Stay home and call your child’s primary care provider. Visit this page for comprehensive instructions. If your child does not have a regular doctor, call the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resource’s hotline 1-800-887-4304.

West Virginia’s public schools are closed. How do I connect with feeding sites in my county while schools are not in session? The West Virginia Department of Education’s Feeding Site Information Page lists guidance and resources by county. If you’d like to volunteer to help address food insecurity in your community, join this Facebook group.

As of March 25, the State of West Virginia stopped providing child care for parents working in jobs deemed non-essential.

However, WV DHHR, Bureau for Children and Families (BCF), Division of Early Care and Education (ECE) is continuing to ensure that COVID -19 essential workers have access to this care.

All interested licensed and certified child care programs, as well as those agencies who wish to provide care on site to their employees of essential workers, must complete a health and safety checklist and submit the registration form and checklist via email at

Anyone who meets the definition of an essential worker qualifies for child care assistance. Contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency to apply. If found eligible the CCR&R case manager will issue a regular 12-month Child Care Certificate.

I’m recently unemployed. How do I file an unemployment claim? Contact Workforce West Virginia. Due to high volume, they suggest you apply during evening or morning hours. 

WVPath is where you can go to see if you qualify for assistance such as SNAP, child care support, and health care. There is a screen for assistance wizard that makes the process easy. And there’s great news: Medicaid and CHIP have extended their redetermination periods for three months. No additional action is required. SNAP is extending its certification period for one additional month. You don’t need to take further action.

Are you interested in volunteering? Contact Volunteer West Virginia for current opportunities. 

For further information about health care: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources: Coronavirus Disease 2019


For further information about schools: West Virginia Department of Ed: Coronavirus 19 Information

Attention Advocates and Stakeholders for Kids' Health!
As this pandemic continues to unfold, we're meeting bi-weekly via Zoom to discuss challenges, resources, great ideas, and ways we can collaborate to keep kids safe and healthy. Want to join in? Let us know what day of the week and time works best for you.
What effect has the pandemic had on our efforts to support kids affected by the drug crisis? Our Executive Director, Kelli Caseman, joined Dr. Simon Haeder for a column in the Beckley Register-Herald on March 31 to discuss these concerns titled Keeping our eyes on kids during pandemicA companion piece ran in the Pennsylvania Capital-StarPa’s kids during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We've rescheduled the Health and Hunger Summit to Tuesday, September 22. Now more than ever, making connections between health care and food access points in our communities is vitally important. Registration is open, and we hope you'll join us in September. The conference is still free of charge. Contact us for information on exhbiting. 
The study Trends in Diet Quality Among Youth in the United States, 1999-2016, published by the JAMA Network this mont, found that "the estimated overall diet quality of US youth showed modest improvement, but more than half of youth still had poor-quality diets." 

Published by Lancet Oncology this month is a new study that measures how weaknesses in our current health care system's infrastructure exacerbate the disparities in childhood cancer outcomes. The study claims that unless immediate changes are made in the system, an estimated 11.1 million children will die of cancer over the next three decades.

Coronavirus Live Updates: Grim Models Project High U.S. Toll in Months-Long Crisis- New York Times, March 31, 2020

Daily coronavirus death toll in U.S. exceeds 500 for first time- The Washington Post, March 30, 2020

Is it safe to see the pediatrician for vaccines and medical visits? (blog)- Harvard Medical School

Here’s why we can’t rush a COVID-19 vaccine- Association of American Medical Colleges News, March 31, 2020

West Virginia News

Kids under threat: Virus hitting juvenile detention centers- WV News, March 31, 2020

Most counties transition to long-term feeding plans for students- The Record Delta, March 31, 2020

Kanawha County Schools the latest body to close recreational facilities- WV MetroNews, March 31, 2020

Counties getting creative with school menus with popular ready-made items hard to find- WV MetroNews, March 30, 2020

Growing Concern As Rural Hospitals Close And Coronavirus Sweeps Region- West Virginia Public Broadcasting, March 30, 2020

WVU launches interactive map of COVID-19 testing sites in West Virginia- Fox-59 News, March 30, 2020

Making masks for health care workers- WOWK-TV, March 30, 2020

Kanawha's schools will restart feeding kids, limiting meal distribution to once a week- Charleston Gazette-Mail, March 23, 2020

Dawn Miller: Reading nourishes kids, family while schools are closed (Opinion)- Charleston Gazette-Mail, March 23, 2020

Kids' Health Hero

We see you, Dr. Cathy Slemp! She's the Commissioner and State Health Officer at WVDHHR's Bureau for Public Health and has stepped up to the challenge of keeping us informed and up-to-date on COVID-19 in our state. Did you know that she received her bachelor's degree from Princeton University and her medical training at Duke University? We're thankful that she's lending her education and experience to this important cause, and we're glad to have here back as a public health leader here in West Virginia. 

You're super, Dr. Slemp! 

The Big Ideas newsletter is published twice a month by Think Kids, a WV-based nonprofit organization. If you'd like to have our newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month, sign up on our website.
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