Subject: Healthy Schools Connection Newsletter - April 2020

Volume 20 Issue 1
COVID-19 Updates

NWHU is updating our website often with new information and as the local situation changes. Local COVID-19 test results can be found here.

Have questions about COVID-19? Ask a doctor! Anyone can join the COVID-19 Public Q & A Sessions with Dr. Ian Gemmill, held every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.

Our COVID-19 hotline is open 7 days a week. If you have questions or symptoms and would like information, call: 1-866-468-2240.

For more COVID-19 information: 
Healthy School Success Story – Crolancia School Staff Isolation Challenge

Sheila Byrne, and Education Assistant and Healthy Living Coordinator at Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake, wanted to inspire and connect staff by creating an “Isolation Challenge”. She created and shared a calendar with other staff members that featured a fun challenge each day on different themes such as healthy eating, physical activity, staying connected, mindfulness and getting outside. Some challenges encourage participants to “prove it” by documenting the day’s activities with a photo or drawing, which is then shared with all participants to brighten each other’s day during this time of social isolation. Way to go Crolancia Public School, what a great way to build community spirit!

If you would like to try this in your school community, email – she is willing to share her calendar so others can implement and enjoy these activities!

NWHU in-school services update


The majority of school based immunizations have been completed this year, aside from a second dose schedule for grade 7 students that usually occurs in May. Families wishing to complete the schedule now can get vaccinations from a family doctor if that’s an option, and the NWHU will also do follow-up in the fall for any missed doses. At this time, NWHU is currently focusing on high priority vaccinations only, such as infants and high-risk clients.

Click here for information and schedule of routine vaccines.


Many of the dental services we provide in schools, such as screenings and preventive services, were started or have been completed for the school year. These services are suspended during the school closure, to align with provincial and dental college recommendations. However, the NWHU dental team is available by phone to provide guidance for families with dental concerns.

If you are aware of students in need of immediate dental care, please encourage them to contact their local health unit office for support.
Sexual Health Clinics

Our offices are closed to the public, however, we continue to offer sexual health services, possibly in a modified format. Contact your local health unit office for information.

Resources to support H&PE at home

Ophea – open class - demos/videos with a lesson, game or activity.
Common Sense Media – movement apps, games, websites by age group.
Connected North@ Home – opportunities to connect, move and learn at home.
YMCA – Workouts designed to complement physical education course curriculum
Handling needles safely

With spring weather here and the snow melting, litter and garbage that was hidden in the snow is now visible. There is a chance that discarded needles may be a part of the garbage found around our communities.

NWHU has needle pick up kits available, can provide training on how to do this safely and responsibly, and assists when possible to pick up needles. With our staff working to help in the fight against COVID-19, responding to requests for needle pick-ups is difficult and takes time away from other urgent work. We are asking community members to pick-up needles if they are able to and feel comfortable.

Contact your local health unit office if you would like to help.

Taking Care of your Mental Health during COVID-19

Adjusting to this new way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a stressful and difficult time for many of us. It is normal to feel anxious, lonely and unsure as we try to keep each other healthy by staying home whenever possible, and by following the guidelines of physical distancing.

But there are ways to stay calm and balanced! Below are just a few:
  • Set and follow a daily routine
  • Practice grounding activities when feeling overwhelmed
  • Make an activity jar with a variety of enjoyable activities
  • Move your body every day
  • Tidy up your space
  • Schedule regular virtual check-ins with loved ones
  • Limit your screen time
  • Don’t let all of your conversations centre around the pandemic
  • Make time to take care of yourself
  • View this time as an opportunity to do something new you’ve wanted to try
  • Maintain good personal hygiene
  • Look for the positive news stories 
My Covid-19 story

A storybook explaining COVID-19 is available on the Kenora All Nations Health Partners website. It’s a great resource for educators to help talk to younger students about what is happening all around them these days. Find it here.

Like this newsletter? Let other educators and school staff know they can subscribe too by sending an email to with “subscribe” in the subject line.

Share your Healthy School success stories and receive a prize pack for your school! Stories can be emailed to

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Northwestern Health Unit, 210 First Street North, P9N2K4, Kenora, Canada
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