Subject: Healthy Schools Connection Newsletter - March 2021

Volume 21 Issue 01
How is COVID-19 likely to spread?

One of the ways you’re most likely to catch COVID-19 is through unmasked close contact with others. We know your coworkers are like family, but unless you live in the same household, be sure to stay at least 2 metres away from them… even when masked. Continue being a role model for your students by practising personal prevention measures and by encouraging them to do the same – at home and at school.
Masks work!

Recent research from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows that wearing a mask reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. Continue to wear a mask, even outdoors if you cannot maintain 2 metres from people not living in your household. Learn more about non-medical masks here: Wear a mask to prevent COVID-19 spread
The COVID-19 Vaccine and what we know about its safety

The COVID-19 vaccine is being administered to high-risk populations, but is not yet available for the general public. Although it was developed quickly, there was no fast-tracking the safety protocols that required for all vaccines in Canada. The process was able to be sped up for many reasons, including:
  • Using decades of data and research on other strains of coronavirus prior to COVID-19 (such as MERS and SARS).
  • Advances in science and technology
  • International collaboration among scientists, health professionals, researchers, industry, and governments
  • Increased dedicated funding
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety:
March is Nutrition Month!

This year’s theme centers on the fact that Healthy eating looks different for everyone. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to healthy eating. We all have our own culture and food traditions, health conditions, and personal circumstances that influence our eating habits. Tell your students and fellow co-workers that there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way when it comes to healthy eating! For more information (including recipes and articles), visit
The Great Big Crunch!

The Great Big Crunch (GBC) is on Thursday March 11th at 1:30PM (CST). Students and staff take a synchronized bite of a crunchy (or not) fruit or vegetable. This event helps students understand that all fruits and vegetables are a part of healthy eating. This year the Northern Fruit and Vegetable Program (NFVP) is delivering mini cucumbers/grape tomatoes and/or clementines to schools the week of the GBC. A resource package including classroom activities and recipes will be shared with your school as well. Please post photos of your GBC on social media, tag @TheNWHU and use the hashtag #greatbigcrunch so we can share in the crunches! Happy Crunching!
Student Mental Health Action Kit:
School Mental Health Ontario has put together a student mental health action kit. It contains practical resources to support student mental health during COVID-19. These resources and learning opportunities have been prepared to both bolster student mental health and support the well-being of educators. These classroom-ready resources can be used for either virtual or in-person learning and are designed to help you support students in the following areas:
  1. Promoting wellness during challenging times
  2. Supporting student mental health learning
  3. Encouraging early help-seeking when mental health problems arise
Take a look at the kit here.
Cannabis Use
After alcohol, cannabis is one of the most commonly used psychoactive substances among Canadian students aged 15 to 19. Successful prevention and harm reduction strategies for youth using cannabis need to provide a clear understanding of use and harms. The latest blog from OPHEA: Clearing the Air about Cannabis: Consider the Continuum of Use provides great tips on how to lead a discussion with youth about cannabis use.
Handling needles safely
With spring approaching, snow melting, and communities and schools starting to clean up what is left behind. The Northwestern Health Unit would like to use this opportunity to educate staff and students about what to do if needles or other sharp objects are found.

We have videos about our “Don’t Touch” presentations for young children (JK-grade 6). If you would like more information, or resources please contact your local Northwestern Health Unit office. 

Poster Contest for Grade 6 Students!
The Canadian Public Health Association has launched a poster contest for grade 6 students in Canada to bring attention to climate sensitive infectious diseases. Enter by April 9, 2021 for a chance to win a Chromebook. 

For teacher resources and contest details, visit: 
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Northwestern Health Unit, 210 First Street North, P9N2K4, Kenora, Canada
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