Pearl Neumann – AGE 100 – fulfills her goal of earning HS Diploma

At age 100, Pearl Neumann knows it’s never too late to accomplish your goals and earn a high school diploma. In her sophomore year, Neumann dropped out of Spencerport High School in New York to help on the family farm. She went on to be active in the community, helping others, but she never lost her desire to graduate.

Now she has her diploma.

Spencerport High School celebrated her graduation at a special ceremony in December. Her picture will be included in the class of 2023 composite that will hang in the high school. After leaving high school, Neumann remained in Spencerport, a canal town in Western New York west of Rochester, devoting her life to service. Neumann, who turned 100 last September, now lives in a nursing home and uses a walker to get around. She remains feisty and in strong voice.

“I’m proud of what I did. I’d do it all again in a minute if I had the ability to do it and the health to do it,” Neumann said during the ceremony.

Sean McCabe, principal at Spencerport High School, said he found her efforts humbling.

“It’s a life that was centered on family and on service to others and service to the community,” McCabe said. “I certainly would say that everything that you have accomplished in your life has well exceeded anything associated with graduating from high school.”

Over time, Neumann was active in local 4-H and volunteer service, worked several years with the local ambulance and helped families emigrating from Germany to get established in the United States.

“It makes you feel good all over. You’re not only helping somebody else, but you’re also helping yourself to stand on your own two feet and fight for the good old U.S.A.”

Her advice to others: Stand up for yourself.

“By golly, stand on your own two feet,” she said. “Don’t let someone else tell you what to do because they think they know more than you do. Baloney!”

Above – a short video of Pearl Neumann’s graduation ceremony.

Click here to view the original article from

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9 Facts About Dehydration That May Surprise You

Do you wake up thirsty? If so, the reason may not be that you’re dehydrated from drinking too little water throughout the day. Your body also loses water while you sleep, simply through breathing and sweating. This is one of the lesser known causes of dehydration.

How Much Water Do I Need to Drink?

The widespread belief that you should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day for good health is a myth. There is no scientific research behind it. There’s no standard amount of water you should drink daily – it varies person to person. Most people need about four to six cups. Certain health conditions and high levels of physical activity will increase the need.

Common Causes of Dehydration Include:

  • Poor sleep quality. You lose water as you sleep especially if you breathe through your mouth. A small study published in 2006 found that people who breathed through their mouth during sleep lost 42 percent more water than those who breathed through their nose.
  • Not enough sleep. Dehydration also can be influenced by how much sleep you get. A study in the medical journal Sleep found that people who slept six hours or less a night were more likely to be dehydrated than those who slept at least eight hours.
    The study involved about 20,000 adults in the United States and China. It found those who slept six hours or less had up to a 59 percent higher risk of dehydration compared to the other group.
    Researchers said the difference may be related to an anti-diuretic hormone, vasopressin, which plays a role on how much water the kidneys excrete. The brain releases the hormone at night so that we retain water while we sleep.
  • Drink choices. Caffeine doesn’t increase risk of dehydration, but drinking alcohol does. If you’re drinking beer and urinate frequently, it’s not just the beer being eliminated. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes excessive urination. And drinking on an empty stomach will contribute even more to dehydration, because the alcohol is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream.
  • Childhood. Children are at higher risk of dehydration than adults. This is especially true of infants. That’s because a child body holds a smaller volume of water than an adult body. Kids can become dehydrated quickly. So, it’s important they get enough fluids, especially if they have diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Aging. An obvious sign you need water is thirst. But you should not rely on thirst as an indicator of fluid needs. The thirst sensation also weakens with age. Older adults are more susceptible to dehydration because of this. They also hold less water than younger people.

Other Hydration Facts to Remember

  • It’s possible to become overhydrated. Sometimes called water intoxication, excessive water intake dilutes sodium in the blood. Cells absorb excess water, which can cause swelling in the brain. Overhydration can lead to vomiting, seizures, confusion and headaches. It can be life-threatening.
  • The color of your urine is good indicator of dehydration. Pale is good. Darker yellow indicates you need to drink more water. Very dark indicates dehydration. Keep in mind, certain foods and medications can affect the color.
  • Seek medical attention in cases of vomiting, fever or lack of urination.Dehydration can cause dizziness, fatigue, headaches, confusion and fainting. Moderate to severe dehydration calls for medical attention. Severe dehydration can lead to electrolyte imbalances, kidney problems, seizures, coma and death.

Click here for the original article from UH Hospitals.

Find out how PSI makes health a priority every day.

How Run DMC Is Helping Students Grow By Embracing Their Emotions

Please click on the video above or read this short video description below –

Rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels has had just about every kind of success a person can have.

As part of the groundbreaking group Run-D.M.C. McDaniels racked up a formidable list of “firsts” in the hip-hop world, with multi-platinum albums, Grammy awards, rock’n’roll crossovers, sold out stadiums, a Rolling Stone cover, and hip hop’s first major apparel endorsement.

But McDaniels, who had been creative and introspective since childhood, also battled depression and personal demons that threatened to steal the joy of his success. Now, he’s using his influence and ability to rap on command to reach kids with an important message: Your feelings matter.

He takes this message to schools, and works with Nickelodeon’s educational arm, Noggin, on a literacy and social emotional learning television series “What’s the Word?” He also authored a children’s book, Darryl’s Dream, about a third grader who finds perseverance and confidence in the face of doubt.

Ahead of a panel discussion hosted by Big Heart World, Sparkler, Noggin and The 74, McDaniels spoke with correspondent Bekah McNeel about his love of therapy and empowering words, and about the ways adults can validate the emotions of children while helping them through the tough parts of growing up.

“A lot of the things we go through as adults start in childhood,” McDaniels said. Rather than pushing away anxiety, fear, and sadness—insisting that children be happy simply because they don’t carry the responsibilities of adulthood—he suggested teachers and parents, “Let them be engaged from the point where they’re at.”

A lifelong fan of superhero comics, McDaniels reminds kids that when Spider-Man and the Hulk and others are not in their superhero form, their alter egos like Peter Parker and Bruce Banner have to deal with bullies, setbacks, and all the problems regular people face. Even Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker, McDaniels said, “He had parental issues.”

Parents and teachers, the original heroes in kids’ lives, can also model vulnerability so that kids see how to handle tough emotions—it’s healthy to have negative feelings, because bad and sad things happen. At the same time, the feelings don’t have to stop you from reaching your goals. Being appropriately open and vulnerable with kids also strengthens that adult-child relationship, which will also contribute to the child’s success. People admire strength, he explained, but they connect to vulnerability.

Those connections are a top priority for University of Michigan researcher and pediatrician Jenny Radesky, who joined Austin ISD educator Rebekah Ozuna and American Enterprise Institute policy analyst Rick Hess in a discussion following the McDaniels interview. The panelists discussed the state of social and emotional learning in their various fields—from insight gained during the pandemic to current political pushback, from social media to classroom management.

While there may be ideological and political debate over whether topics like anti-racism and LGBTQ identity belong in social and emotional learning curricula or in schools at all, Ozuna said every classroom inherently has a “culture and climate” in addition to academic instruction. If the culture of the classroom doesn’t acknowledge the real struggles students face, she said, little else was going to break through. This became more clear than ever as students and teachers struggled through the pandemic. “Everything was greatly intertwined.”

Click here for the original article from The 74.

Find out how PSI is making social emotional learning a priority every day.

Huge mental health investment coming to Ohio

After making mental health a priority since taking office in early 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine has signed $175 million in mental health expenditures into law.

The expenditures are divided into two tranches, according to documents provided by the Office of Budget and Management.

“This additional $175 million investment in mental health infrastructure expansion and workforce development is significant and garnered widespread legislative support,” OBM spokesman Pete LuPiba said in an email.  “We look forward to continuing to work with the General Assembly on this crucial priority in the upcoming budget.”

According to a fact sheet OBM provided, 2.4 million Ohioans live in communities with a shortage of mental health professionals, 21% of the state’s residents have a mental health or substance-use disorder, and demand for behavioral health services increased 353% between 2013 and 2019 while the number of mental health professionals rose by just 174%.

According to a 2020 report by United Way, Ohio ranked in the middle of states when it came to access to mental health services, while Ohioans were the seventh least likely to seek such services.

One tranche of $90 million in new mental health funds will be dedicated to “mental health crisis infrastructure expansion initiatives.” The one-time spending will go to:

  • Stabilization units
  • Short-term crisis residential services
  • Hospital diversion
  • Step-down Centers
  • Mobile-Crisis Response
  • Behavioral Health Urgent Care Centers

The bill providing the funds requires that they be allocated regionally and that they be spent on construction, renovation and technology upgrades.

Another $90 million will go to develop human capital in the mental health system by funding programs for mental health licensure and certifications at Ohio’s two and four-year colleges.

Click here for the full article from The Ohio Capital Journal.

Find out how PSI makes Mental Health a priority every day.

Should You Be Worried About Cardiac Arrest With Your Child?

Earlier this month, Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on live TV after tackling an opponent. Parents of children who play contact sports often lament the risks of broken bones or concussion, but a heart attack? Statistically, Hamlin’s injury is a rarity. Commotio cordis, the onset of a fatal arrhythmia that results from a strike to the chest at a critical moment during the heartbeat, is most often seen in baseball. In fact, of the few reported cases, more than half are caused by a baseball hitting the chest. Another 30% of cases result from softballs and hockey pucks colliding with the patient’s chest. The timing of the hit is critical. There is a period of only 200msec (that’s 2/1,000s of a second) in which the impact can cause the heart’s rhythm to change so drastically. Quick thinking saved Hamlin’s life.

Having an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) accessible can mean the difference between life and death if used in the first few minutes. While it helps to have CPR or Advanced Life Saving training, anyone can use an AED. It’s a portable device that, when its stickers are placed on the patient, can accurately analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver a shock (also known as defibrillation) to re-start a normal heart rate. If used within 3 minutes of a patient collapsing from cardiac arrest, it can exponentially increase the chances of survival. Making sure there is an AED on the campuses of gyms, schools, churches, synagogues, arenas, and anywhere people gather can mean the difference between life and death.

From UH Pediatrician and PSI Medical Director – Dr. Carly Wilbur

Click here for more great insights from Dr. Wilbur.

Find out how PSI provides AED, CPR, First Aid Training and much more!

PSI Earns Northeast Ohio Top Workplaces for the 7th Year In a Row and The Plain Dealer have recognized psi as one of the Northeast Ohio Top Workplaces for the seventh year in a row. PSI was identified as one of the top-25 large workplaces in the Northeast Ohio area which included other companies such as Rocket Mortgage, Progressive Insurance, and Sherwin-Williams. The list of companies included on this list are determined by employee feedback gathered by a third-party survey administered by Energage, LLC. 

“This team makes me proud day-in and day-out,” said Steve Rosenberg, CEO & President. “Our success in our mission and vision lies heavily in the culture that exists at PSI. Without the ‘WE,’ we would not have been able to continue to provide and innovate after multiple decades.”

For career opportunities at PSI, go to OR reach out at (330) 425-8474. 


What took root in an early initiative focused on school psychological intervention for underserved students has grown over four decades to meet the needs of the whole child in the context of today’s complex social and educational setting. Providing high-quality, innovative educational services in cost efficient models assists hundreds of thousands of children in improving their grades, attitudes, health and behavior. PSI empowers each system’s educational professionals to achieve more, lead more effectively and offer every student a better opportunity to succeed in school and, ultimately, in life. 


Mike Lyman or Deanna Von Alt 

2112 Case Parkway, South, Unit 10
Twinsburg, OH 44087-2378 

Lessons Learned from School Shootings

Lessons Learned From School Shootings | SpringerLink

Click the link above to purchase Steve Polands, psi Expert Partner, and Sara Fergusons newly published book on America’s perspective on school shootings.

New AAP COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools

The American Academy of Pediatrics has just released new COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools. Keep reading for more info or click here to view the original report.

The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for school plans should start with the goal of keeping students safe and physically present in school.

Purpose and Key Principles

The purpose of this guidance is to continue to support communities, local leadership in education and public health, and pediatricians collaborating with schools in creating policies for safe schools during the COVID-19 pandemic that foster the overall health of children, adolescents, educators, staff, and communities and are based on available evidence. As the next school year begins, there needs to be a continued focus on keeping students safe, since not all students will have the opportunity or be eligible to be vaccinated before the start of the next school year. Since the beginning of this pandemic, new information has emerged to guide safe in-person learning. Remote learning highlighted inequities in education, was detrimental to the educational attainment of students of all ages, and exacerbated the mental health crisis among children and adolescents. 1,2 Opening schools generally does not significantly increase community transmission, particularly when guidance outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO),3 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is followed. 4,5 There are still possibilities for transmission of SARS-CoV-2, especially for individuals and families who have chosen not to be vaccinated or are not eligible to be vaccinated. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged that may increase the risk of transmission and result in worsening illness. However, the AAP believes that, at this point in the pandemic, given what we know about low rates of in-school transmission when proper prevention measures are used, together with the availability of effective vaccines for those age 12 years and up, that the benefits of in-person school outweigh the risks in almost all circumstances. Along with our colleagues in the field of education,6 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advocates for additional federal assistance to all schools throughout the United States, irrespective of whether the current local context allows for in-person instruction.

Schools and school-supported programs are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescents with academic instruction; social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/occupational/speech therapy, mental health services, health services, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits.7 Beyond supporting the educational development of children and adolescents, schools can play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity. As such, it is critical to reflect on the differential impact the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated school closures have had on different racial and ethnic groups and populations facing inequities. Disparities in school funding, quality of school facilities, educational staffing, and resources for enriching curricula among schools have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Families rely on schools to provide a safe, stimulating, and enriching space for children to learn; appropriate supervision of children; opportunities for socialization; and access to school-based mental, physical, and nutritional health services.

Everything possible must be done to keep students in schools in-person. Many families did not have adequate support to the aforementioned educational services, and disparities, especially in education, did worsen, especially for children who are English language learners, children with disabilities, children living in poverty, and children who are Black, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native. 8,9,10,11

The AAP strongly recommends that school districts promote racial/ethnic and social justice by promoting the well-being of all children in any school COVID-19 plan, with a specific focus on ensuring equitable access to educational supports for children living in under-resourced communities.

It is critical to use science and data to guide decisions about the pandemic and school COVID-19 plans. All school COVID-19 policies should consider the following key principles and remember that COVID-19 policies are intended to mitigate, not eliminate, risk. Because school transmission reflects (but does not drive) community transmission, it is vitally important that communities take all necessary measures to limit the community spread of SARS-CoV-2 to ensure schools can remain open and safe for all students.
The implementation of several coordinated interventions can greatly reduce risk:

  • All eligible individuals should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • It may become necessary for schools to collect COVID-19 vaccine information of staff and students and for schools to require COVID-19 vaccination for in-person learning.
    • Adequate and timely COVID-19 vaccination resources for the whole school community must be available and accessible.
  • All students older than 2 years and all school staff should wear face masks at school (unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit use).
    • The AAP recommends universal masking in school at this time for the following reasons:
      • a significant portion of the student population is not eligible for vaccination
      • protection of unvaccinated students from COVID-19 and to reduce transmission
        ▪ lack of a system to monitor vaccine status among students, teachers and staff
      • potential difficulty in monitoring or enforcing mask policies for those who are not vaccinated; in the absence of schools being able to conduct this monitoring, universal masking is the best and most effective strategy to create consisent messages, expectations, enforcement, and compliance without the added burden of needing to monitor vaccination status
      • possibility of low vaccination uptake within the surrounding school community
      • continued concerns for variants that are more easily spread among children, adolescents, and adults
  • An added benefit of universal masking is protection of students and staff against other respiratory illnesses that would take time away from school.
  • Adequate and timely COVID-19 testing resources must be available and accessible.
  • It is critically important to develop strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission and test positivity rate throughout the community and schools, recognizing the differences between school districts, including urban, suburban, and rural districts.
  • School policies should be adjusted to align with new information about the pandemic; administrators should refine approaches when specific policies are not working.12
  • Schools must continue to take a multi-pronged, layered approach to protect students, teachers, and staff (ie, vaccination, universal mask use, ventilation, testing, quarantining, and cleaning and disinfecting). Combining these layers of protection will make in-person learning safe and possible. Schools should monitor the implementation and effectiveness of these policies.
  • Schools should monitor the attendance of all students daily inclusive of in-person and virtual settings. Schools should use multi-tiered strategies to proactively support attendance for all students, as well as differentiated strategies to identify and support those at higher risk for absenteeism.
  • School districts must be in close communication and coordinate with state and/or local public health authorities, school nurses, local pediatric practitioners, and other medical experts.
  • School COVID-19 policies should be practical, feasible, and appropriate for child and adolescent’s developmental stage and address teacher and staff safety.
    • Special considerations and accommodations to account for the diversity of youth should be made, especially for populations facing inequities, including those who are medically fragile or complex, have developmental challenges, or have disabilities. Children and adolescents who need customized considerations should not be automatically excluded from school unless required in order to adhere to local public health mandates or because their unique medical needs would put them at increased risk for contracting COVID-19 during current conditions in their community.
  • School policies should be guided by supporting the overall health and well-being of all children, adolescents, their families, and their communities and should also look to create safe working environments for educators and school staff. This focus on overall health and well-being includes addressing the behavioral/mental health needs of students and staff.
  • These policies should be consistently communicated in languages other than English, when needed, based on the languages spoken in the community, to avoid marginalization of parents/guardians of limited English proficiency or who do not speak English.
  • Ongoing federal, state, and local funding should be provided for all schools so they can continue to implement all the COVID-19 mitigation and safety measures required to protect students and staff. Funding to support virtual learning and provide needed resources should continue to be available for communities, schools, and children facing limitations implementing these learning modalities in their home (eg, socioeconomic disadvantages) or in the event of school re-closure because of a resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 in the community or a school outbreak.

With the above principles in mind, the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for school COVID-19 plans should start with a goal of keeping students safe and physically present in school. The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in 2020.13

Policy makers and school administrators must also consider the scientific evidence regarding COVID-19 in children and adolescents, including the role they may play in the transmission of the infection. 14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22 Although many questions remain, the preponderance of evidence indicates that children and adolescents are less likely to have severe disease resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infection. 23,24 We continue to learn more about the role children play in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. At present, it appears that children younger than 10 years are less likely to become infected and less likely to spread the infection to others, although further studies are needed. 25,26,27 Some data suggest children older than 10 years may spread SARS-CoV-2 as efficiently as adults. Additional in-depth studies are needed to truly understand the infectivity and transmissibility of this virus in anyone younger than 18 years, including children and adolescents with disabilities and medical complexities. Current SARS-CoV-2 variants may change both transmissibility and infection in children and adolescents even in those who have been vaccinated.

Visit the CDC COVID-19 Prevention Strategies for additional information on mitigation measures including physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, ventilation, and cleaning and disinfecting.

In the following sections, some general principles are reviewed that policy makers and school administrators should consider as they safely plan for in-person school. There are several other documents released by the CDC, the National Association of School Nurses, and the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that can be referenced as well. For all of these, engagement of the entire school community, including families, teachers, and staff, regarding these measures should be a priority.

Special Considerations for School Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

School Attendance and Absenteeism: Studies performed throughout the pandemic demonstrated wide variability in tracking of school attendance. As of January 2021, only 31 states and the District of Columbia required attendance to be taken.28 Definitions of attendance for individuals participating in distance learning have varied between and within states. Among jurisdictions that did report on attendance during the pandemic period, several studies demonstrate disparities in impact of chronic absence.29 In an evaluation of Connecticut’s attendance data from school year 2020-21, rates of chronic absenteeism were highest among predominantly remote students compared with students who were primarily in-person; that gap was most pronounced among elementary and middle school students. Chronic absence was more prevalent among Connecticut students who received free or reduced-price lunch, were Black or Hispanic, were male, or identified as English learners or having disabilities.29 National prepandemic chronic absenteeism data mirror several of these demographic trends.30

The best way to reduce absenteeism is by closely monitoring attendance and acting quickly once a pattern is noticed.31 During the the 2021-22 school year, daily school attendance should be monitored for all students; for students participating in in-person and distance learning. Schools should use multi-tiered strategies to proactively support student attendance for all students. Additionally, schools should implement strategies to identify and differentiate interventions to support those at higher risk for absenteeism. Local data should be used to define priority groups whose attendance has been most deeply impacted during the pandemic. Schools are encouraged to create an attendance action plan with a central emphasis on family engagement leading up to and through the start of school.

With the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, plans should be in place for outreach to families whose students do not return for various reasons. This outreach is especially critical, given the high likelihood of separation anxiety and agoraphobia in students. Students may have difficulty with the social and emotional aspects of transitioning back into the school setting, especially given the unfamiliarity with the changed school environment and experience. Special considerations are warranted for students with pre-existing anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions; children with a prior history of trauma or loss; children with autism spectrum disorder; and students in early education who may be particularly sensitive to disruptions in routine and caregivers. Students facing other challenges, such as poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness, and those subjected to ongoing inequities may benefit from additional support and assistance. Schools should identify students who are at risk for not returning and conduct outreach prior to the beginning of the school year. Resources should be available to assist families with preparing their student for transition back to school.

Students with Disabilities: The impact of loss of instructional time and related services, including mental health services, as well as occupational, physical, and speech/language therapy during the period of school closures and remote learning is significant for students with disabilities. All students, but especially those with disabilities, may have more difficulty with the social and emotional aspects of transitioning out of and back into the school setting because of the pandemic. As schools prepare for or continue in-person learning, school personnel should develop a plan to ensure a review of each child and adolescent with an IEP to determine the needs for compensatory education to adjust for lost instructional time and disruption in other related services. In addition, schools can expect a backlog in evaluations; therefore, plans to prioritize students requiring new referrals as opposed to reviews and re-evaluations will be important. Many school districts require adequate instructional effort before determining eligibility for special education services. However, virtual instruction or lack of instruction should not be reasons to avoid starting services such as response-to-intervention (RTI) services, even if a final eligibility determination is delayed.

Each student’s IEP should be reviewed with the parent/guardian/adolescent yearly (or more frequently if indicated). All recommendations in the IEP should be provided for the individual child no matter which school option is chosen (in person, blended, or remote). See the AAP Caring for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic for more details.

Additional COVID-19 safety measures for teachers and staff working with some students with disabilities may need to be in place to ensure optimal safety for all. For certain populations, the use of face masks by teachers may impede the education process. These include students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students receiving speech/language services, young students in early education programs, and English language learners. There are products (eg, face coverings with clear panels in the front) that may be helpful to use in this setting.

Adult Staff and Educators: Universal use of face masks is recommended, given that certain teachers must cross-over to multiple classes, such as specials teachers, special educators, and secondary school teachers, and in consideration of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. At this time, this recommendation for use of face masks includes staff and educators who have been fully vaccinated, especially for teachers with students who are unvaccinated (including pre-K, kindergarten, and elementary schools). School staff working with students who are unable to wear a face mask or who are unable to manage secretions, who require high-touch (hand over hand) instruction, and who must be in close proximity to these students should consider wearing a surgical mask in combination with a face shield.

School health staff should be provided with appropriate medical PPE to use in health suites. This PPE should include N95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, disposable gowns, and face shields or other eye protection. School health staff should be aware of CDC guidance on infection control measures.

On-site School-Based Health Services: On-site school health services, including school-based health centers, should be supported if available, to complement the pediatric medical home and to provide pediatric acute, chronic, and preventive care. Collaboration with school nursesis essential, and school districts should involve school health services staff and consider collaborative strategies that address and prioritize immunizations and other needed health services for students, including behavioral health, vision screening, hearing, dental and reproductive health services. Plans should include required outreach to connect students to on-site services regardless of remote or in-person learning mode.

Immunizations: Pediatricians should work with schools and local public health authorities to promote childhood vaccination messaging well before the start of the school year and throughout the school year. It is vital that all children receive recommended vaccinations on time and get caught up if they are behind as a result of the pandemic. The capacity of the health care system to support increased demand for vaccinations should be addressed through a multifaceted, collaborative, and coordinated approach among all child-serving agencies including schools.

Existing school immunization requirements should be discussed with the student and parent community and maintained. In addition, although influenza vaccination is generally not required for school attendance, it should be highly encouraged for all students and staff. The symptoms of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 infection are similar, and taking steps to prevent influenza will decrease the incidence of disease in schools and the related lost educational time and resources needed to handle such situations by school personnel and families. School districts should consider requiring influenza vaccination for all staff members.

Schools should collaborate with state and local public health agencies to ensure that teachers and staff have access to the COVID-19 vaccine and that any hesitancy is addressed as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC.Pediatricians should work with families, schools, and public health to promote receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine and address hesitancy as the vaccine becomes available to children and adolescents.

In order to vaccinate as many school staff, students, and community members as possible, school-located vaccination clinics should be a priority for school districts. Schools are important parts of neighborhoods and communities and serve as locations for community members after school hours and on weekends.

Vision Screening: Vision screening practices should continue in school whenever possible. Vision screening serves to identify children who may otherwise have no outward symptoms of blurred vision or subtle ocular abnormalities that, if untreated, may lead to permanent vision loss or impaired academic performance in school. Personal prevention practices and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles to follow during vision screening, along with any additional guidelines from local health authorities.

Hearing Screening: Safe hearing screening practices should continue in schools whenever possible. School screening programs for hearing are critical in identifying children who have hearing loss as soon as possible so that reversible causes can be treated and hearing restored. Children with permanent or progressive hearing loss will be habilitated with hearing aids to prevent impaired academic performance in the future. Personal prevention practices and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles to follow during hearing screening, along with any additional guidelines from local health authorities.

Children with Chronic Illness: Certain children with chronic illness may be at risk for hospitalization and complications with SARS-CoV-2. These youth and their families should work closely with their pediatrician and school staff using a shared decision-making approach regarding options regarding return to school, whether in person, blended, or remote. See the AAP Caring for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic for more details.


Red Light, Green Light: Am I Doing this Re-Entry Right?

Written by Dr. Carly Wilbur, UH Pediatrician and psi Medical Director

Wallet, keys, phone… mask: We check our pockets before leaving the house or the car. Pretty soon, if Americans continue to take advantage of the readily available COVID-19 vaccines, we may be able to drop that last item off the list. Airplane travel, celebrations with large indoor gatherings of strangers, full days at the office or at school without wearing a mask— after 15 months of pandemic restrictions, these activities that were once so familiar may seem foreign and even scary. One might think that re-entry to what we used to consider normal would be instinctual, but the toll the pandemic has taken on us emotionally, physically, and financially impacts how flexible we can be while returning to baseline. This is a timely topic, but one that can be confusing. Official recommendations change weekly in response to trends in COVID infection, so it can be difficult to pin down the “right” way to behave.

In terms of summer get-togethers, current guidance from the CDC indicates that even indoor gatherings of vaccinated individuals should be safe. The CDC endorses fully-vaccinated individuals to participate in full-capacity worship services, attend classes at a gym, eat at an indoor restaurant or bar, and attend indoor sporting events— all without the need for disease-prevention measures like masking or physical distancing.

But what about unvaccinated individuals? Children under 12 years of age are too young to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, so the best way to facilitate their group play is to utilize the great outdoors. Summer camps can safely allow unvaccinated children to play outside with just a few feet of distance from one another. If the weather doesn’t agree with that plan, masking and physical distancing indoors are still the standard. What about mixed age groups? If families with vaccinated adults and younger children want to share a meal or an activity, is there a safe way to manage that? The data have shown that overwhelmingly, mRNA vaccine recipients will not contract a serious case of COVID even after a close contact, and their risk of virus transmission to others is also greatly reduced. So is it safe for a toddler who attends day care to hug his vaccinated grandmother? Yes. Is it safe for a vaccinated parent to carpool with young children from different homes? Yes. Can schools re-open in the fall without masks? Maybe.

High schools with strong levels of student and teacher vaccination may be able to return to pre-COVID learning arrangements with very low risk of contagion. Middle schools that include only 7th and 8th graders may enjoy the same freedom. Until the vaccine eligibility age is lowered, however, 6th graders and their younger colleagues may find themselves continuing to require masks, generous desk spacing, and plexiglass dividers. There is hope that COVID vaccination will be available to children 6 years and older by the fall, so those predictions may change.

But it’s not just younger individuals who aren’t vaccinated. As of the start of June 2021, only half of eligible adults (16 years of age and older) in the US and 600,000 kids aged 12-15 have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Unfortunately, the science behind the movement has been eclipsed by the politics of the time. The topic of COVID vaccination is polarizing, and it’s unlikely that either side of the debate could convert someone to the other side. What we need to remember is that individual freedoms are protected in our country and we must always remain decent to one another.

According to experts, portions of the population that are fully vaccinated are cleared to return to pre-COVID activities, but unvaccinated children and adults ought to continue to take precautionary measures. There are, however, some protocols that everyone should follow as we embark on this journey together. Be realistic: pre-pandemic life was not perfect, so temper expectations as you return to work, school, traffic, the post office, and other everyday activities. Be patient: there are still shortages and delays associated with suboptimal staffing and production issues. Be brave: for some, remote school or work was a blessing, and in-person interactions may present a challenge as normalcy returns. Be flexible: we managed to adjust and restructure so much of our lives over the last year, and we can certainly do it again in the coming months. Be kind: unless you own Amazon or Purell, you did not have a stellar year. We have all struggled, whether financially, physically, emotionally, socially, or academically. Practice compassion and remember the words of J.M Barry, creator of Peter Pan:

“Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”


Dr. Carly Wilbur is psi’s Medical Director and is a board-certified pediatrician with University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. To learn more, click here or email: