Nothing but the truth at NYSCSH
During this time, we are all facing many challenges. The New York State Center for School Health (NYSCSH) team, which is part of the Department for Exceptional Children at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, has stepped up to meet these challenges and support schools by gathering and verifying important health information for school nurses, school medical directors, school health educators and other school professionals throughout the state.
“One of the Center's activities as a contract office for NYSED is to aggregate and curate current evidence-based resources for school health professionals,” said Center Director Linda Khalil. “Right now, an overwhelming amount of health information on COVID-19, some accurate and some inaccurate, is being shared through various media outlets, leading to confusion and anxiety. Our job is to be a one-stop source for credible information.”
The Center recently launched the #ThinkCheckCorrect campaign, inviting school health professionals and others to take a pledge to make sure health information is reliable before using it themselves or sharing it with others. To make keeping the pledge easier, the NYSCSH has created a resource page called Finding and Using Credible Health Resources that shares recommendations for evaluating credible health information along with links to trusted sources. This campaign is not limited to the present COVID-19 pandemic, but addresses best practices in finding, evaluating and using health information as a life skill.
“We update the NYSCSH website several times a day,” said Khalil. “It contains current, credible, concise information on COVID-19 and other issues from the CDC, NYSDOH, NYSED, Office of Children and Family Services, and other resource organizations in one place. It also includes resource pages for school nurses, school medical directors and school health educators, along with mental health resources, FAQs, real-time tracking tools, tips for avoiding online phishing scams, and new resources to use to work and teach remotely. We collaborate with NYSED Student Support Services daily and are currently working on resources for school re-entry.”
In addition to staying in touch with some 4,500 email-subscribers and over 1,000 Facebook users, the NYSCSH team also offers a suite of professional development training webinars. Topics include a range of interest areas, from HIV prevention and asthma management to opioid overdose prevention and e-cigarettes. Their newest course provides an overview of how to navigate the internet and use common computer shortcuts, which will be very helpful to school staff who are now working and teaching remotely. The NYSCSH’s sophisticated online learning management system (LMS) allows learners to easily track and measure their learning. Certified teachers and administrators receive Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credit upon completion. “You can use the LMS to take advantage of educating yourself no matter where you are,” said Khalil. “It helps you be better prepared to provide care, support and educate your students and families.”