FCPS Wellness Newsletter Summer 2021

Summer 2021

FCPS Wellness Newsletter

June is #NationalSafetyMonth

As school begins to wind down, the start of summer can be a perfect time to teach students to prepare for possible emergency situations at home. Summer fun has some associated risks if children are not educated about them. Creating a plan with the adults of their home and practicing the plan before an emergency occurs is a smart way to be prepared. Here are some ideas for emergency preparedness:

  • Review firework and water safety with the family. See the Health and Physical Education section of this newsletter for more safety information.
  • Hold drills at home to help children know what to do in the event of a fire, tornado or other medical emergency.
  • Put together a first aid kit

Activity idea: Do It Yourself First Aid Kit

It is easy to make your own first aid kit to take along on family vacations or just to have ready in your home. You can make more than one kit so you have a kit for your home and a kit to store in your car so you’re always prepared. If you already have a first aid kit, get into the habit of making sure the items are in good condition and medications and ointments are not expired. .

First Aid Kit

Suggestions for creating           your own first aid kit:

Your first aid kit should be stored in a water-tight and sturdy container. Lunchboxes are a good size for most first aid kits. Here is a list of essential items for a first aid kit.

Mental Health News

Healthy Minds

Healthy Minds is a blog and podcast for parents, educators, and community-based providers who are interested in supporting student mental health and wellness. As a part of the Healthy Minds Fairfax initiative, the FCPS develops posts with timely information for all. Recent blog topics have included: Social Emotional Learning, Countering Stigma and Racism, and Building Resilience to Handle Challenging Times. Visit the Healthy Minds Blog for tips and strategies for increasing wellness and resiliency, as well as fostering success at home, at school and in the community. New content is posted to the blog weekly. Listen to the Healthy Minds Podcast which posts a new episode at least once a month.

Student enjoys watermelon

Food and Nutrition Update

Snacks are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, especially in children. Children are growing and developing rapidly and have an increased need for energy and essential nutrients. Snacks can satisfy hunger between meals and give children a boost of energy to keep their busy bodies and minds going.

Snack time provides a wonderful opportunity to encourage and practice healthy eating habits. Here are some ideas to promote healthy snacking:

Fairfax County Health Department News

In May, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice accepted the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to expand the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 to 15 years of age. The vaccine has been studied and shown to be safe and effective in this age group and both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians support its use.  

Already, the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) has vaccinated thousands of children aged 12+. We understand the decision to get your child vaccinated is a personal choice, and we want you to have all of the information you need to make a decision for your family.

Vaccinating children in the 12-15 age group is a critical step towards achieving community immunity, and it will help keep your classrooms safe and healthy places to learn. We encourage everyone 12 years of age and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. This Pfizer fact sheet has important information about the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only vaccine currently available to children as young as 12 years.

Many pediatricians and family doctors’ offices now have vaccine, and you may choose to take your child to their regular medical provider for the vaccine. There are also many other opportunities to get COVID-19 vaccine in Fairfax, including Urgent Care facilities, pharmacies, Inova, and FCHD. Many locations offer same-day appointments, and some even have walk in availability. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or another adult at all community vaccination sites.

  • To learn how to get a vaccine at a Health Department clinic site, including the Fairfax County Government Center, George Mason University, and the Tysons Community Vaccination Center, go to fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine or call the Fairfax County Health Department vaccine call center at 703-324-7404. You can schedule directly, and you don’t need to pre-register.
  • Walk-in appointments are also being offered at the Tysons Community Vaccination Center Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. This center is located in the former Lord & Taylor site at Tysons Center at 7950 Tysons Corner Center in McLean.
  • To schedule an appointment at Inova’s Stonebridge site at 5001 Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria, go to inova.org/COVID19/vaccine-scheduling.
  • Locations for other vaccine providers in the community, including local pharmacies, can be found at vaccines.gov. Be sure to search for Pfizer vaccine which is the only vaccine currently for use on children 12 – 17 years. You can also text your ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) for information in English or VACUNA (822862) for information in Spanish.

Health and Physical Education News

Summer Fun

The warmer weather has many people thinking about fun summer activities. The longer days provide a great opportunity to enjoy activities outdoors – swimming, biking, hiking, morning or evening walks, camping, or simply relaxing outside.  Summer can be a great time to try a new outdoor activity or spend time outside with family and friends.  As you prepare to head out, be sure to keep safety in mind.  Here are some basic safety tips:    


Sun safety

  • Follow the American Cancer Society’s catchphrase:                            SLIP! SLOP! SLAP! and WRAP!
    • Slip on a shirt
    • Slop on sunscreen
    • Slap on a hat
    • Wrap on sunglasses
  • Reapply sunscreen after swimming or vigorous physical activity.
  • Check the expiration date on sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV light.
  • If possible, limit time in direct sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Water safety

  • Never leave children unsupervised when swimming.
  • Teach your child to swim or enroll them in swim lessons. Be sure they know what to do if they fall into a pool.
  • Do not assume younger children have retained swimming skills from last summer, especially if they were unable to practice during the winter
  • Wear a life jacket when boating, fishing, water skiing,and jet skiing. Children and inexperienced swimmers should also wear a lifejacket when swimming.
  • Do not enter the water to help a swimmer in distress unless you are trained to do so. Instead extend something such as a long pole or paddle or throw a life saving device to the person and pull them in.

Warm weather safety

  • Stay hydrated! Drink water to replace fluid lost to sweating. Carry water with you when engaging in any outdoor activities.
  • If you feel too hot, experience dizziness, or feel lightheaded, take a break and move to the shade or indoors.
  • Recognize the signs of heat stroke and take immediate action.
    • Hot, red, dry or damp skin
    • Headache

New in Employee Wellness

Wellbeats Benefit

Employee Wellness launched a new wellness benefit, Wellbeats, in April! Wellbeats is an on-demand fitness and wellbeing platform to inspire employees to stay healthy and feel better than ever. The Wellbeats platform includes 800+ workouts, nutrition, cooking, and mindfulness classes for all ages, ability levels, and interests. There is something for everyone from 5-minute office breaks to a 5-week “Train Your Way to a 5K” challenge. 

Monthly Health Focus

To expand wellness offerings to Fairfax County Public School employees, Employee Wellness has featured a monthly health topic and activity each month in 2021. Featured health topics include heart health, nutrition, sustainability and more! During May, a week-long Wellness at Work Expo focusing on mental health was held. The expo featured a variety of daily activities to help employees combat stress and improve their overall wellbeing. The expo ended with a fun virtual dance party and a live DJ helped everybody dance their way into the weekend!

One more thought . . .

"The scariest moment is always before you start"

Every ending delivers a new beginning. As we finish the school year, what new wellness practice will you start this summer? Share your adventures in meditation, healthy eating, napping, exercising journaling, however you plan to take time for yourself, with our editor at tcmurray@fcps.edu