Health

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Exclusion Criteria

As outlined by the "Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools K-12" students and staff should stay home or be sent home if they have:
  • Fever is greater than 100.4 or chills

  • New, uncontrolled cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Exposure to a COVID-19 case

COVID Timelines 1-4-2021[2].pdf
COVID19 Response flowchart v6 1-2-2021.pdf

Contact Tracing

When a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, our Northern Kentucky Health Department will work with the school and households to complete the process of contact tracing. When collaborating with the local health department with any positive cases of COVID-19, the District will provide information that will allow quick identification of those at high risk of infection from the positive COVID-19 student/staff. Having the health department quickly initiate a 14 day quarantine of those at-risk individuals is our best defense against further spread of the viral illness.

Contact Tracing 3.pdf
Contact Tracing.pdf
Contact Tracing 2.pdf

Well Being

Dear Parents,

This has been a unique and trying time for many families and students in our community. The initiation of Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) at the end of the past school year and the recent events of the summer months have made reopening our schools emotionally challenging for students and families. Please be aware that the Fort Thomas Independent Schools understands that transitioning back to school may be difficult for many of our students. Our teachers and staff understand the social and emotional challenges, and they have received additional professional learning opportunities to help students cope with their social and emotional needs. Through our Professional Development Academy, our teachers will receive additional training related to social and emotional issues to support students during the upcoming school year. Our school district has also maintained our long-standing relationship with the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky to continue to support our students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs. Also, additional resources for families can be found on our website by following Student Services>Social and Emotional Resources (https://sites.google.com/fortthomas.kyschools.us/sel-resources-ftis/home). As always, we know that our parents and families are our greatest strength. We understand the need to partner with you to fully understand the sensitive needs of your children. If you are concerned about your child’s social and emotional well-being, please contact your child’s school counselor to discuss how the school can provide additional supports during this time.

We also understand that there will be special challenges for remote learners. Students who are learning remotely due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 may experience increased social isolation as a result of not attending school with their classmates. As a result of the remote learning model, the child will have less social contact with school staff and classmates. We are asking that parents of remote learners, in particular, keep your child’s teacher and school informed about how your child is coping socially and emotionally with this educational situation. Each child that is learning remotely is different and requires varied accommodations to meet their emotional needs. If you are concerned about your child, please contact your school to develop a social and emotional support plan that meets their needs.

Please know that the Fort Thomas Independent Schools are aware that this academic school year may present as more challenging for students who physically attend school and for those involved in remote learning. To successfully educate our students, we need to continue our strong relationships with families to understand your needs. If you have concerns about your child, please inform us of those so we can work together to develop additional learning supports.

Sincerely,

Patrick Richardson, Ph.D.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools

Licensed Psychologist


Offering Support

FTIS school counselors and staff ​will support both in-person and remote learners by coaching teachers, directly delivering social-emotional learning curriculum, and individually supporting students as determined by building level team decision making.

Counselors and school staff have received professional learning that supports their ability to support students individual and mental health needs during this time. In preparation for the upcoming school year, FTIS staff have received additional training concerning suicide prevention, trama-informed teaching, and mental health issues to support students learning needs. Counselors ​will support both in-person and remote learners by coaching teachers, directly delivering curriculum, and individually supporting students.

Parental/Guardian Guidelines for Helping Your Child/Children Cope With all the Changes Related to COVID-19

Stay calm, listen and offer reassurance

Children will react to and follow your reactions. You are their role model. They learn from your example. Your discussion about COVID-19 can increase or decrease your child's fear.

Deep breathing is a valuable tool for calming the nervous system. Demonstrate such strategies. Do breathing exercises with your children.

If true, remind your child that your family is healthy, and you are going to do everything within your power to keep loved ones safe and well. Tell your child that your family is following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, which includes social distancing. Social distancing means staying away from others until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is under control. While we don't know how long it will take to "flatten the curve," Reduce the number of those infected, we do know that this is a critical time. We must follow the guidelines of health experts to do our part.

"We will have more family time to spend together." Suggest they draw or write their thoughts and feelings. Allow older children to connect with their friends virtually. They probably don't fully understand why parents/guardians aren't allowing them to be with friends. Showing older children, the "flatten the curve" charts will help them grasp the significance of social distancing. Make it as fun as possible. Do family projects. Organize belongings, create masterpieces, Sing, laugh, and go outside if possible to connect with nature and get needed exercise. Offer lots of love and affection.

Parents/ Guardians should monitor television viewing and social media

During a crisis, it is wise to limit television viewing of sites that increase fear. Parents should also monitor the internet and social media sites that their child/children are using as well as their own. Explain to your child that many stories about COVID-19 on the Internet may include rumors and inaccurate information. Talk to your child about factual information about this disease. Watching continual updates on COVID-19 may increase anxiety. Developmentally inappropriate information, information designed for adults, can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young. Engage your child in games or other exciting activities instead.

Parents/ Guardians should monitor television viewing and social media

During a crisis, it is wise to limit television viewing of sites that increase fear. Parents should also monitor the internet and social media sites that their child/children are using as well as their own. Explain to your child that many stories about COVID-19 on the Internet may include rumors and inaccurate information. Talk to your child about factual information about this disease. Watching continual updates on COVID-19 may increase anxiety. Developmentally inappropriate information, information designed for adults, can cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young. Engage your child in games or other exciting activities instead.

Be honest and accurate

Children often imagine situations worse than reality; therefore, offering developmentally appropriate facts can reduce fears. Tell your child/children; this disease spreads between people who are in close contact with one another—when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus spreads when one touches infected objects or surfaces.

For additional factual information, see the CDC's "Get the Facts about Coronavirus"

Know the symptoms of COVID-19

Children often imagine situations worse than reality; therefore, offering developmentally appropriate facts can reduce fears. Tell your child/children; this disease spreads between people who are in close contact with one another—when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus spreads when one touches infected objects or surfaces.

For additional factual information, see the CDC's "Get the Facts about Coronavirus"

Model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices

Encourage your child to practice daily good hygiene—simple steps to prevent spreading the virus. Wash your hands multiple times a day for 20 seconds. Compliment your child when he/she uses a Kleenex or sneezes or coughs into the bend of their elbow. Teach them the importance of throwing away used tissues immediately after sneezing or coughing. Sadly, handshakes and hugs need to be limited to immediate family members, at least for now. Offering guidance on what your child/children can do to prevent infection offers a greater sense of control, which reduces anxiety. Please encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly; this will help them develop a robust immune system to fight off illness.

Model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices

Encourage your child to practice daily good hygiene—simple steps to prevent spreading the virus. Wash your hands multiple times a day for 20 seconds. Compliment your child when he/she uses a Kleenex or sneezes or coughs into the bend of their elbow. Teach them the importance of throwing away used tissues immediately after sneezing or coughing. Sadly, handshakes and hugs need to be limited to immediate family members, at least for now. Offering guidance on what your child/children can do to prevent infection offers a greater sense of control, which reduces anxiety. Please encourage your child to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly; this will help them develop a robust immune system to fight off illness.

Parents/Guardians know their child/children best

Let your child's/children's questions guide you. Answer their questions truthfully but don't offer unnecessary details or facts. Don't avoid giving them the information that experts indicate as crucial to your child's/children's well-being. Often, children/youth do not talk about their concerns because they are confused, or they don't want to worry loved ones. Younger children absorb scary information in waves. They ask questions, listen, play, and then repeat the cycle. Children always feel empowered if they can control some aspects of their life. A sense of control reduces fear. Keep explanations age- appropriate. Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should balance COVID-19 facts with appropriate reassurances that adults are there to help keep them healthy and to take care of them if they do get sick. Give simple examples of the steps people make every day to stop germs and stay healthy, such as washing hands. Use language such as "adults are working hard to keep you safe." Upper elementary and early middle school children are more vocal in asking questions about whether they indeed are safe and what will happen if COVID-19 spreads in their area. They may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss the efforts national, state and community leaders are doing to prevent germs from spreading.

Upper middle and high school students can discuss issues in more depth. Refer them to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Provide honest, accurate, and factual information about the current status of COVID-19.

Adapted from, Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource, National Association of School Psychologists, NASP, 2020.

Navigating the Mental Wellness of Your Child and Family

During these times of stress and uncertainty, we must not forget to take care of our mental wellness along with our physical health. Below you will find some resources to support you and your family members during this time of uncertainty.

Check In

Are you checking in with your child and yourself about mental health?

• Talk with your child/children one-on-one

• Listen without judgment and ask questions

• Use some of the resources provided here to start the conversation



Self Care Tips

Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved ones.

  • Take breaks from following the news, including social media

  • Take care of your body with exercise, healthy eating, meditation, and good sleep

  • Make time to relax

  • Connect with others and talk about your concerns and feelings

Changes to Watch For

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way so here are some common changes to look for:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children

  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)

  • Excessive worry or sadness

  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits

  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens

  • Poor school performance or avoiding school

  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past

  • Unexplained headaches or body pain

  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Next Steps

We encourage you to reach out, if applicable, for more support to your school-based mental health professionals or community mental health supports (see below).

  • Contact your health insurance for a list of covered providers

  • Check with your faith-based community for potential resources

  • Talk with your employer to see if you have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

  • Ask your child’s primary care physician for referrals/ideas

  • If your family does not have insurance, take a look at some more flexible alternatives such as NorthKey Community Mental Health Services.

Resources to help kids cope with stress

Helping Kids Manage Coronavirus Fears
Helping students with OCD that is heightened due to Covid-19
Navigate Life Changes due to Coronavirus

Resources for Teachers

Resources for Parents and Teachers

Jamee Flaherty

Assistant Superintendent for Student Services

Email

Dr. Patrick Richardson

Licensed Psychologist

Email