The San Diego County COVID-19 Health Disparities Project recently awarded $2 million to the San Diego County Office of Education to support the office’s work in improving students’ “health literacy.”
Students who are health-literate are able to understand basic health information, directions and services, according to SDCOE. This means they can apply the information to make informed personal health decisions, which can contribute to healthier communities.
“Ten years ago we weren’t talking about vaping or human trafficking in schools,” explained Paige Metz, SDCOE’s health and physical education coordinator, in a statement. “Two years ago, we’d never heard of COVID or experienced life in a pandemic.”
This funding will help educators and school staff to continue supporting classrooms and schools where students can increase their skills in health education, including social and emotional learning. It will also help students learn to think critically about health issues.
Metz said the county office will use the funding to give educators and health education networks more education to increase skills-based health instruction that’s aligned to the California Health Education Framework. The framework focuses on essential concepts in six areas: nutrition and physical activity; mental, social and emotional health; growth, development and sexual health; injury prevention and safety; alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and personal and community health.
Funds will also go directly to county districts and schools in the form of grants focused on health programming for students.
The San Diego County COVID-19 Health Disparities Project funding aims to address COVID-19 health disparities among high-risk populations and those who are traditionally underserved, including racial and ethnic minorities and rural communities.
UC San Diego, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, and other community partners have also received funding to work on similar community-based initiatives. The San Diego County Office of Education’s efforts are focused only on school interventions.