2023 Health & Wellness Update
February 10, 2023
Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,
Here at the School District, students are our most important stakeholders. As such, we are firmly committed to supporting their mental and physical health. While we continue working to improve our current efforts, today we are happy to share a few new resources and initiatives that will be launching in 2023.
Kooth Online Mental Wellbeing Community
Next month we will launch our partnership with Kooth, an online mental health and wellbeing platform created for young people. It is a safe and confidential community where students can access professional counseling, peer-to-peer support and vital self-help tools like goal-setting resources, advice and opinion pieces, and written personal experiences from peers and experts. This partnership, which will initially roll out exclusively for high school students, was developed in collaboration with School District of Philadelphia high schoolers who worked with the Office of Student Support Services to research and test a variety of different options before choosing Kooth. While we know that the best way to help students is in person, at home and at school, we are thrilled to offer an additional resource that will help students feel connected, accepted and understood. More information on Kooth will be shared with students and families in the coming weeks.
In-School Vaccinations and Physicals
Since the 2021-2022 school year, District students have had the opportunity to receive vaccinations and physicals at their school, with parental consent. We will continue hosting these vaccination and physical events this year and following years, with a particular focus on schools serving our middle and high schools in the highest-need communities. Providing these services at schools provides quality care for students who may not have medical access elsewhere and helps connect them to community health care partners. It will also decrease the amount of time it can take for students to receive their state-mandated school immunizations, school physicals and sports physicals. All students are required to be up to date on their state-mandated school immunizations and should get yearly physicals. Find immunization information here.
School-Based Wellness Centers
As an additional effort to provide more timely and accessible medical care to students and their families, the District is planning to open wellness centers at select school sites over the course of the next couple of years. These centers will serve the school communities exclusively and provide acute care, immunizations and health education. While we expect to open these centers at strategic school locations around the city, our inaugural location will open this Spring. We will be sharing more information about the District Wellness Centers throughout the year.
Learn more about our student health services here, and our mental health supports here. Additional resources and information for parents, including information on how to sign up for health insurance, can be found here.
As the School District of Philadelphia’s new Strategic Plan is taking shape, a few things are certain. We will provide a welcoming school for every child that supports their academic growth as well as their mental and physical health. We will take bold action to address the inequity that exists in our city by providing resources and opportunities for those who need them. And we will partner with parents, families and students at every turn. These mental and physical health initiatives are just a few steps toward meeting those commitments.
Tony B. Watlington Sr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia