The Washington Court House City Schools started the 2016-17 school year with a health fair on Monday and with students returning Wednesday.
Every year the city schools hold a Health and Financial Wellness Benefits Fair, which is always held on the first teacher work day, and encourage all of the staff, not just teachers but custodians, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, office workers and more to participate. This has been a time-honored tradition that encourages the employees of the district to be healthy, both physically and financially. Walmart, which was the primary monetary sponsor, and American Fidelity, which is the supplemental benefit specialist that works with the district to provide the section 1.5 health and insurance benefits, help to hold this event that continues to encourage healthy behaviors from employees.
“This year to promote participation, we really reached out to all of our community businesses and we had an overwhelming response from them in providing door prizes to promote attendance,” Becky Mullins, Washington City Schools Treasurer, said. “When it was all said and done we had over 80 door prizes to give away. It was really an exciting first day back and this year we had a Back to School Tailgate theme. The teachers were in their spirit-wear and we had a ‘kick-off’ with a small game during the benefits fair.”
During the event, Fayette County Memorial Hospital does blood work and biometric screenings. This helps in allowing employees the chance to receive free or reduced cost blood work during the event. Additionally, thanks to Wal-Mart, the employees also have the opportunity to receive flu shots and other vaccinations, including a T-DAP, pneumonia shot and shingles shot. Staff can receive the immunizations that day, as most insurance covers the vaccinations at no cost to the employee.
“It is completely voluntary and attendance this year almost doubled last year’s numbers,” Mullins said. “We also went down to Liberty Hall and listened to a few speakers, including (Matthew) McCorkle. Debbie Bryant from United Way talked about how to support their organization, our teachers’ union also spoke to the employees and this year we had a presentation on the current year wellness incentives available to the staff. Kudos to the local businesses for supporting our staff, every business we went to had something to give or offered ways to help us out. We really can’t thank Walmart enough as well, because while the district provides the blood work free to our staff, it is not free for our district. If any staff member has questions about their benefits, they can stop by the treasurer’s office anytime. To the teachers, thank you for participating and I hope you have a great, healthy school year.”
“We want to make sure that we are helping the schools and the individuals within to promote healthy living through immunizations and helping to put out there the education that needs to be available,” Zach Camp, Walmart pharmacy manager, said. “People need to be aware of the fact immunizations are what is important because we want to make sure we keep residents as healthy as possible. If they are healthy, they will miss less work days and school days. There are a lot of misconceptions about immunizations, like they make me sick and other side effects, when really the side effects are fairly minimal. Most are just right on the arm at the injection site where it reacts with a little sore or it is tender. The benefits far outweigh the risks with vaccinations. We are very glad to be able to do this for the school district and hope that it shows that the pharmacy, though backed by a large corporation, is still a very local and personal pharmacy that wants to be involved in the health of the community.”
Other supporters of the health fair were Fayette County Memorial Hospital, First State Bank, Herron Financial and the Fayette County Health Department. Vendors included OSU Extension Office, Ohio Deferred Comp., STRS, SERS, VOYA, 9Round, YMCA, Kroger, Med-Ben Vision Plus, United Way, LeElla Lanes and Comp Management.
Additionally, the students returned to the halls and classrooms Wednesday, and according to Superintendent McCorkle everything went smoothly.
“We started our preschool unit this year, and that kind of added to some of the bus changes, making it a full day job,” McCorkle said. “Really it was a great day. Everyone started well this morning with no big delays in the buses. We were six minutes behind with one bus by the time we got to Cherry Hill, but for the first day it went very well. I think our preschool unit started off with no issues today which was good. We only had eight new teachers compared to 26 or so last year, so I think that also made a difference.”
McCorkle shared a few remarks that he made to the administration of buildings before classes started. He said that they really focused on putting the needs of the kids first as they were attempting to make sure the first day of school was important for the students. He said that this year, the district has a lot of first-time students who will need time getting used to a new city, building, set of teachers and district. McCorkle suggested that the administration was putting forth the effort to make sure those new students had a positive day.
“I had a chance to visit each building today and the students were in good spirits, teachers seemed real positive and I think our staff did a good job of staying positive,” McCorkle said. “We were really focused on having the right attitude. I think they did a good job at that. I like the first day of school a lot more than the last day because we have kind of prepared for this all year, so we learn from past mistakes and try to make it better each year. This year I thought was much better than the first year was for me. I appreciate the parents’ patience with busing and traffic. That is where a lot of the headache comes from and I would ask that they just be patient. Please continue to use good common sense as we try and make sure kids get to where we need them to be safely.”
For more information about the district, contact information for administration or teachers or to view the calendar, visit the district’s website at www.wchcs.org.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy