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Creating Safe, Healthy, and Happy Environments: The Role Schools Play in Health Literacy

January 21, 2022 12:00 AM
By: PDE Press and Communications Office

​Schools play a critical role in the development and daily lives of children and their families. They are a place to learn and grow—and learn about much more than just subjects like writing, science, and history. In the ever-changing landscape of our world today, schools also play an important role in health literacy. 

Health literacy is the degree to which people can obtain, process, and understand basic health information in order to make appropriate health decisions. Educating students, families, and our communities about health and wellness is a big job, but we know our schools are up to the task of helping to create safe, healthy, and happy environments.

The past couple of years have not been easy and our schools have taken on many new challenges, but throughout it all, they have continued to give back and serve no matter what gets thrown their way. One big way that schools have been helping to keep their communities safe and healthy is by hosting vaccine clinics—from routine childhood vaccinations or, more recently, the COVID-19 vaccine.

Schools across the commonwealth have been hosting vaccine clinics for students of all ages and their families to access the free, safe, and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Over the past few months, schools like Shippensburg Area Senior High School, Coatesville Area Senior High School, and Dieruff High School in Allentown have hosted vaccine clinics so that anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get one. By providing access to health education and services such as vaccine clinics, schools are doing their part to help increase health literacy. These services are benefiting more than just the students sitting in their classrooms – through their outreach efforts, schools educate whole communities too!

The work that Pennsylvania's schools are doing to promote health literacy—from vaccine clinics to promoting vaccine confidence among students, parents, and guardians; promoting well-child visits for routine health needs; and encouraging the use of masks and social distancing—are truly invaluable to the commonwealth as we work to combat COVID-19 together. 

See more ways schools can support COVID-19 vaccination and the best practices for school-located vaccination clinics.

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