Health Education & Health Promotion Specialist
- Introduction to School Worksite Wellness
Schools are not only places of learning, but they are also worksites. Fostering school employees’ physical and mental health protects school staff, and by doing so, helps to support students’ health and academic success. Healthy school employees—including teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria and custodial staff, and contractors—are more productive and less likely to be absent. They serve as powerful role models for students and may increase their attention to students’ health. Schools can create work environments that support healthy eating, adopt active lifestyles, be tobacco free, manage stress, and avoid injury and exposure to hazards (e.g., mold, asbestos). A comprehensive school employee wellness approach is a coordinated set of programs, policies, benefits, and environmental supports designed to address multiple risk factors (e.g., lack of physical activity, tobacco use) and health conditions (e.g., diabetes, depression) to meet the health and safety needs of all employees. Partnerships between school districts and their health insurance providers can help offer resources, including personalized health assessments and flu vaccinations. Employee wellness programs and healthy work environments can improve a district’s bottom line by decreasing employee health insurance premiums, reducing employee turnover, and cutting costs of substitutes.