Advocacy for Kids during the Pandemic: Back to School, COVID-19 Community Pediatrics Meetings and Your Voices

Sarah Rafton, MSW
Executive Director, WCAAP

Back to School
The past several months have brought exceptional challenges for children and families’ well-being and also for the preventive care and timely supports we know advance child health. WCAAP’s community has led with strong voices, vision and action for Washington state children and I know you will continue to fight for what kids need.

As it became clear that kids returning to school in the fall was in jeopardy, WCAAP leaders met with our state health officer, with local public health partners and educational stakeholders to advocate for kids’ health and well-being in these difficult and complex circumstances. Thanks to our president, Elizabeth Meade, board members Frank Bell and Sheryl Morelli and WCAAP member Danielle Zerr, WCAAP issued our statement on return to school in July.

Today, we are working with the Seattle School Board to help support bringing kids back to school in outdoor settings – which we hope could translate to other districts. WCAAP and BestStart Washington have issued a joint statement in support of the concept, are testifying to the School Board to advance this proposal, as well as garnering media on outdoor school for the fall. We will keep you apprised of developments.

COVID-19 Community Pediatrics Meetings
Given rapidly changing information about COVID-19 and children’s often overlooked unique medical and social needs related to the pandemic, WCAAP will be restarting our COVID-19 Community Pediatrics calls in September, the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 7-7:30AM. Share with us what topics and support you need in our upcoming COVID-19 Community Pediatrics meetings by completing this 1-minute survey.

We are grateful for our COVID-19 Community Pediatrics planning team, WCAAP members Beth Ebel, Harbir Juj, Lelach Rave, Crystal Shen, and Brian Simmerman, as well as our infection prevention/infectious disease pediatric experts, Danielle Zerr, Frank Bell and Matthew Kronman who will be sure to join community calls to provide their most up to date information and expertise. To participate in these meetings:
Meeting ID: 837 7432 1440
Passcode: 033070
One tap mobile: +12532158782,,83774321440#,,,,,,0#,,033070#

As you will read in this month’s Advocacy Update from Amber Ulvenes and Devon Connor-Greene, our WCAAP members have done an incredible job educating our legislators’ about kids’ growing needs during the pandemic and the urgency of improving Apple Health for Kids to better support children and families. Thank you for your voices. We hope many of you become inspired to advocate and we are here to help if you don’t know where to start!