How the Pandemic Accelerated Public Health Management in the Classroom
The Healthy Societies podcast series explores the many ways in which businesses can take an expanded view of their role in advancing the health of their broader communities. Listen to part one, part two, part three, part four and part five of the series.
Public schools have always played a critical role in public health. However, schools have traditionally managed student health, school employee health and greater community health in siloes. Laura Emslie, the director of Human Resources at Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona, is breaking down those barriers with her colleagues to change the way schools impact public health.
On balancing the roles of parents and educators:
“Parent involvement always is first and foremost and is extremely important. However, children spent a good portion of their day in the school setting. … Basic needs can often be met for our schoolchildren that are so important — not only the physical aspects, but also being able to be around other caring adults. Schools play such a wide range of roles in our communities, and oftentimes, the children who don’t receive the care at home are often overlooked, and the school system provides those needs for them.”
How school systems can take new approaches to health insurance:
“This is something we have done over the past few years that has made a significant change in how our employees are using their funds to make healthy choices. … We made the change intentionally to make sure that our employees had a choice and that they had different choices available to them so that they could make the best choice available to them to meet their needs.”
The downstream benefits of supporting school system employee health:
“Our number one role is to provide service to our employees so that they can provide services to our students. … When we provide these services and choices to our employees, we hope to minimize any external noise that they might be facing with their personal life choices so that they can focus on what needs to happen in the classroom.”