Public Health Services

Below is a list of services that Public Health offers to residents and schools in Waterloo Region.

Cannabis

Cannabis is a hot topic. It is important that you commit to providing students information about the health effects and ways to lower health and other risks of using cannabis.

 For further information on ways to lower health and other risks of using cannabis: 

Dental health
The Dental Health program provides dental screenings at each elementary school for Junior Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten and Grade 2 classes. Grades 4, 6 and 8 may be screened as well.

Determining which grades will be screened at each school is based on the percentage of children with two or more decayed teeth found during the previous year's dental screening.

The Dental program staff will schedule a visit to the school to provide a dental screening as mandated by the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Dental staff will arrange for dental screening notices to be sent to schools at least two weeks prior to the screening. School staff will send these notices home to parents to notify them of the upcoming screening.

Healthy environments

A healthy environment is the foundation to a student's healthy living. Public Health works with food, air, land, and water environments to protect health and promote healthy living in Waterloo Region.

Resources

Healthy eating

Healthy eating is an essential component for a student's well-being. It is important that you commit to improving your school's healthy eating environment.

Healthy School Planner is a great tool to assess your school's healthy eating while also providing recommendations for your school on different improvements on your healthy environment.

BrightBites is a non-profit project that provides teachers and other school leaders with free resources (in English and French) to guide their classroom, group, or whole school to a healthier eating environment.

For more information on healthy eating in schools, check the Supporting Healthy Schools page.

Immunizations
Immunization protects children from many diseases that are easily spread in schools.

Under the Immunization of School Pupils Act all primary and secondary students need to have proof of immunization against:

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Meningococcal Disease
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
    • Required for children born in 2010 or later

View the complete immunization schedule.

School Immunization Clinics are available for Grades 7 to 8 for the required immunizations. If your student has missed the chance to receive vaccinations at school due to illness, absence or special circumstances, they have multiple options to access vaccinations. 

For grades 7 to 12, students can:

  • Access all vaccinations through their family doctor's office
  • Contact Public Health to access Catch Up clinics
  • Call Service First Call Centre at 519-575-4400 for more information and to book an appointment

You may decide for medical, religious or philosophical reasons not to immunize your child. In that case you will need to provide a valid written exemption to Public Health.

A legal exemption must be forwarded to Public Health once complete:

For more information, check the School Immunization page.

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and parasites which may cause serious illness or may be transmitted to large numbers of individuals.

For more information, please visit the Infectious Diseases and Sexually Transmitted Diseases pages.

Physical activity
Physical Activity is a great way to promote student well-being. Assess your school's physical activity environment by completing the Healthy School Planner.

Physical activity for children improves school performance academically, behaviourally and socially.

They can also participate in the Playground Activity Leaders in Schools (PALS) to encourage children to participate in playground activities at recess regardless of their gender, size or ability.

For more information about physical activity in schools, check the Supporting Healthy Schools page.

Road safety and injury prevention
The following resources are provided to ensure students' road safety and injury prevention.
Sexual health
Region of Waterloo Public Health provides sexual health services and resources to prevent or reduce the burden of sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections and to promote healthy sexuality for school communities.

Public Health offers testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) & HIV and Sexual Health Counselling. Our clinics provide testing, treatment, education and referrals for sexually transmitted infection, including HIV testing. All services are free and confidential. No health card is required.

Services for the Waterloo Region District School Board

Public Health Nurses are available at Waterloo Region District School Board secondary schools for one half day each week to provide one-on-one counselling, education, support and resources to students on a range of topics, including abstinence.

Services for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Sexual Health Nurses are available to provide curriculum-support to Waterloo Catholic District School Board secondary schools upon request.

Skin cancer prevention
Every time skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun or indoor tanning, the structure and function of our skin cells change which accumulates and can lead to skin cancer.

Children are especially at risk for damage from the sun as they have thin skin and are outdoors more than any other age group.

Schools can create a safe environment for children to learn and play and staff to work by creating awareness, and implementing a skin protection curriculum. Increasing shade by planting trees and installing shade structures on the school site protects users from the sun.

A Public Health Nurse is available to provide consultation with school staff, students and parents on how to develop sun protection policies, guidelines and procedures and how to create shade. To speak to a Public Health Nurse, call 519-575-4400 or TTY 519-575-4608.

For resources on how to get started with bringing shade to school, check the Shade Matters page.

For more information about skin cancer, check the Skin Cancer section on the Cancer page.

Tobacco prevention, protection and cessation

A Public Health Nurse (PHN) is available to provide consultation with school staff, students and parents on smoking and other tobacco-related topics and issues. To speak to a Public Health Nurse, call 519-575-4400.

For more information on tobacco prevention, protection and cessation, check the Youth and Smoking Cessation page.

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