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WCSB updated on facility projects

A representative from D’Huy Engineering spoke about the status of bids for two anticipated major projects during Whitehall-Coplay School Board’s Sept. 11 committee meetings.

Mike Sandler, from D’Huy, said bids have been submitted and reviewed for improvements to the field house and middle school science classrooms.

The first project is the field house improvement. There is a hot water issue and leaking fixtures in the field house. The repairs will need to be done after football season.

In the middle school science classrooms, sinks and drains are leaking. These rooms require immediate attention because of special needs due to chemicals and science materials.

Repairs and improvements are being paid for with capital reserve funds taken from the general fund. These changes were determined as part of the capital improvement plan.

Michele Khouri, district registrar and community outreach, informed the board the Snack Pack Pals program has returned. Steckel, Gockley and Zephyr elementary schools are participating.

The Snack Pack Pals program provides food for long weekends.

The first distribution will be Oct. 5. Each pack contains a protein and something a child could microwave if needed. A beverage is also included when possible. This program is funded by grants, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Lehigh Valley Health Network presented an informative look at its school-based behavioral health program. The program had 80 new student referrals last school year. That count does not include students who continued treatment from the year before.

The main reasons for referrals are anxiety, depression, family disruptions and hyperactivity. Five different assessment tools are used to determine if and how much treatment is necessary.

Adverse childhood experiences and social determinants such as food insecurity, housing instability, discrimination are all factored into this assessment. There is also a strengths and difficulties questionnaire.

At the six-month point, students are asked how the problem changed since they entered treatment.

LVHN donates 250 hours of in-kind assistance to students each year. These are nontherapeutic hours but time spent helping students with insurance questions and psychoeducational social skills. It was noted the problems become more serious as the students get older, creating even more of a need within the school system.