Rhode Island Department of Education, Department of Health, DCYF present state’s first Adolescent Sexual Health Profile
As educators, we know that sexual health can be a difficult topic to discuss. However, improving the sexual health of adolescents is a public health and education priority due to the potentially serious health consequences that may occur when teens do not have access to appropriate education, healthcare resources, or support to help them make healthy decisions and minimize risky behaviors. Further, Sexuality and Family Life is one of the seven mandated Comprehensive Health Instructional Outcomes for K-12 health education in Rhode Island. Comprehensive approaches to adolescent sexual health that engage parents, healthcare providers, schools, and communities need to be in place for healthy behaviors to develop and to be sustained.
The RI Department of Education has developed Guidance for Rhode Island Schools on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students. Developed as a result of expressed district need, the Guidance includes pertinent federal and state laws, as well as best practices, to guide the development of district policy. The reference page contains additional resources. Rhode Island has a strong history of statutes, regulations and programmatic supports related to safe and supportive environments. The Guidance is another tool to add to that body of work to support Rhode Island’s youth.
According to RIGL §16-21-35 (2015-S 0154A, 2015-H 5047A) all public middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools are required to maintain opioid antagonists on school premises or at school-sponsored events or activities to treat an opioid overdose. The new law also provides certified nurse teachers with immunity from liability arising from ordinary negligence.
The Department of Health has developed School District Naloxone Model Policy Guidelines to establish guidelines and procedures governing the utilization of Naloxone administered by staff, as well as, Naloxone FAQs to share.
The Department of Health, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Certified School Nurse Teacher Association, will be conducting an educational training for school nurse teachers on October 22.
For more Naloxone resources and training materials, see the following links:
A school-located flu vaccination programs runs each fall throughout Rhode Island. Clinics are for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. There is no out-of-pocket charge for flu vaccination for students. The insurance information of students who have health insurance will be collected, but no student will be turned away for a lack of insurance. For additional information and the fall schedule, please visit http://www.health.ri.gov/find/vaccinations/#flu.
Four leading health organizations released the first-ever national standards for sexuality education in schools. Published in the Journal of School Health, National Sexuality Education Standards: Core Content and Skills, K–12, provides guidance on core content for sexuality education that is developmentally and age-appropriate for students in grades kindergarten through grade 12.
The standards are the result of a cooperative effort by the American Association of Health Education, the American School Health Association, the National Education Association Health Information Network, and the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education, in coordination with the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) Initiative. Nearly 40 stakeholders including content experts, medical and public health professionals, teachers, sexuality educators, and young people developed the standards in a two-year process.