Employee wellness

Prevent illness in schools
The best way to prevent influenza and other infectious disease is to get vaccinated. The best ways to prevent all illness:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Stay at home if you are ill
  • When coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into your sleeve

The School Nurse is an infectious disease resource to your school. The nurse supports students in obtaining immunizations and removing health-related barriers to learning. The Minnesota Department of Health has enterovirus information for parents/guardians available in five languages here.

Host a flu shot clinic at your school event
Homeland Health Specialists and Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) provide flu clinics in schools for families and the surrounding community. Interested schools are invited to schedule flu shot clinics now. If you have a family night or other event scheduled and expect at least 200 attendees, consider hosting a flu shot clinic. For more information, contact Brenda Johnson at 763-746-8060, Jeanne R. Portoghese at 612-617-4512 or portoghesej@mvna.org, or www.homelandhealthspecialist.com. Kohl's and Children's Hospitals and Clinics sponsor the flu shot clinics in schools.

No hand sanitizer in schools
During the cold and flu season, we may be tempted to use hand sanitizers. However, did you know that the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health both recommend using hand sanitizers only as a last resort? Hand sanitizers can contain strong alcohols, dry our skin, increase allergies, and give a false sense of being "germ free" when in fact hand sanitizer effectiveness is quite limited.

SPPS has opted to not use hand sanitizers. Having students wash their hands removes the most germs, and although it takes more time than a squirt and rub, hand washing is the best practice we can instill in our students to develop long-term healthy habits.

Qualify for healthcare savings by following these two easy steps
Time is quickly running out to qualify for healthcare savings in 2015! You and your covered spouse must both complete the health assessment and a well-being activity by September 30. If both of you haven’t completed these two steps yet in 2014, go to www.healthpartners.com/wellbeing now to finish by September 30, 2014. No late assessments will be accepted!

Haven’t started a program yet? Don’t worry, there’s still time! Choose any of the following for a program you can complete by the September 30, 2014 deadline:

  • Your choice: Get credit for the healthy choices you're already making like walking your dog or volunteering. Participate in any activity that improves your health and well-being and self-report your progress. Learn more here.
  • Live Life Well: Live the life you want by eating smart, being active and maintaining a healthy weight. Team up with a virtual coach to eat better, move more and manage your weight. Complete all three conversation topics (20 minutes each) to finish this program. Login to healthpartners.com/wellbeing to complete.
  • Life in Balance: Get your life in balance by learning to manage stress, sleep better and think healthier. Work with a virtual coach to understand the relationship between sleep, stress and positive thinking. Complete all three conversation topics (20 minutes each) to finish this program. Login to healthpartners.com/wellbeing to complete.
  • Quit for Good: Team up with a virtual coach to take your mind off tobacco and quit for good. End the addiction by managing stress and getting active. Complete all three conversation topics (20 minutes each) to finish this program. Login to healthpartners.com/wellbeing to complete.

Even if you completed both steps in 2013, you need to complete both steps again in 2014 to earn the lower copays in 2015.

Not sure if you’ve completed both steps?  Log in to www.healthpartners.com/wellbeing and click on “View Scorecard” to check your status. If you have questions, contact Karly Farrell at district.wellness@spps.org.

SPPS Health and Benefits Fair is Oct. 23
Save the date for the first annual SPPS Health & Benefits Fair on Thursday, Oct. 23 from 2:30-5:30 p.m. at 360 Colborne. Come join your colleagues for a fun, healthy event! Learn more about the resources available to you and how you can take SMALL STEPS TO LIVE WELL. There will be giveaways and prize opportunities! Resources and vendors will include:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Flu Shots
  • Blood pressure readings
  • Healthy cooking demo from Cooks of Crocus Hill
  • Many more!

Mark your calendar for Oct. 23 and watch for further details in future editions of The Bridge.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 3
Open enrollment is your time to get what you want from your SPPS benefits. You can choose the benefits package that meets your needs during the open enrollment period of Nov. 3 to Nov. 14.

What’s Changing:

  • New requirement for dependents—if you cover your spouse or children you will need to provide their Social Security Number
  • Lower cost—medical and dental premiums will be lower for both the district and staff in 2015
  • HealthPartners will be SPPS’ dental carrier for 2015 but you can still keep your dentist and all services will cost the same.

Check The Bridge for updates and additional information about open enrollment. Information will be mailed to your home the week of Oct. 13.

Note: Why do you need my dependents’ SSN?
This is one of the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In order to comply with this new rule everyone enrolled in SPPS coverage must provide a Social Security Number during Open Enrollment. As an employer that offers health coverage, SPPS will be required to provide information to the Federal Government about who is enrolled in our coverage for 2015.

Create a wellness team
The SPPS Wellness Policy requires all buildings to have a Wellness Team, which can be made up of building staff, parents and guardians, students and community members.  Administrators should designate a Wellness Champion and convene a Site Wellness Committee.

The annual fall Wellness Champions training will take place during two sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 360 Colborne. Designated Wellness Champions should register on PD Express for either the 7:30-9:30 a.m. or 3:30-5 p.m. session by Sept. 29. If you have questions, contact SPPS SHIP Grant Coordinator Carol Grady at carol.grady@spps.org.