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Press Release

Release Date: December 09, 2020

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Torri Mathis

Marietta, Okla – Marietta schools were chosen to implement a pilot program designed to provide health-saving school supplies to vulnerable students in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Torri Mathis, HealthCorps coordinator for the school system, says each safety kit contains a Kinsa smart thermometer, four reusable masks, access to a school-wide program to monitor symptoms and protect from outbreak, and other resources.

“I’ve already distributed 85 kits to the students across all of the Marietta schools,” Mathis said. “That includes the primary elementary, upper elementary, middle school and the high school.”

Kit contents stress the fundamentals of keeping the disease at bay – wearing a mask, washing hands and staying six feet apart.

COVID-19 has affected millions physically, but there has also been an emotional toll which the kits’ contents address in the form of “Iceberg,” Mathis said.

“Iceberg is a little activity children can do on their own or with their parents. It’s a way they can write down what they are feeling. We know a lot of people are going through tough times right now. It’s a way they can write out their feelings and talk about it together as a family, to express themselves in that way,” she said.

Another feature, which is strictly voluntary, is an app that allows school administrators to keep an eye on virus spreading issues that may potentially affect the student population as a whole.

“In the kit is a Kinsa thermometer and with it an app called Fluency,” Mathis said. “Kinsa has reconfigured their app in a way that will help families screen children before sending them to school each day.

“If they are willing to participate, they can log into the app, check the child’s temperature, and put in their symptoms. It will provide feedback to the family, such as whether or not the child should remain home or perhaps seek medical care,” she said.

To protect the child’s identity, the information goes to a school nurse not on an individual basis, but in aggregate data as a way of determining the risk of potential outbreak.

“If someone does have a fever it won’t directly send that information to the nurse because we want to protect the child’s privacy. The goal is to help parents check their child’s temperature, check their symptoms, and try to prevent a potential outbreak so everyone can come to school safely.”

Mathis says 200 kits were donated anonymously to Marietta schools at a cost of $50 each. Each $50 donation from community members will be matched, allowing HealthCorps and Kinsa to provide “Safe Student Kits” to two additional students per donation.

HealthCorps is a national non-profit committed to eliminating health inequity in at-risk communities by educating and empowering students by giving them tools to improve their physical and mental health.

The Chickasaw Nation sponsors HealthCorps in Marietta, Newcastle, Davis, Kingston and Purcell, Oklahoma, public schools.