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N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
November 12, 2020     N. Warren Town and County News
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November 12, 2020

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SCHOOL and SPORTS Official Publication for the Norwalk Community School District Thursday, November 12, 2020 N/Warrm Town and County News Norwalk Warriors Page Seven Virtual School Means Extra Screen Time — And Eye Strain This school year is beginning in much the way the last one ended, with many districts opting for virtual learning, which means children sit at home in front of computer screens rather than in a classroom in front of teachers. But that extra screen time — mixed with the screen time many children and teenagers spend on their own brings with it the potential for serious eye strain, says Dr. Jeff Kegarise, an optometrist, clinical management expert, and co-author with his wife, Susan, of One Patient at a Time: The K2 Way Playbook for Healthcare & Business Success (www.theK2Way.com). “Spending too much time in front of screens on computers, phones and tablets can lead to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes and more,” Kegarise says. “Gritty, scratchy, watery, or irritated eyes can be common because of all the digital devices people use these days.” And if things aren’t bad enough, even without this added time staring at computers, about one-fourth of children in the US. have a vision problem significant enough to affect their performance in school, Kegarise says. It’s not unusual for some children to spend hours staring at a video game screen, perhaps so caught up in the game’s action that they fail to notice or care about any eye discomfort that results. Add several hours of online school, though, and eye strain becomes more difficult to ignore. Kegarise says parents can help their children alleviate some of the eye strain by making sure they do the following: Take breaks. To a certain extent, students won’t have control over this because teachers will decide when ‘breaks-happen'during the school day. But ideally, they should take a break from the screen every 30 minutes, Kegarise says. . Choose the right lighting. The type of lighting used in the student’s work space can make a difference. Incandescent lights work better than fluorescent lights because they give off less glare, Kegarise says. “It’s also better if the light is placed over your shoulder than if it’s shining straight down on the screen because that will cause fewer reflections,” he says. Adjust the position of the computer. The computer monitor and the keyboard should be positioned to conform with the child’s size. Make sure the screen isn’t too high in the child’s field of View. A report by the National Institutes of Health suggests an adjustable chair is the best option to get height just right] Remind them to blink. Parents should remind children to blink when they spend a lot of time in front of a screen. That helps spread tears across the eyes, keeping the eyes lubricated and aiding in the prevention of dry eyes, Kegarise says. Even without all this added screen time, children often develop vision issues that hurt their performance in school and sports, Kegarise says. Forty percent of children develop nearsightedness, he says, and it’s an even higher percentage for those who have a parent who is nearsighted. “In addition, reading difficulties and attention problems are often the result of eye muscle, visual processing, and function problems.” Kegarise says. “Parents who feel that their child has a tougher time reading and comprehending than others should consider an eye exam for them. It’s possible through vision therapy to make life-changing and long—lasting improvements to their learning and confidence.” How Do I Find Out What’s Going On at Norwalk Schools? N orwalk Athletic/Activities Website: www.norwalkwarriors.org Norwalk Music Boosters: www.norwalkmusicboosters.com Norwalk Athletic & Activity Schedules: www.littlehawkeyeconfere’nce.com Insect Zoo Available Virtually for Classrooms With so many variations of in-person and online learning going on, staff at Iowa State University’s Insect Zoo don’t want students to miss out on the opportunity to learn about bugs. The Insect Zoo is offering virtual Live with Bugs programs that can be tailored to fit the needs of any learning plan. These one-hour, entertaining, and educational programs can be offered via Zoom, Google Classroom, or another online platform. Ginny Mitchell, Insect Zoo education program coordinator, said there are several delivery options to consider: Host multiple classrooms during the program at one time Host one classroom per program with multiple programs in one day (when in-person teaching is occurring) V Share a link to the program so students can view the presentation at home (when online teaching is occurring) “Our Virtual program has everything you love about our hands-on program, except the hands-on part,” Mitchell said. To make up for that, teachers can choose the “live bugs” option to have living superworms sent to their classrooms. The superworms come with food and portion cups in which to keep the bugs so students can experience handling an insect and observe complete metamorphosis. Additionally, the Insect Zoo will send five male Madagascar hissing cockroaches to the classrooms, enclosed in a shoebox complete with food and a care sheet. “This will allaw your students to watch the cockroaches brea;he, just like they get to do in our hands-on progran,” Mitchell said. In a normal year, the Insect Zoo would travel to various schools inlowa, teaching students and adults about bugs, their biology, and their role in nature. While the pandenic has temporarily curtailed in- person visits, it ias opened new opportunities for virtual outreach. If you’re intere:ted in hosting the Insect Zoo for a virtual program,visit https://www.ent.iastate.edu/ insectzool. College Savings Iowa Giveaway in Warren County State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald is celebrating the gift of education with College Savings Iowa with a holiday season giveaway. “I look forward to the end of each calendar year as a way to help families realize an important gift to give is right in front of them,” said Fitzgerald. From now until the end of the year, as a way to reach families all over the state, College Savings Iowa is hosting a $529 giveaway in Warren County. Plus, a grand prize winner will receive a $1,529 College Savings Iowa contribution that will be drawn from all entrants across the state. Those interested can visit Iowa529Contest.com to read the official rules and register for their chance to win before December 31, 2020. Student Assistance Program Student Assistance Program (SAP) is there for students and their families when they are dealing with life’s challenges. SAP provides guidance and support when it comes to assessing concerns and developing strategies for addressing school-life balance, family or relationship issues, emotional issues, alcohol and drug related issues, and other issues that interfere with daily living, happiness, and overall well—being. SAP offers unlimited telephone consults (lines are open 24/7/365 and are answered by a masters level clinician) and up to six free in-person counseling sessions (after six sessions referral options may be provided). Those interested in learning more or accessing SAP services should call 515-244-6090. School staff members: do you have pictures and information about all the great activities going on in your classrooms and elsewhere at school? Send them our way at news@norwalknewspaper.com. We will also happily accept photos and information from parents, students, and community members. 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