Clarke County Public Schools will partner with the Virginia Department of Health’s Lord Fairfax Health District and other school divisions in the Lord Fairfax Planning District (Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Shenandoah, and Page Counties and the City of Winchester) to administer the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey to all eighth and 11th grade students September 18 – 20, 2012 during one of their regular class periods. School officials say the survey is voluntary and completing the survey should take approximately 30 minutes and that there is no physical test or exam involved.
Superintendent Michael F. Murphy said, “Our division decided to participate in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey because there is strong evidence that healthy students learn better. To improve academic achievement and help ensure that students do not engage in behaviors that put their health at-risk, it is critical to implement quality health programs, policies and activities based on data regarding the health-risk behaviors in which students are engaged. The data gathered through this survey will help local public health officials and our schools identify areas of concern so that they can be addressed in the future.”
The survey is designed to provide baseline data on six types of health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among young adults, including: behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; alcohol and other drug use; tobacco use; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and inadequate physical activity. The survey also will assess the prevalence of obesity and asthma among youth in the region.
The results will be used by the Lord Fairfax Health District to identify factors that may affect the health of the area’s youth. The results also will provide the data needed to access certain sources of funding in order to improve health, education, and prevention programs in our community.
School officials said that the survey will be administered in a manner designed to protect student privacy. Students will complete the self-administered questionnaire by recording their responses directly in a computer-scannable booklet, on an answer sheet or on a survey booklet which contains no personal identifiers.
The survey addresses many sensitive areas of students lives so parents of eighth and 11th grade students may opt-out their children by completing a form that is being sent home prior to the survey being administered. The opt-out form can also be downloaded from the school system’s website here: http://www.clarke.k12.va.us/files/_gFLiC_/e1baecd3602c90d03745a49013852ec4/Parent_Opt_Out_Form.pdf
No action is required by parents who want their child to participate in the survey.
Copies of the survey are being made available for review at Johnson-Williams Middle School and Clarke County High School.
The middle school survey can be accessed online at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/questionnaire/2011_ms_questionnaire.pdf
The high school survey can be accessed online at: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/questionnaire/2011_xxh_questionnaire.pdf
Results from the 2011 survey are available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6104.pdf
Anyone with additional questions about the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is asked to contact the Lord Fairfax Health District at 540-722-3480.