Sound Off: Bond to improve school facilities also benefits student health


As Whidbey’s specialists in pediatric health, we are writing to express our support for the upcoming South Whidbey school bond and to emphasize a critical aspect of this initiative – the undeniable correlation between school quality and student health. We believe investing in our schools is not only an investment in our children’s education but also in their overall well-being.

First and foremost, the physical condition of school buildings plays a vital role in the health and safety of our students. Deteriorating facilities can expose children to health hazards such as mold and poor air quality, which can lead to respiratory problems, viral spread, allergies and other health issues. The proposed bond would replace the leaking roof of the middle/high school campus and replace the outdated HVACs at both campuses to address these concerns and provide our students with safe and healthy learning environments.

Moreover, the connection between school infrastructure and student mental health cannot be overstated. The medical community has observed a mental health crisis in youth over the last five years, making it crucial that we act now to ensure their sense of safety and belonging. Research validates schools that offer well-maintained common areas create a positive and conducive atmosphere for learning. Such environments can reduce stress and anxiety among students and help foster a sense of belonging and promote better mental health.

Currently, the elementary playground is not accessible by all students and leaves some children out of critical social-emotional learning. This bond would replace aging equipment and ensure children of all physical abilities can safely play with their peers. It would also replace the broken courtyard at the middle/high school already known to have caused injury and create new outdoor learning spaces. Converting the football field to artificial turf will allow for more use of the field by various types of sports and community activities in varied weather.

Investing in our schools is an investment in the future of our community. By voting in favor of the school bond, we are not only supporting the academic growth of our children but also ensuring they can thrive in a healthy, equitable, and nurturing environment. Let us prioritize our students’ well-being and future by voting “yes” for the school bond.

Hannah Carlson, ARNP

Amy Garrett, MD

Michele Gasper, MD

Robert Wagner, MD,

Danielle Gladstone, MD

Heather Good, PA-C

Sarah Poyen, MD

Elizabeth Cortez, LICSW,

Paul Samuelson, PMHNP

Teri Baker, LPN