inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Volunteer Betsy Walls Receives CDC’s Trailblazer Award  

From a press release

Elizabeth “Betsy” Walls, RN, the retired director of personal health for the Chester County Health Department whose efforts helped to establish the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Program and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in Chester County, has been honored with a much-deserved award from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Walls is recognized as Pennsylvania’s PHEP Trailblazer, in celebration of CDC’s 20th anniversary of the PHEP program and Walls’ decades-long service to public health.

Commenting on the well-deserved honor, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said, “Betsy has served as a dedicated public health professional for decades, and Chester County was privileged to have her as part of the Health Department leadership team for nearly 20 years. Clearly her passion to care and protect for our communities did not stop with ‘retirement’ and she continues to actively serve as a medical volunteer in both Chester and Delaware Counties.

“In particular, Betsy helped to lead Chester County’s Medical Reserve Corps actions throughout the pandemic, including immense support for Delaware County, and she continues to work as an MRC Volunteer for Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia Counties.”

Jeanne Franklin, Director of the Chester County Health Department, said, “The Chester County Health Department admires Betsy as a dedicated healthcare worker, volunteer, and a friend. The honor bestowed to her by CDC is much deserved and we are grateful to have had her as a team member for many years.

“Betsy earned the title of ‘rock star’ from our staff and she is a cherished part of the Health Department family.”

Walls is a graduate of the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing and Widener University Graduate School of Nursing and Business.  She went on to serve the Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Nursing, Nurse Administration and Nurse Education for over 30 years and Penn Medicine Chester County as a Nursing Supervisor for seven years. Included in her illustrious career is a decade of service as a Flight Nurse for the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. Cuba, Germany and Japan were just a few of the places Walls traveled to as a Flight Nurse.

Her commitment to public service continued through the Chester County Health Department, where she served as Director of Personal Health for 18 years.  During her time at the Health Department, Walls was intrinsic in creating Chester County’s Medical Countermeasures Program (formerly the Strategic National Stockpile program) which brought together partners throughout the county to dispense medical countermeasures to county residents, employees and visitors if needed.

She also helped to establish Chester County’s MRC and was part of the County’s health and emergency response for incidents including Hurricanes Floyd, Isabel and Sandy, the ice storm that crippled Chester County for days in 2014, and completed well over 600 hours of service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked about her extensive career in nursing and public health, Walls said, “I loved everything I did during my time at the Health Department. There was nothing that I didn’t like, and I’ve loved every day in nursing.

“Every experience has been a positive for me. Every experience has been different,” she added, while highlighting the support and skills of her colleagues throughout her career.

“Above all else, Betsy recognized the importance of planning and training for any type of public health emergency, and she helped to lead countless trainings and exercises across the southeast Pennsylvania region,” said Franklin.

Walls has also held several notable leadership roles, previously serving as President of the Delaware County Nurse Association, Pennsylvania Nursing Association, and President of the Pennsylvania Nurses Foundation. Her assistance with the development and implementation of volunteer education operations has contributed greatly to Chester and Delaware counties’ vaccination efforts.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Back to School PA Joins National Push to Keep Classrooms Open This Fall

Back to School PA PAC, an influential local parents’ rights group, has joined a national effort challenging the Biden administration to commit to keeping classrooms open in the fall, even if COVID-19 cases continue. It’s an attempt to force the Centers for Disease Control and other public health professionals to acknowledge the research showing the impact of closed classrooms was more damaging to children than the coronavirus.

The open letter was penned by a coalition of scientists, doctors and mental health professionals under the auspices of Urgency of Normal, a group that is concerned that COVID-19 mitigation measures are hurting rather than helping children.

The letter emphasizes that CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines for children do more harm than good and continue to cause significant disruption to children’s education and to working parents while providing no demonstrable public health benefit in limiting the spread.

“Currently, nearly all U.S. adults and children are protected by either vaccination or infection-acquired immunity, and the U.S. is seeing far lower hospitalization and mortality rates than in prior surges. CDC policies have serious unintended consequences–-such as school closures, increased school absences, forcing parents to miss work, and the expense and time of testing,” the group said in a press release.

“Our nation’s children suffered tremendous learning loss as a result of prolonged school closures and are battling a well-documented mental health crisis, and ongoing COVID-19 testing and isolation periods are causing additional harm,” the letter said.

Back to School PA supported school board candidates across the state in 2021 who believed schools should remain open. They endorsed more than 200 candidates and nearly 60 percent won their races. And their predecessor organization, Keeping Kids in School PAC, had a 98 percent success rate in the 2021 primary for the candidates it endorsed.

Beth Ann Rosica

“It’s a nonpartisan group of physicians and parent groups that are advocating to get back to normal for kids,” said Beth Ann Rosica, Back to School executive director. “A lot of these mandates that have been happening all over the country…So they put together a toolkit back in (the winter) to help schools and people who work with kids to put policies in place that would allow kids to experience a more normal childhood. And Back to School PA pushed that out to our parent groups. And I personally went to my own school board, trying to advocate for more normal policies for our kids.”

The letter asks the CDC and the White House to “enact policies that are more reasonable because, even though here in Pennsylvania most schools are unmasked, there are still issues impending,” said Rosica.

“Because we know that cases are going to go up again in the fall and many of the schools have policies that allow for masking up again at certain levels of transmission,” Rosica said.”

And certain school districts were requiring vaccinations for activities like participating in sports, she said.

The letter is “very much of our beliefs and philosophy,” said Rosica. “That parents should be making these decisions and not school districts or even necessarily public health officials. We think it’s a good message.”

“And it’s not political, even though some will say it is,” said Rosica. “These are liberal doctors, conservative doctors, all different kinds of community groups.”

“We have written this letter because the lives of children and their families continue to be disrupted by unnecessary COVID-19 testing, isolation, and vaccine requirements. With high levels of both vaccination and infection-acquired immunity, it is time to lift the COVID-19 mitigation measures that are preventing our children from unconditionally participating in school, camps, and sports,” said co-author Dr. Eliza Holland, a pediatric hospitalist in Charlottesville, Va.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or