School nurses are always there to provide medical care for students, but as millions of teachers and kids head back to school during the pandemic, school nurses will be on the COVID-19 front lines, too. They’ll be executing schools’ coronavirus response plans, getting information to parents and staff, as well as taking care of students with COVID-19 symptoms.
Gail M. Smith,a registered nurse and director of health services for the Pickens County School system in Jasper, Georgia, and Laurie G Combe, a registered nurse and president of the National Association of School Nurses, as well as other school nurses want parents to know these things as this unusual school year kicks off.
- A visit to the nurse’s office will be a little different- A kid’s cough or complaint of feeling hot will probably land them in the clinic faster than it has in the past. Students will be seated at a social distance while waiting for the nurse to check them out and anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated from others getting routine medical care.
- School nurses need parents’ support at home- That means screening your kids at home before putting them on the bus or bringing them to school, as well as getting them used to wearing face masks and teaching them the proper way to wash hands.
- Everyone needs to be patient- This is such a challenging time and parents, educators and school nurses will all need to show kindness and patience to make it work.
- Check on students’ mental health- In addition to looking out for physical health, school nurses also monitor students’ mental health. They may visit virtual classrooms to check in with kids and see who’s not engaged in their online education, then reach out to those families. Keeping kids’ bodies AND minds healthy so they can keep learning is what it’s all about.