Escalating COVID-19 cases and changing guidelines fall directly on the shoulders of school nurses.
School nurses maintain the preventative and daily health of millions of children and are key in navigating COVID-19 risk mitigation. Here’s a few ideas to help out these unbelievable professionals.
Layer on the patience, kindness, and grace.
This is the “Monday-est” of Mondays for school nurses. School nurses are monitoring federal, state, and local guidelines related to COVID-19 risk mitigation for school-age students amidst a huge surge in cases. Often, these guidelines provide inconsistent recommendations. In addition, most schools have been closed for winter break. Be extra nice to school nurses as they work through the best way to implement systems to keep children safe and learning. Be ready for changes to previous school mitigation plans. Don’t attack the messenger.
Keeping kids home from school has many downsides and is not taken lightly. Sending sick kids to school can have negative consequences on the sick child, other classmates, teachers, support staff, and the school nurse. If you know your child is sick or needs to quarantine, PLEASE keep them home.
Familiarize yourself with school policies.
Most schools have one nurse and sometimes schools share a nurse. While school nurses want to discuss all concerns and questions, there are simply not enough hours in the day. Review the school’s policies and read updated school communications in detail to help save the school nurses’ bandwidth for issues that truly need a conversation. Definitely reach out if you need their expertise!
Share your time.
Symptom screening, contact tracing, vaccine tracking, and the daily management of non-COVID conditions takes a whole lot of time! New policies to keep schools open such as “Test-to-Stay” will require additional time, resources, and personnel. If you can give time or expertise to lighten the work of the school nurse, DO IT! The best place to start may be completing the required clearances to be on school property. Offer your time and leave it to the school to determine the best way to use your talent.
School nurses are amazing advocates within schools and the surrounding communities. Those Nerdy Girls are sending endless thanks and appreciation! A special thank you to nerdy guest Dr. Ellen McCabe, a school nurse and Assistant Professor at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, for co-authoring this post.