“Even though students in grades 4-12 are not fully in-person, there is still plenty to do in the health room,” said LSR7 Health Services Coordinator, and LSWHS District Nurse, Terri Hansen.
“At the beginning of the year, it is the health room staff’s responsibility to make sure that every student in the building is compliant for immunizations,” Hansen said. The nurses also go through over 2,000 medical forms that parents have filled out online.
Hansen said the nurses are making sure that files are in order, and that they have all the supplies needed in case of emergencies or disasters. Additionally, nurses get frequent calls from parents who are wondering about different medical issues.
“Any student that has a chronic health condition that requires emergency or daily procedures has an Individualized Health Care Plan, so those take up a lot of time also,” Hansen said.
Before the switch to hybrid, nurses still got to interact with a few students from the secondary level, as well as the usual teaching staff.
Hansen said the nurses hold meetings three to four times a week pertaining to section 504 for students, which protects students with disabilities. “As you can see, there is still plenty to do,” Hansen said.
The nurses were occupied with the more office part of their job, but have now welcomed back students from a very long “Spring Break.”
To prepare for switching to hybrid, Hansen said there are procedures in place related to the pandemic. “When a student or staff member comes to the health room, the health services staff will meet that person at the door of the health room, check their temperature and do a quick assessment. If a student has symptoms suspicious of the coronavirus disease, they will be placed in a Precaution Room until a parent can pick them up.” Hansen said that if the student ends up testing positive, this precaution will decrease the chances of spreading COVID-19.
Although the nurses are still busy at work, their daily routine has changed a bit. “Because of the fewer students in-person, especially at the secondary level, the nurses are working on more administrative things than caring for students,” Hansen said. At the elementary level however, nurses are still taking care of students as usual, with the exception of the new precautions.
Hansen said that like everyone else, the nurses are excited to have the kids back at school. However, they know that in order to help the community, it’s important to follow the guidelines that the CDC mandated.
When the district announced students would be switching to hybrid learning, the nurses got busy making sure teachers and students knew the precautions LSR7 would be taking. They are also taking stock of the supplies, and making sure that everything is in order.
Syrena Saxon is an RN [registered nurse] for PLE and PLMS. Saxon said that she thinks nurses handled the switch to hybrid very well. “We’ve just been busy making sure we have everything in place and ready for having more students in the buildings,” Saxon said.
Saxon said she knew the switch would happen at some point, so she didn’t have much of a reaction. However, both her and the nurses are very excited to see the kids back at school.
Although the nurses have handled the sudden change very well, they have run into a few hardships. “Most of the difficulties we’ve run into have been revolving around contact-tracing within the building and among the other schools,” Saxon said. However, she feels that with practice, the process will become clearer.
Saxon said she feels that wearing masks and having few students in the building is helping lessen the potential spread of the virus.
Saxon is very happy about the way the first few weeks have gone. “I think they have gone very well considering all that 2020 and Covid have brought us. I have enjoyed seeing students and resuming some kind of a normal routine,” Saxon said.
Jill Dusing is the RN for LSWHS. Contrary to Saxon, Dusing said that she was surprised that the switch to hybrid happened so soon. However, Dusing said that the nurses have adapted well to the change. “It seems different to see so few students in the halls, and fewer visits to the health room,” Dusing said.
Dusing said that, “wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene are proven effective methods of keeping the virus at bay. So far we feel we are doing an effective job in all precautions in our building.”
The nurses have been working hard on contact tracing surrounding COVID exposures. “It is necessary and helpful to keep the spread down, but it is time consuming,” said Dusing.
Dusing said that isolation and quarantine are also what they are using to keep the spread to a minimum.
“The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to be sure that even with friends, it is important to maintain that distance of 6 feet or more. It is not fun having to be quarantined in your house. Also, if you haven’t been diligent about handwashing in the past, now is a good time to change those habits,” Hansen said.