It is unusual in schools that take precautions to transmit COVID-19. Last week, Liz Pray held her phone up to take back-to-school selfies with the new school resource officers. The school nurse, Pray, was nervous. She was wondering What the new school year will bring. This school year will be unlike any other, with the highly transmissible delta coronavirus variety circulating in the US and tensions rising over masks and vaccine mandates.
The Lack Of School Nurses In The US Persists
Aside from pandemics, the CDC advises that schools have one full-time nurse every 750 children. When students and schools need nurses more than ever, almost a quarter of schools lack nurses.
A 2018 study in the Journal of School Nursing indicated that roughly 39% of schools employ full-time nurses. About 35% use part-time school nurses, whereas 25% do not. In addition to verifying records for standard vaccines, Pray organized files for students with chronic illnesses, among other back-to-school responsibilities — but the workload was considerably more significant. Years passed.
In a statement issued by Pray, not only did her workload virtually increase since she is the only nurse in the high school, but we haven’t seen most of those students in 18 months, who is also president of the School Nurse Organization of Washington.
In 2019, the Chicago Teachers Union called for a full-time nurse in every school. According to its website, CPS is still employing nurses to achieve this aim. Before the Chicago walkout, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised pediatricians to advocate for a full-time professional school nurse in every school.
There is high tension and stress. Pray now has additional tasks due to the pandemic: ready for possible COVID-19 outbreaks and dissatisfied parents who may oppose masks or vaccines. She further continues to state that their district had a demonstration at our administrative office.
Some schools confine students exposed to the coronavirus to prevent the danger of infection from spreading to others. Some schools mandate complete COVID-19 vaccination of employees to protect pupils who aren’t yet eligible. Some don’t. Because COVID-19 policies differ by the school district, so do school nurse responsibilities. A school nurse may be exposed to the virus in schools where coronavirus mitigation procedures are not followed or enforced.
In an email written by Pray, she stated that the variable mix of state and local funding disadvantages tiny rural school districts with low tax bases, she wrote in an email. There will also be a scarcity of primary care pediatric health care providers in certain areas. There is no school nurse; teachers are taught to provide specific medical care that a school nurse would typically give.
In another address, Pray insisted that some school nurses wish increased funding for school nursing had occurred before the pandemic. There is a nursing shortage across the country.
According to a further report issued by Pray, they expected school nurses to leave the hospital following the Covid wave last year and go to something with a more fixed schedule — Monday through Friday, possibly summers off — but we do not see it since the compensation is so low.
It’s not like medicine. They need to work more to recruit nurses, but they are required in hospitals as well. There is a general shortage.