HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - As schools get closer to reopening, school nurses are getting ready for the role they will play to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in classrooms.
In Morgan County, school nurses began this week with a meeting to go over plans and procedures for nursing this year in the school district.
Brenda Caudle is the Director of Health Services for Morgan County Schools, she said her and her nurses are ready to go.
“There is also a feeling for my nurses and for me, let’s get started, let’s have our action plan, strategize and figure out how we can best do this,” she said.
Caudle said things will be different this year, when students first get to school they will be screened for symptoms. If it looks like a child has the symptoms of COVID-19, they’ll head to the nurses office for further evaluation.
That nurses office will look different this year too, there will be the regular office and then an isolation room for kids with possible symptoms of the virus.
Caudle said to pull off a full and healthy school year, Morgan County Schools nurses will need a lot of help from parents, as well.
“We are counting on them because everybody knows if you feel sick you stay home,” she said.
Caudle said they need parents to be hyper aware of how their child is feeling before sending them to school.
When a student does come to the nurses office saying they have coronavirus, Caudle said her nurses will need to make a quick and accurate decision.
“The nurse has to know her students, be comfortable talking with their students and then accessing while she’s talking to them and watching them,” she said. “And that’s the big thing, because we will have to see the difference between if there really is a physical issue or if this is something they need.”
If a case of COVID-19 is diagnosed within the school, Caudle said her nurses will work to figure out who that student could have come in contact with while they were at school.
“We focus on our student, our employee, what that close contact is there and then of course immediate family,” she said.
Caudle said communication will also be very important.
“When you have a child who’s sick, communicating with parents, sending children home, helping parents to know what to expect are all important,” she said.
While the health of students is the goal of these nurses, Caudle said her nurses need to look out for their own health, as well.
“They have to make sure that they are taking care of themselves, so they can continue to take care of the children,” she said. “Because if one of them gets sick and I don’t have them, then that’s a problem, we want to keep everybody healthy.”
Morgan County Schools has one nurse to every campus, so filling that hole while a nurse recovers from COVID-19 could be an issue. Caudle said she does have some good substitute nurses who will be working more this year, as well.
One of the biggest issues Caudle and Morgan County School leadership has run into is making sure they have the right PPE and supplies to keep those nurses healthy.
“It requires a lot and so everybody has been pulling together to make that happen and get everything ordered,” she said. “The hardest part is the supply, you have the ability to order it, but are you going to get it?”
As of right now, Caudle said the district does have enough PPE for it’s nurses.
As we get closer to the first day, Caudle said she and her team feel prepared and ready to make adjustments as the school year begins and they learn more.
“We won’t know everything and be able to prepare for everything until we’re there on the ground doing it.”
The first day of class for Morgan County Schools is Aug. 12.