Arab City Schools lead nurse discusses semester protocols and evaluation methods

School nurse protocols amid the pandemic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s been almost five weeks since Arab City Schools welcomed students back to the classroom. School nurses are following specific guidelines and taking adequate steps to ensure all students and staff remain safe.

This year, each school has two registered nurses.

Venita Shirley, the Lead Nurse of Arab City Schools says two is plenty since schools haven’t been as busy as expected. Interestingly, Shirley says students are more cognizant about going to the nurses office.

“I will tell you that we were concerned about how many we would be seeing," Shirley said. "Down our hallway I have stars on the floor where students were going to stand if there were lines and in our isolation rooms we have extra areas. We do use those areas but we are not having to use them near as what we had thought.”

Shirley says there are students who have anxiety about catching COVID and that’s why this year the nurses are working closely with the counseling department to better evaluate students before sending them home.

After a student is evaluated, Shirley is notified.

She would first contact the family and make sure the student has access to a doctor who will decide if the child should be tested.

The student is only required to stay home for two weeks if he or she has symptoms or has been exposed to a positive case.

“If we have to air on one side or the other, I am going to air on the side of caution,” Shirley said. “So if I do have to send a child home, I am always just hopeful and prayerful that they will understand that we are not doing it because we want to send them home, we are not trying to get somebody to come home from work, we are just trying to take care of the rest of the children and the staff just like we hope that they would want us to do with their child if it was another child in the same situation.”

So far, Shirley says only about one student from each school is sent home per day due to COVID symptoms. But of course, many days no students are sent home.

She recommends asking for an alternative flu or strep test if you feel sick but don’t have COVID symptoms, so you can get back to school in a timely manner.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.