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Children may attend school with a wide range of health issues, leaving the health service staff responsible for managing and preventing these conditions in the school environment.
Our public school nurses treat more than the occasional bumps and bruises. They help families access healthcare, work with healthcare providers, and address student health concerns. Some of the most common conditions include allergies, asthma, anaphylaxis, diabetes, ADHD, brain injuries, epilepsy, seizures, and mental health issues.
Identifying a COVID-19 positive individual in a school is guided by the CDC, federal and state education agencies, and public health authorities. School districts develop protocols to address prevention, mitigation, and communication of a COVID-19 positive individual within their schools. Public schools diligently work to screen, clean and prevent the spread of the virus. Students and staff wear masks to prevent transmission, physically distance, and frequently wash their hands.
School nurses are trained to assess a teacher, staff, or student’s symptoms. They check for symptoms outside of seasonal allergies or a cold. For example, the school nurse will determine if a student is exhibiting cold/flu-like symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, coughing, and loss of taste or smell. Steps are taken to isolate the individual to prevent further contact, follow local health authority guidance and district protocols, and inform the family regarding quarantining to prevent additional infection. The school nurse may also refer the student to a physician and/or COVID testing.
Schools follow the guidance provided by the CDC and public health authorities. National testing at schools continues to evolve and some schools offer rapid testing. School nurses serve a critical role in assessing, mitigating, and evaluating COVID-19 in public schools.
School nurses provide students free screenings to evaluate vision and hearing challenges, as well as educating students and families about healthy lifestyles. Nurses and healthcare staff are in charge of monitoring student immunization records, and they work with families and educators to establish Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and 504 plans to accommodate many diverse health requirements.
The National Collaborative on Health and Education states that access to these convenient and dependable services is also a proven strategy for increasing student attendance. Parents can leave medication administration and supervision in the hands of trusted school healthcare staff.
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