Triad school nurses preparing for start of school year amid pandemic

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — As Guilford County parents and educators finalize plans for fall learning, school nurses are working to keep students healthy before they head back to the classroom.

“We’re going into buildings to assist the district in the guidance they have, to ensure that the school staff are safe,” said Community Nursing Services Manager Susan Hawks. “Nurses are going in there to support the school’s administration as they set up the ability to screen staff as they come into the building.”

This week Governor Roy Cooper announced that $95 million in federal funds will help add school nurses and counselors as well as add educational support for students at risk of falling behind.

Hawks explained that on top of managing family care plans and ensuring students have proper immunizations, school nurses are working with the county’s communicable disease program and investigating for the positive COVID-19 cases.

“That knowledge is going to enhance our services to Guilford County Schools and support them as individuals do report cases of COVID in the school buildings,” Hawks said.

Guilford County Public Health has 42 school nurses and 3 school health aides for 125 schools in the district.

“We would always like to have more school nurses within our county. There is a recommendation nationally that there be a nurse in every building, so that would be our end goal of course,” Hawks said.

She said nurses will prioritize the needs of district schools and prepare virtual coursework about COVID-19.

“How they can protect themselves and the guidance about the three W’s about wearing a mask and distance and keeping their hands clean, so we want to get that information out to the students so they have an understanding,” she explained.

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North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

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