School nurses have always played a critical role in schools, but their work became more important once the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020. The end of the 2019-2020 school year ended with students learning from home. Then, many schools reopened at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, reminding us all of the impact of nurses in our schools.
Unfortunately, not every school has a school nurse. Some school districts only have a few per district, and the nurse spends the day in more than one building. If your school has a dedicated nurse, count yourself lucky.
Instead of only being inundated with students who feel under the weather, students who need to take medication, girls who need supplies when that time of the month comes around, or even teachers who need a couple of tylenol pills, school nurses now are involved in determining if students have Covid-19 symptoms. Some school nurses also give rapid Covid tests, and their offices are holding zones for students who need to go home because they have Covid-19 symptoms, tested positive on a rapid test, or were a close contact with students who were.
The work has been relentless, and the gratitude has not been enough. Governor Holcomb declared May 12, 2021, as School Nurse Day.
The proclamation in part reads:
school nurses support the health and educational success of children and youth by providing access to care when children’s cognitive development is at its peak; and school nurses understand the link between health and learning and are in a position to make a positive difference for children every day.
If you haven’t taken the time to thank your school nurse, you really should.