Back to School in a Pandemic -Tips from an Elementary School Nurse
July 22, 2020
Back to School in a Pandemic -Tips from an Elementary School Nurse. With all the change, new school situations, and health concerns I wanted to give you- my wonderful readers- a look into the thoughts of an Elementary School Nurse. She will present a perspective that is familiar with the school environment like a teacher, while also sharing that of an essential health care worker. I asked a few questions to help her share her thoughts with us. She has 46 years of nursing experience!!!!
#1 Realistically, what would you recommend for a daily habit checklist to help Elementary students and parents keep safe and healthy this year?
Review with your kids the rules of handwashing. Using a hand sanitizer is not as effective as a 20-second hand scrub. Drying hands thoroughly is just as important to maintain skin integrity. (Handwashing: A Family Activity from the CDC.)
Review the cardinal symptoms of the virus. Assess your child or children for fever, difficulty breathing, cough, change in taste, or smell.
Review the use of masks. Discuss why we are using them to protect others. I find most children will want to be helpful to others.
Practice safe distancing. How big is 6 feet??
Give thanks for another day and give your student a positive word of the day.
#2 What steps do you recommend to families possibly experiencing sick symptoms.
PAY ATTENTION! This is not the time to catch the procrastination train.
If fever over 100 degrees, contact your primary MD. And follow his/her directions.
Begin self quarantining.
#3 Teachers and school personnel are very aware of their school’s limitations where pandemic precautions are concerned. Could you share some generic limitations you are aware that parents may not be? Limitations that will make following the best pandemic protocol very difficult?
Please keep in mind that Limitations are changing every day.
Children are not going to have their temperature taken at the entrance to the school. We are relying on families to follow directions in question#1. Each family should have a reliable thermometer.
If a student is diagnosed with a fever at school, they will be quarantined in the Health Room until parents can pick them up. This will be different than the usual health room visit. The quarantine rules are restrictive and students will be isolated. There will not be pillowcases, blankets, or books. Each isolation space will be closed for 24 hours after the student is picked up. The custodians will then do a 12 hr cleaning.
Depending on the school and size of the health room, there can only be 1 or 2 students in quarantine at a time.
There will only be a very limited supply of clothing available in the health room. Students should always have a change of clothing in their backpack.
I just want to add- she said that limitations are changing every day. Different schools, districts, and states will have different ways to handle things. You can be sure yours will possibly have different policies.
#4 What is your one piece of advice for parents when kids are able to go back to school in person?
YOU CAN NOT BE TOO CAREFUL. All of us that have had to go to work while our child is not feeling well know how difficult it is to make that morning decision. Giving Tylenol and sending them to school will not stop the Corona Virus. It will take all of us using best practice to beat this virus.
#5 What tips do you have for the students (and parents) mental health during these times of quarantine, unknown, and unmet expectations upon everyone?
With your children
With both your immediate and extended family
With the Teachers and staff
Network with positive people
Fact check before you make your decisions
Don?t let your disappointment in the shutdown trickle down to the kids. Small things can make them very happy. (Check out my post on Fill your Kid?s Attention Cup)