Reopening Schools in the Time of Pandemic: Look to the School Nurses

PISC Executive Committee Member, Catherine McDonald, PhD, writes about the future reopening of school post pandemic and the important role of school nurses in that process. Though each school district will have varying approaches to reopening schools, McDonald says, "School nurses will take on COVID-19 specific roles in advising, planning, and implementation. They are ready for this given their typical role in surveillance, classroom infection control prevention strategies, and supportive care of families. School nurses will continue to be health educators and monitors of regular immunizations. They will help faculty and staff navigate the needs of personal protective equipment. If and when a vaccine becomes available for COVID-19, they will also be the health advocate to help educate school communities."

Dr. McDonald stresses that "school nurses are THE health experts in schools." She explains that they have the knowledge and experience to practically implement evidenced-based practices and scientifically supported recommendations in communities with diverse sets of resources and needs. When it comes to adapting to the post COVID-19 changes in schools, McDonald believes it is the nurses who lead the way.

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