JONESBORO, Ark- As the number of school staff being in quarantine across the state continues to grow the need for substitutes from nursing to teaching is high.
Even causing some school to go virtual due to few staff.
Northeast Arkansas News spoke with one school nurse who details the additional workload COVID has given her.
"This year we are doing screenings in the morning. So, if a child marks that they are having fever, cough, or shortness of breath, stomachache,” says Jonesboro Public Schools District Nurse Mersadeze Brooks. “We go around to each classroom taking temperatures and doing assessments. We’re also having to call all the kids that are out each day. It adds a lot of extra work on the nurses.”
From tracking who and who isn’t in quarantine, increased cleaning, to finding substitute nurses is now part of daily duties for Brooks in addition to her regular tasks as a district nurse.
They also have to call students who are absent to see if they have COVID or in quarantine.
She says they are also going to students instead of students coming to them.
Brooks says do a lot more than you think.
“When people think school nurses, they think band-aids and boo-boos but there’s a lot,” she says. “We take care of broken bones, we deal with life or death situations, and now we’re dealing with the COVID.”
Brooks says there’s one nurse per school while she travels to help out where needed.
She says when a student is sick and has COVID symptoms, they call their parent and tell them to go to the doctor and get tested immediately and have them update the district.
She says during the first weeks back they, needed substitute nurses due to the additional duties and number of students being ill.
Which JPS took to social media to recruit additional substitutes for their schools.
\“So, we do have some more coverage now…because if one of our nurses has to get tested, they’re out until their results come back,” says Brooks. “Or if they’re around someone that’s positive, they’re out for 14 days.”
Brooks says she asks that people pray for all school staff and students as they navigate these new time.
She says the worse thing she imagined she would ever experience as a school nurse is a chicken pox outbreak, not a global pandemic.