ROANOKE, Va – Local school nurses will soon be on the frontlines as thousands of students and teachers return to classrooms in just a matter of weeks. They are being trained on everything from COVID-19 screening to steps to take if there is an outbreak in a school.
“Our nurses are the ones who hold all the information so basically what we’re doing is we’re training our nurses really well and then we’re giving them all the recommendations from the local health department,” Director of Administration for Roanoke County Public Schools, Rhonda Stegall, said.
When it comes to a potential outbreak in a school, Roanoke County Schools will be working with the Department of Health to decide what the safest option is.
“We are working together to make that decision if there is an outbreak, if we need to close the classroom or do we need to close the entire school, so that will be made on a case-by-case basis,” Stegall said.
To prevent students from going to school when they are sick, the school division is sending home a checklist to families to screen students for potential health issues before returning each day. There will also be a designated isolation area for any person at the school showing symptoms.
“If they are not feeling well and the nurse thinks there’s some concern there, we’re going to immediately put them in this isolation area, put a mask on them and going to assign a staff member if it’s a student,” Stegall said.
School nurses will also work with parents to determine if students need to stay home and switch to online learning. Stegall said attendance will not play an important factor this upcoming school year, as the division keeps health as its top priority.