Today is National School Nurse Day. A day to take a second to acknowledge how important these nurses are in the education system and given the time we have been through these nurses are more important than ever. The fact is, kids get sick and particularly during the pandemic, schools need school nurses to keep them running., Jo Silvaroli is the Niagara Falls City Schools Medical Director joined us to talk about National School Nurse Day. She oversees fifteen nurses, 3,000 school staff and 7,500 students.
What is this been like during the pandemic? Jo says it’s been a little stressful but it’s been kind of a blessing to me. She says people have been very nervous, they don’t understand, so being able to take that time and explain things to everyone as they are going through it, if they sick at home, what do I do, what do I do with my kids, very afraid in the beginning but it has calmed down now and that’s a good thing.
Jo says we have two clinics now; we have an isolation room if anyone showed symptoms of COVID, they would go to the isolation room, but they also had their well children. She says we had to protect the well children that were coming in for medication and treatments that we didn’t want to expose because that’s what school nursing it, illness prevention and promoting wellness, so we had two separate rooms and they had to track and trace. If a child did become positive, then we had to see who was in close contact. She says that close contact would have to go home for ten days and we had to track and trace and make sure mom knew exactly what to do and when to get them back in school and how to get them back in school.
What is the reason for their district’s success during the pandemic? Jo says she is so thankful to her superintendence Mark Laurrie and our board members, president Russ Petrozzi and former president Jimmy Cancemi who listened to us; we had a hybrid model She says most schools had the model where their kids were there every other day and we decided to do two days in and three days remote and then the opposite team, we had two teams, blue and gold, would be in Thursday and Friday and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday would be remote. That way, she says, our cleaning staff would be able to get in there and clean the rooms between the two sessions and that also gave us, if a child came in positive, say on Monday, the other children were automatically out of school day three which is the typical run of that contact where you would be exposed and then develop symptoms and start shedding yourself.
What makes a good school nurse? Jos says the passion and understanding that these children and parents have a safety net, that they know that their child will be taken care of during that school day. Jo says there are many children who have special needs; kids that our teachers take care of. She says we ride buses to and from school to make sure if there is a seizure child that has medication that needs to be given immediately, we have a nurse on that bus with that child. She says we also want them to participate in activities, so we are also putting nurses on late at night for sporting activities, drama club. She says we had one our special needs students be in a musical and was really great to see her enjoying life. \
Let your school nurse know that they are appreciated. Decorate their door, make a card, or post something on social media.