School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: 10 Things Parents Can Do Now to Help Prepare Children For Returning to School


School nurses have been industrious during COVID-19, using innovative skills to do one of the things we do best, providing information for our families. Everyone’s health literacy has been tested through the pandemic. The messaging from our most trusted institutions like the CDC has been confusing and ever-changing. As states have released vague return to school guidelines, it is clear that the details for keeping our students and staff safe will depend on each school district to create their own policies and procedures. 

One of our newest school nurses, Toni Tomkins is using her unique skillset, making lists, charts, and flyers to create an infographic for her parents to help navigate the tricky waters of COVID-19. Her informative flyer caught my attention and Toni graciously agreed to share her creation with my readers!

Below is Toni’s story and her flyer! There is a word document version that can be customizable if you are interested in creating one for your school families.

Toni Tomkins, BSN, RN

My name is Toni Tomkins, BSN, RN. I have been a substitute school nurse at 18 different schools for the past two years within Chesapeake Public Schools. I have two children (19 years old and 6 years old) and a husband in the Navy. This year, I decided to pursue a full-time job at Cedar Road Elementary (PreK – 5).

I’ve always been a proactive individual; making charts, flyers, & schedules are fun and needed since my 6-year-old is on the Autism Spectrum. With 2020-2021 being my first year as a full-time school nurse, I have been listening to tons of Webinars, podcasts, reading medical journals, staying abreast with CDC, our local health department, and state guidelines to educate myself while preparing for this monumental change.

So, there I was, sitting at my home desk with all this information on the tip of my tongue and I didn’t have a platform big enough to gather all the parents around. So, I decided to create a Top 10 flyer for parents in hopes it would help them be more proactive & perhaps ease some transition anxiety for them & their children. I created it because I know as a parent, especially a mom of an ASD child, I would want the same thing provided for me.

(Word) Back-to-school flyer

10 thoughts on “The Relentless School Nurse: 10 Things Parents Can Do Now to Help Prepare Children For Returning to School”

  1. I love this flyer! Very well done and would be very helpful for our school families. How does one access the word version to be able to customize it? Thank you!

    1. Hi Gretchen, There is a link to a word doc at the end of the blog post. I am glad you like the flyer!

    1. Hi Heidi, You can absolutely use the flyer and customize. The copyright is to be sure Toni is credited. There is a doc included at the bottom of the blog post.

      1. Awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing this poster! Life is better when we work together!!!!

    2. Absolutely, there is an updated link at the end of the blog post that is a word document.

  2. Hi. I love your chart. I have a suggestion. I think #4 is not clear. If a child has a fever, he will be required to be fever-free, without the use of fever reducing medications, for 3 days before returning to school. I am a teacher and am aware of the shifting guidelines as we work to reopen.

    1. Hi Jane, thank you for the feedback. This was created by a school nurse and can be customized to fit the policies of each school district.

  3. I’m not sure why number 7 states that an inhaler without a spacer can not be used in school? The CDC site stated : Based on limited data, use of asthma inhalers (with or without spacers or face masks) is not considered an aerosol-generating procedure.
    The AAAAI site stated “there is little evidence of whether spacers improve the effectiveness of treatment” despite potential benefits.
    Is the stipulation of spacer use with inhaler supposed to decrease COVID infection risk?
    I would appreciate any explanation of rationale for the implementation of this rule.

    1. Hi Pam, This document was created by Toni Tomkins and can be customized to fit the most recent guidance. The information is evolving.

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