School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: All PPE is NOT Created Equal


When school nurses reach out to me to share their concerns about the lack of PPE in advance of schools reopening, I listen and write! As we edge closer to the new school year this is happening on a regular basis. I honor the school nurses who need to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. It is important to speak truth to power and share the stark realities of what is happening behind the scenes in school health offices. Schools without the proper public health mitigation strategies in place should not reopen. That is one of the few clear messages from the CDC. If we do not have adequate supplies, we are not ready to protect the school nurse, the students, or the staff.

Here is an example of one nurse’s PPE. It resembles a trash bag, with the sides open and the only way to secure it is with tape. You cannot easily don and doff this garbage bag masquerading as a gown.  Read the school nurse’s message, her name and state are withheld to protect her privacy:


It is really sad!! You have to tear the thumb hole to make an opening for your hand.  The only way to secure the sides is with tape.  They ordered 50 for each nurse.  We also got face shields and N95 masks.  But, they just bought one size and none of us have been fit tested. My concern is this will obviously be a one time use gown. I only have 50.  Due to the design you can’t don or doff quickly. 

The masks for students are beyond ridiculous! They are t-shirt material that is so thin you can see through it and there is only one layer of fabric.

Oh, I haven’t received any gloves yet.
Our school starts very soon.
We had over 800 cases in our state today.
Our positivity rate is greater than 10%

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