No beating around the bush today. After four weeks of school, I am exhausted, even the weekends do not create space to relax and rejuvenate. School nurses are doing their very best to keep our school communities safe. This involves implementing public health guidelines that some have falsely categorized as overreach.
The Swiss Cheese Model is a helpful graphic that delineates our personal and shared responsibilities to help prevent the spread of COVID that is impacting unvaccinated children, teens, and adults. We also have breakthrough cases in vaccinated adults which is prompting the need for boosters
The pandemic is a complex public health emergency that has disrupted our lives for the past nineteen months. We are a nation that is weary, beleaguered, grieving, and traumatized. But we must not turn on each other, especially demonizing those of us who are tasked with protecting our most vulnerable, our children, your children, my children.
Is there really such a thing as being too careful when it comes to the health and well-being of all of our children. No one wants to be that school nurse who overlooked a student with what seems like a simple cold and it turns out to be COVID. Today there are no simple colds, we have to test to be sure it is not COVID. In the meantime, we need your child to remain home, isolated from others so as not to spread the highly transmissible Delta variant of the COVID virus.
Let’s review what school nurses assess for when a student has the following symptoms:
We do not have a national response to COVID, we never have, which has created a patchwork of responses that often do not match from one school district to the next, let alone one state to the next. This has been one of the downfalls of COVID and has given rise to politicizing our national health emergency. It has also unnecessarily extended the pandemic and is at the root of the more than 700,000 deaths, a national disgrace.
Reframing the discussion about how we each have a shared responsibility to keep our students and school staff safe is urgently needed. School nurses have reached a critical tipping point that is not sustainable. We can no longer tolerate intolerable workloads, lack of support from school administration, and most of all incivility related to how we are following public health guidance. Can we take a pause America and rethink how we are treating each other, or mistreating each other before the next Monday at school? Remember that our children and teens are watching.