Are we really going to make the public health blunders of January/February 2020 with Monkeypox? It can’t be true! We are still in the midst of at least one pandemic, with a few epidemics that are uniquely American, like gun violence, and now we have Monkeypox staring us down. We cannot ignore the scale of the response needed to mitigate the spread of this virus. We also need to learn the lessons of poor messaging from the beginning of COVID, which we are still combatting almost thirty months later!
Once again, for the umpteenth time, I am reminding the public that twenty-five percent of our nation’s schools have no school nurse. Thirty-five percent only have part-time school nurses. Sixty percent of schools have either none or only part-time health services professionals in their buildings. The remaining forty percent may have a full-time school nurse, but our ratios vary greatly and many are untenable. One school nurse covering hundreds and hundreds to thousands of students and staff is not only outrageous, it is also unsafe. Students are left without a school nurse when the nurse is sent to cover other schools where a nurse has taken a sick day or a personal day.
The health services system is understaffed and broken. COVID has taken a toll on the school nurse workforce, many school nurses have retired or resigned. There are few states that have a strong infrastructure that supports school nurses. One of the most common concerns in addition to feeling a sense of isolation is that school nurses are being supervised by non-nurses. The vast health needs of our nation’s children call for a more robust health services presence, but is anyone other than school nurses paying attention?
One nurse/epi friend who served schools during COVID is, she tagged me in this Tweet:
Things I'm not looking forward to:— that one nurse epi 🏳️🌈 (@SobsInEpi) July 7, 2022
School nurses calling me to report #monkeypox outbreaks on their school wrestling teams
Cause 10/10 this is the direction we are heading
@RobinCogan is there any chatter amongst school nurses on this topic?— that one nurse epi 🏳️🌈 (@SobsInEpi) July 7, 2022
It is time to educate ourselves about Monkeypox, what to look for and how to manage an outbreak in schools. Below are links to timely articles, the first is from Harvard Medical School and the second is from Nemours Kid’s Health and the third is a link to the CDC.
What to Know About Monkeypox An unfamiliar virus spreading fast. Sound familiar? By ROBERT H. SCHMERLING
As Glennon Doyle reminds us, “we can do hard things.” My question is though, why aren’t we getting the supports we need to care for our nation’s children? What does that really say about the priorities of our country. If we do not prioritize the health and safety of our children, who are we really?