School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: The Fourth School Year Impacted by COVID is Coming

Update: This chart was from the 2021-2022 school year. So now for the 2022-2023 school year, subtract one more grade to the “was” category. For example, for students in Grade 7,  their last normal school year was actually Grade 3!

Groundhog Day 2022 comes early this year. The 2022-2023 school year is the fourth one impacted by COVID. Let’s review these dog years of the pandemic:

2019-2020 – COVID impacted our spring semester when most schools moved to remote learning.

2020-2021 – COVID shuttered many schools for part of the school year.

2021-2022 – COVID wreaked havoc on attempting to keep buildings open, students in classes, and students and staff safe

2022-2023 – COVID is surging in various parts of the country as schools are preparing to reopen between August and September.

Between surging COVID with much more transmissible variants BA.4 and BA.5 evading vaccines and boosters, less than robust vaccination acceptance for students, and the politicization of public health mitigation strategies like masking, we are facing another difficult school year. I haven’t even mentioned Monkey Pox…

So what to do is the big question. How can we set healthy boundaries this school year that help us maneuver through all of the obstacles that we know we will be facing? I have been writing about boundaries over the last few blog posts with a very positive response from readers. Thank you to all of the school nurses who have messaged me about this important topic. 

This summer, while fleeting, has been a wonderful reprieve from the unrelenting stress of the past few years. It has given me space and time to think, recharge and reimagine my own school nursing practice. As I have openly shared, even attaching my CV in a recent blog post, I am grappling with the next steps. My dedication to school nursing practice keeps me grounded, and at the same time, it fuels my desire to spread my clipped wings. I crave more autonomy and freedom over my schedule. I know I am not alone in these feelings and believe it is healthier to say what is happening that to dwell in toxic positivity about what we are “supposed to say.” 

These past few school years have taken a huge toll on our collective family of school nurses. Many of our most seasoned colleagues have retired or resigned, leaving a gaping hole in institutional knowledge and leadership. Time to circle the wagons again and lean on each other to make the decision to stay or to step away. No matter your decision, you should be supported. I am here to share my journey and would love to share yours as well, with your permission, of course. 

I am gathering a collection of healthy school nursing boundaries. Please feel free to share yours by emailing me at or posting a comment. I will be publishing the collection throughout the summer in the hope that we can bring a school nurse sourced list of helpful healthy boundaries for the 2022-2023 school year. 



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