Some DC schools are going without nurses due to health worker shortage

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School nurses are scarce in DC schools. Not all schools have one. Meanwhile, those with a nurse cannot monitor or screen for symptoms of COVID-19 in children.

School nurses are scarce in DC schools. Not all schools have one. Meanwhile, those with a nurse cannot monitor or screen for symptoms of COVID-19 in children.

There is no doubt that the shortage of healthcare workers is affecting schools in the district, Council member Charles Allen told OMCP.

“We have a lot of schools in DC that don’t have a full-time nurse and a lot of parents are concerned about that,” he said.

As DC’s public schools compete with hospitals and doctor’s offices looking to hire nurses, Chancellor Lewis Ferebee told board members he has hired staff to ensure comprehensive health care for students. .

“We have hired over 240 patient care technicians who are responsible for overseeing the isolation spaces, and on top of that, [they] help with all of our COVID-related responses, including our morning screening procedures as well, ”Ferebee said.

But parents like Nura Green Lane are frustrated with the silos and said school nurse training should be better used.

“Extending the use of school nurses, they are an asset. School nurses must have the capacity to immediately provide COVID-19 testing for affected classrooms and allow them to administer the vaccine. It’s available, ”Green Lane said during his council hearing on Wednesday.

While Allen explained that the reason nurses don’t deal with COVID-19 is to allow them to focus on providing routine health care to children, many schools don’t even have this. basic resource in place.

In response to whether the DCPS is hiring more health workers, spokesman Enrique Gutierrez said in a statement that the district has invested in the “health services operation” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We have tripled the size of our student health services, which create and implement policy and serve as a liaison between schools and the Department of Health,” said Gutierrez. “DCPS has expanded its full-time contact tracing team and now has 10 dedicated people working with schools to identify close contacts of any positive COVID-19 case. [The D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education] also provides 10 dedicated medical assistants to support testing and contact tracing in our schools. “


More news on the coronavirus

Looking for more information? DC, Maryland, and Virginia each publish more data each day. Visit their official websites here: Virginia | Maryland | CC


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