State Guidance For Leveraging The Expertise Of School Nurses During And Beyond COVID-19

 

While school nurses already played an integral role in school communities prior to COVID-19, their roles and responsibilities have been stretched even further during the pandemic.  States can leverage new funding from the American Rescue Plan to provide districts with resources to ensure that every school has access to a school nurse. Child Trends and the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) are virtually convening state health and education leaders in a series of interactive discussions related to COVID-19 and schools:

  • On Monday, April 1, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm ET, Child Trends will hold a panel discussion with national experts on strategies to support staff wellness followed by small group discussions. Register here.
  • On Thursday, April 15, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm ET, Child Trends and the National Association of State Boards of Education will host a webinar to review research and CDC guidance related to the role of school nurses in addressing public health emergencies like COVID-19. We will also review trends in state policy and school reopening plans with respect to school nurses. Register here.

School nurses play a pivotal role in school communities during COVID-19 and will remain critical after the pandemic ends. In addition to their regular duties, many school nurses are currently providing COVID-19 information to students, staff, and families; spearheading virus testing and contact tracing efforts at the school and district levels; caring for symptomatic students and staff; and serving as the school or district liaison to local health departments. Many states offer detailed guidance on the roles and responsibilities of school nurses at the district and school levels during the pandemic, including considerations for safely providing school health spaces and personal protective equipment (PPE). However, it is also critical that states consider ways school nurses’ expertise can be proactively leveraged to develop and enhance state and district plans for school reopening, as well as future plans for pandemic response and emergency management. To address these issues, states have provided the following recommendations: 

Include school nurses on state- and district-level emergency planning and response teams.

Prioritize the expertise of school nurses when designing and implementing school reopening plans.

Leverage school nurse leadership when reviewing and updating broad school health policies.

While school nurses already played an integral role in school communities prior to COVID-19, their roles and responsibilities have been stretched even further during the pandemic.  States can leverage new funding from the American Rescue Plan to provide districts with resources to ensure that every school has access to a school nurse

Related resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others: