NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - As COVID-19 cases increase in area schools, so does the critical role of school nurses now on the pandemic’s front lines.
"They are absolutely critical for us to educate kids and to take care of kids and staff every day,” said Wilson County Schools Health Services Supervisor Chuck Whitlock.
Two months into their delayed school year start, Whitlock says he sees the invaluable work of school nurses firsthand every day in Wilson County Schools.
Many of their work responsibilities have drastically increased.
“They are case managing, they're investigating, they're counseling parents,” Whitlock said.
School nurses are also now explaining isolation and quarantine periods, they're contact tracing – interviewing teachers, bus drivers, anyone in contact with a positive COVID case – plus examining students with symptoms.
But the other part of their job – their pre-COVID job – never slowed down.
“We still have daily meds, we have kids that get hurt, we have kids that get sick with non-COVID related, we have kids that are diabetic and need help managing their diabetes,” Whitlock said.
At least one of Wilson County Schools' 25 full time nurses are staffed at every school – all going above and beyond to care for this community's youngsters.
"Oh, they're doing an amazing job," Whitlock said.
Whitlock says the schools can't run without their school nurse, so they've rounded up as many as 12 part-time or reserve nurses in case of an emergency.
Wilson county Elementary schools are now back in full session. Middle and high school students are still at home, waiting on COVID-19 cases to turn around and trend downward.