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School nurses helping fight new cases of COVID-19

As schools and communities struggle to keep the virus at bay, school nurses are handling even more responsibilities.

HAMPDEN, Maine — School nurses have been on the front lines when it comes to monitoring students and staff, juggling COVID-19, and other illnesses in an unprecedented way this school year.

Barb Parent is a school nurse at Hampden Academy in RSU 22, which represents four different towns. 

 In years past, a student with sniffles to headaches wouldn't be cause for much concern... now, just one minor symptom gets a full assessment.

'If they come down and say they have a headache and that's new for them, they really don't feel real well, I am sending them home,' Barb Parent, School nurse at Hampden Academy.

School nurses are making those decisions based on CDC screening protocols and any pre-existing conditions a student may have... like allergies, asthma, or chronic migraines. 

You have to be symptom-free in 24 hours before you return to school whether it's a student or employee, if you get Covid testing done we would want you to wait until we get the test results.

Right now R-S-U 22 is on a hybrid learning model... students split their time between learning from home three days a week and learning in person the other two days.

 And in the seven weeks, they've been in session, none of its six campuses have reported a single case of Covid.   

Parents are also playing a big role in screening kids and taking their temperatures before they go to school. Some districts are taking that precaution a step further. MaryBeth Bachman is the school nurse at Falmouth High school, which is also doing hybrid learning.

Parents are required to fill out an online checklist before their kids come to school. Working from a list of absences Bachman calls parents to find out more about a student's symptoms.

Click here for the Maine Department of Education's online COVID-19 dashboard, which keeps track of the active coronavirus cases in the state