As COVID-19 cases rise, the roles of school nurses change to meet needs

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With the increase in COVID cases, local schools have had to buckle down to prevent transmission. This has added new importance to the jobs of certain faculty members in Northland education.

Nurses at area schools now say that the expectations for their position have shifted noticeably.

"We are there not just for the students, now staff and families are coming to us as often as kids are with needs and concerns," said nurse Colleen Lois from Great Lakes Elementary School.

Lois has been a school nurse for three years. In that time her job description has changed dramatically – saying that now mental wellbeing is just as physical health.

A big priority for nurses now – being a shoulder for parents and guardians to lean on.

"It’s hard for the parents because there’s so much misinformation out there that I feel like they’re constantly calling just to get reassurance and know what is accurate," said Lois. "They utilize us as a medical resource which never happened when I first started."

And with only one nurse per school building, many bearing the load of their new role alone on top of added task of tracking transmission in their schools.

"Every single student that comes in with some type of illness you’re trying to define. We have a specific criteria that we follow along with our county and we try to adhere to that."

Lois emphasizing that the pandemic has forced everyone to see the real value in school nurses and what they do.