COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – As students and staff return to class in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses will be watching for signs of the illness.
Over the summer, school nurses around the county were invited to a new form of training to help them better prepare for the school year under the pandemic.
At the start of summer, it was still unclear if schools were going to be in-person this fall, but the Columbiana County Health Department still wanted to remain prepared.
“After a few meetings with the superintendents, we thought it would be important to start incorporating school nurses in as they are going to be the ones seeing the sick children when they come to the nurse’s office from class,” said Jamie Elenz, spokesperson for the Columbiana County Health Department.
Courses were held once a week over several weeks and started with basic, simple COVID-19 training.
“We then talked about what a sick child might look like; what to do with a sick child, isolation or quarantine,” Elenz said.
Janet Leipheimer is a school nurse at Crestview Schools and went through the training. In the school, she has two separate rooms. A well room for kids who might twist their ankle or need a bandage and also a sick room.
“The kids that come in here are the ones that are going to be identified with a symptom of possible COVID,” Leipheimer said.
The sick room separates those kids from the rest of the group.
The training was a challenge. Throughout the course, new information and guidelines were being handed down, and changing.
“Like, face shields were originally OK, then they weren’t – the mask mandate. So, there were some things that came up that changed how we were going to be doing things,” Leipheimer said. “We start every presentation with this may or may not be what you are going to hear tomorrow, but as of right now, this what is current for today.”
A flow chart was rolled to help nurses, students and parents better understand how they are handling COVID-19 in the schools.
“They can print if off or cut it out, and they can stick it on the fridge and then it is not a surprise when they get a phone call from the school that their child might have to stay home longer than they thought,” Elenz said.