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School nurses make adjustments to their role during pandemic

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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BUCKHANNON, W.Va (WDTV) - Schools are still adjusting to in-person learning, and school nurses are playing a key role in making that possible.

A visit to the school nurse’s office used to mean a temperature check and maybe some medicine, but that’s changing. Lori Jestice at French Creek Elementary says her job as a certified school nurse now includes lots of phone calls, in fact, she says the calls have tripled.

“There’s a lot more covid calls and covid questions from teachers, and parents. We see a lot more children coming in, parents asking us to see their children with sore throats or stuffy noses because no one is ever sure if it’s allergies or something worse,” Jestice said.

She oversees three different schools in Upshur County and is responsible for more than 1,200 students. Jestice is also in charge of keeping track of students in quarantine-- all this, in addition to simply being there for students’ needs.

With Upshur County in red on the alert map for three weeks, she says the job has become more stressful.

“It’s a little overwhelming at times. I do worry about, what if somebody is sitting in six different classes all day that may have thought it was a headache, but it’s COVID. I worry that there may be two or three kids slipping through the cracks.”

However, with worry, comes some relief as Jestice knows how important her job is in the pandemic. “Our main goal is just to keep children healthy and safe and in the school,” she said.

Jestice said that it’s important for parents to listen to any complaint their child may have and keep them home if necessary to monitor their condition.

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