Lee Co. nursing coordinator: ‘The one thing this pandemic has brought to light is the need for school nurses’
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Georgia Federation of Teachers is asking Governor Brian Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly to increase funds for school nurses.
Shannon Weeks, the Lee County School System nursing coordinator, said they’ve had to make changes to their daily routine due to COVID-19.
“The one thing this pandemic has brought to light this year is the need for school nurses in every school,” said Weeks.
Weeks said nursing is underfunded across the county.
“We take these jobs because we love doing this. If someone leaves a school nursing job, it’s because of a money issue,” explained Weeks.
She said they also struggle to get substitute nurses.
“It’s hard to get someone in with a nursing degree when the funding just isn’t adequate,” Weeks told WALB News 10.
Weeks said her goal is to get three or four licensed substitute nurses. She said COVID-19 changes the way they do their job.
“We have to have someone else help us in-house because if the nurse has to leave the clinic and go to the sick room,” said Weeks.
Patients with COVID-19 symptoms go to the sick room.
Weeks said since the symptoms are so broad, it makes it harder to keep kids in school without having to quarantine for 14 days.
“In the past, if the student had a stomachache or headache, there are several different things we could rule out before sending them home,” explained Weeks.
She said even once this pandemic is done, people with diabetes, asthma and other needs will require more nurses.
Weeks said having the proper resources helps get kids back into school.
“When you have a licensed nurse in the school building, there are so many studies that show you get a higher percentage of kids back to class,” said Weeks.
Weeks said due to COVID-19, they’re having to send more kids home than before, but she’s hopeful we’ll get past it.
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