Despite the unrelenting pandemic riding into the second semester, school nurses Cheryl Sims and Natalie Kuhn risk exposure on a daily basis to provide for the needs of students and faculty.
If a student or staff member suspects he has the virus, he is immediately sent home to quarantine for a minimum of two weeks. To prevent that, these two nurses, a COVID case manager, teachers, custodians, and all faculty members aid in safety measures while on campus.
“COVID is real,” Sims said, “and we need to take measures to ensure we do not have a rise in cases so we as a nation can get back to a normalcy that will allow us to gather with family and friends and not be worried that we are in danger of infecting loved ones.”
According to Sims, community members are responsible for their safety, and holding themselves accountable for the safety of others.
“If a student is feeling ill, they should come into the clinic to be (treated]),” Sims said. “That is their responsibility, not ours.”
COVID-19 increased staff workload in addition to safety concerns as faculty members, instructors and administrators work double-time to accommodate additional COVID-related responsibilities.
“(The virus) has affected education by having our teachers and educators doing double work in order for our students to get an education,” Sims said. “I also believe COVID has affected the way parents look at education as well; they are not holding their students accountable for their actions.”
Although the pandemic remains and extensive safety measures are taken, community members are quick to jump to conclusions in regard to sickness. However, Sims feels strongly against slapping a “COVID” label on every single symptom.
“I know this is uncharted waters, and we have many different people working on different areas, so unfortunately there will be many plans and procedures for one single virus,” Sims said. ”The one single thing I really do not like is that they want to label every illness as COVID.”
Contrary to popular belief, Sims has not treated a positive case yet, but she perseveres through students with possible symptoms to allow the school to stay open.
“(We) have to be diligent and continue to maintain safety measures in order to keep our school safe and open for the students to do face to face learning,” Sims said.