Nurses keep students, staff educated and safe

InspireNOLA school nurses keep students, staff educated and prepared as they return to in-person learning
Posted on 09/22/2020

Safety is the number one priority for InspireNOLA staff and students, and our school nurses are taking every effort to make sure everyone is educated and doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The CDC and safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 change every day. It’s up to us to continue to learn what these changes are and to educate the public,” said Dwight D. Eisenhower Charter School RN Bernita Dussett.

Dussett created a presentation for students before they returned to school, giving them some insight on what to expect and important safety measures, including the proper way to wear a mask.

“It’s making sure everyone is well and staying safe and educating them,” added RN Nicole Wammes, who works at Andrew Wilson Charter School. “I’ve walked around and looked at all the classrooms prior to opening. I feel like it’s a good environment for students.”

InspireNOLA nursersNurse Danisha Scott at Edna Karr High School said she keeps an eye on the safety and mental health of all those in her building and is always willing to answer questions or offer information about the virus. 

“I tell adults that the most importation person in controlling the spread is you by protecting yourself. Wear a mask and practice hand hygiene. If you do everything to protect yourself, you’ll be doing everything to protect others too,” she said.

Scott says she works with the school leaders, administrators and teachers as a team to ensure the safety of all students.

“I’m hands on. We work as a team to make sure everyone coming through is safe enough to be here. Our first line of defense is at each entry point to the school. We screen every person and student that enters and make sure scholars have access to the supplies to keep not only themselves but one another safe,” Scott said.

RN Earlene Taylor of Pierre A. Capdau Charter School makes rounds up and down the halls, continually ensuring staff are following all safety regulations. She reminds them that students will take their lead, so they must always be the best models of health and safety. She has a sanitation station offering sanitizer, masks, gloves, tissues and more that she makes available to her coworkers to make sure they have proper supplies. She also invites her peers to stop by when they have questions.

“I have an open door policy,” she said. “I try to get as much information to them as I can.”

Excited to have preK through fourth graders back in the building, Taylor plans to go to each classroom and give students the opportunity to ask questions. She’ll also go over how to hand sanitize the proper way, how to wipe down their desks before they eat, what to do before entering and exiting the bathroom and other safety measures. Her goal is to reach students on their level to calm any nervousness students may have returning to school. 

“They’ll need to settle in with a new routine and that this is now normal,” she said. “I’ll remind them that we’re doing it to keep everyone safe from the bad germs. They know about germs.” 

Alice Harte Charter School RN Adrienne White said it will take some time for students to adjust to what school looks like these days and that both staff and teachers will continually help remind students about effective safety measures.

“We may need to teach and train young students each day because they’re kids and they are going to forget until it becomes routine,” said White, adding that parents can help by following similar measures outside of school, such as wiping down surfaces after eating and electronics after use.

“I tell my kids we aren’t the only ones going through this. Everyone is feeling it,” said 42 Charter School’s Nurse Jennifer Thompson, who said she will continue to educate the students in her building on the precautions they can take to keep themselves and others safe.

Scott encourages staff, parents, and students to talk to her or the other nurses and clinic workers if they have any questions or concerns.

“We’re all in this together, living through this. We understand parents and students might feel some fear and anxiety. Reach out and ask questions so you can get reassurance,” Scott said. “We’re here to help.”