SALEM, OR (KPTV) - As districts prepare to reopen schools, nurses are sure to play a pivotal part.
“We’ve always had the foundation of communicable disease and all those processes in place prior to COVID, on a smaller scale," said Jodi Peterson, Nurse Coordinator for Salem-Keizer Public Schools.
Peterson said with it now at the forefront, they'll regularly examine kids for COVID-19 symptoms, work closely with families to answer any questions and discuss quarantining at home, as well as contact tracing.
“It depends where the student was and what their activities were and so we look at anybody who had close prolonged contact," said Peterson. “Then it continues to go on with what we do with that."
"We have experienced cohorts being removed," added Peterson.
Isolation or sick rooms will also be available to students.
“And it’s not to make them feel like something is wrong or that they did something wrong," said Peterson. "It’s really a place that we can offer support while they’re at school waiting for pick up.”
A recently added guideline from the state, said schools will also need to offer on-site COVID testing. It's a big undertaking, according to Lead Nurse in the Salem-Keizer district, Kristina Gagner.
“We haven’t gotten our plan set in stone yet, but definitely our nurse team is kind of leading that direction, to figure out how we can do it to best support our students and our staff and families," said Gagner.
On top of all these recommendations, their regular duties remain the same. That means they're still caring for kids who get hurt, managing medications for those who need it regularly, and handling things like diabetic or allergy support.
“We are so solid and strong and we worked together so well as a team that I know we can handle this and we’re going to do it well and we’re really going to put our students first and make sure that they’re healthy and our buildings stay healthy," said Gagner.
The same rule applies as anywhere, if someone is sick, they ask that they stay home and don't come to school.
Salem-Keizer Public Schools also offers a nurse hotline during school hours if someone has questions. The hotline is 503-399-3376.