For Immediate Release
Monday, August 31, 2020.
Today, the New York State Association of School Nurses has released the following statement:
New York’s School Nurses are Prepared for the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year
Whether students return to school in person, in a hybrid model, or remotely, New York’s school nurses are well prepared and are ready to welcome their student’s back to the classroom.
School nursing has its roots in population health and communicable disease mitigation. On October 1, 1902, the first school nurse in the United States, Lina Rogers, RN was hired by the New York City Department of Health to reduce student absenteeism associated with communicable diseases. Such was the success of school nursing interventions that the rate of student absenteeism in NYC schools decreased dramatically – one year after the introduction of school nursing services medical exclusions for infectious disease had decreased by 98.4%.
The school nurse role is a multifaceted, specialist role. It requires a broad knowledge base with expertise in pediatric, emergency, public health, and population health. New York’s school nurses provide evidence-based nursing care grounded in the standards of school nursing practice, in a setting where education, not health care, is the dominant paradigm. New York’s school nurses support the educational mission of our schools through mitigation of health-related barriers to learning.
The 2020-2021 school year will indeed be different – students and staff will be returning to school during a pandemic and the preeminent health-related barrier is a highly virulent communicable disease.
School nurses have been preparing for their student’s return to school in September through participation in their schools’ re-opening teams. They have provided health-related leadership and guidance; they have developed health-relates policies and procedures, they have advised on needed supplies, they have provided education and training for staff and information for the families in their communities.
When schools re-open, New York’s school nurses will track disease trends in their regions daily and will work collaboratively with their local health departments to facilitate contact tracing for COVID-19 cases. By leveraging the professional skills of school nurses with their unique knowledge of their school communities – and the trust placed in them by those communities – our school nurses will play a pivotal role in helping break chains of transmission thus limiting spread in their school and surrounding communities.
School nurse involvement in communicable disease management in recent years has had a preventative public health focus. School nurses provide the leadership in implementing their schools’ immunization programs through immunization tracking and follow up in their assigned population. This important preventative public health service provided by New York’s school nurses will continue alongside the additional pandemic-related responsibilities outlined above.
About NYSASN: The New York State Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, representing New York’s school nurses. NYSASN’s mission is to advance the practice of school nursing and to enhance the educational success of students by promoting quality health services. Please visit us at www.nysasn.org
Lou Ann Gleason, MSN, RN
New York State Association of School Nurses