President’s Message March 2020

Dear Colleagues,

There is a tremendous amount of information presented by the media and other sources regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Countries across the world are affected, including the United States. This is a very fluid situation and the numbers continue to rise in New York State. I have been attending the weekly Health Care Provider webinars presented by NYSED, NYSDOH, and the NYCDOH.  These webinars provide updates on the outbreak, review new guidance from the CDC, and answer frequently asked questions. We have been directed to review our school district Pandemic Plans, assess and take steps to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies, prepare for patient surges, screen and isolate at points of entry, and to take appropriate steps to prevent healthcare transmission of the virus.

School nurses are perfectly positioned to make a difference within the school setting by communicating facts and disproving false information about the Novel Coronavirus. We deal with threats of communicable disease on a daily basis and are on the front lines, poised and ready to take action should it becomes an issue in our school communities. If you are not already a part of your District Emergency Planning Committee, I encourage you to step up and share your knowledge about communicable disease prevention, case-finding, and treatment so that you can help alleviate some of the potential fear that is growing among many people.

Thank you for continuing to educate school personnel and students about prevention strategies to stop the spread of flu and other illnesses. One of the most important actions that school nurses can do is to promote proper handwashing with soap and water. Reminding people about this simple yet highly effective practice is very important.

Here are some links that you may find helpful when sharing information about handwashing and also how to stop the spread of germs:
https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/ when-how-handwashing
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/ prevention

The situation is ever changing. New information will be shared as it becomes available on the following sites:

New York State School Health Services has a page dedicated to COVID-19 and contains links to other recommended web resources:
www.schoolhealthny.com/coronavirus

CDC web page and a hotline for questions specifically dedicated to addressing the Coronavirus:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

NASN is also closely monitoring COVID-19 advisories and updating NASN website resources accordingly:
NASN Coronavirus 2019 webpage .

I wish you all the best as we work through this health issue in our schools and communities.

Sincerely,

Lou Ann Gleason, MSN RN
NYSASN President