As the school year progresses, the same COVID-19 precautions continue to remain of high priority. Additionally, there was data presented to the Board of Education beyond COVID-19; detailed information on school nurses.
Vikki Brannon, director of health services, said their focus is parallel to the vision statement of the Georgia Association of School Nurses.
The vision statement is “Georgia School Nurses are prepared leaders who develop and implement a coordinated school health program in every Georgia school to improve the health status and educational outcome of students and staff.”
As a nurse of 16 years, Brannon said she has a lot of experience to ensure Dawson County schools and their nurses are always going above and beyond. Braden said school nurses have a stigma at handing out ice packs and bandages, but they are much more.
“Our nurses are sometimes just looked at as being the sick visits, where we have the coughs and the colds…but they do a lot more than that,” Brannon said.
The Dawson County school nurses see 30-40,000 students a school year – estimating to around 4,000 student visits per month, which is significant data, according to Braden. Out of the 40,000 students, there is only a 4% send home rate.
“Data shows what you do and what you’re good for,” Brannon said.
They are devoted to keep students healthy, according to Braden.
Dawson County school nurses tend to students that have ADHD, psychological or psychiatric disorders and other medical conditions that may require medicine throughout the school day. They are additionally responsible for emergency medicine management.
Braden said – for the application and hiring process for nurses in the county – it is important for school nurses to be prepared for anything. The best experience Braden said to have is go into an emergency room and watch.
“You have to be prepared for anything and everything to walk through your door,” Brannon said. “The moment that we do let our guard down, something happens.”
As for COVID-19 numbers, Braden said since the “pandemic year” began, there has been a total of 308 student cases since the beginning of the year and only two of those quarantined students tested positive.
Superintendent Damon Gibbs said it is important to communicate with students’ parents, percentage wise to make them aware of the positive cases.
“We know our kids learn more when they’re in the building,” Gibbs said. “Our nurses give them some encouragement and getting them back in the classroom is critical.”