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Isolation Room Closures Between Symptomatic Students


Specializes in Geriatric Home Health, High School Nurse. Has 19 years experience.

I was just told that ideally our isolation room should close for two hours before cleaning. Are you being told something similar and if so, how do you plan to handle sick students during that two hours? I have one isolation space.

nursetlm, ADN

Has 9 years experience.

Following because I’m having so many questions about this isolation room.

JenTheSchoolRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in School nursing.

Ideal is not real life. In my state, I was talking to another nurse, that states her DPH told her it would be "ideal" if the isolation space held one student at time. I almost laughed out loud at that. I will wipe down the space as much as I can and it will be deep cleaned every night, but that is what I know is feasible. I'm acknowledging this is a space occupied by folks that may have COVID.

nursetlm, ADN

Has 9 years experience.

I worry about having 2 (or more) students at a time in there also. I work with elementary aged students and frequently have more than one student at a time with cough/ congestion, etc during a “normal” cold and flu season. I will be monitoring both rooms to my knowledge. No help.

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 12 years experience.

Putting my Summer camp nurse hat on:

We ALWAYS put kids with like conditions together. Even when we couldn't prove "it's strep", we bunked kids in infirmary by gender, then symptoms. Strep kid can't bunk with kid with vomiting and diarrhea.

Ideally you'd have a reverse airflow for isolation. (Pausing for laughter). Second ideal: room that vents directly out with documented air exchanges of what....10 times an hour? The air ecologists can weigh in here.

So we have NEITHER - so nothing is 100% safe. But parent, if you chose to send your kid to school you are agreeing to not 100% safe.

Now considering our real assets;

Does the room allow for a minimum of six feet between masked children? That's great.

No? What distance does it allow for?

We are using a guidance of "the room needs to be cleared for three hours and then cleaned" for SPED students with nebulizers (all other students don't get to have nebulizers).

Two hours is wishful. Particles settle when they settle. Mask the students, keep them far away from each other as possible with the knowledge that we've always grouped the respiratory kids and kept them away from the kids with diarrhea in congregate settings.

And realize that your biggest threat is the asymptomatic kiddo.