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So if they open no matter what...

I see that our President has made it a priority to reopen schools with in-person instruction.  I happen to live in a state (AZ) with a governor who's an ardent fan and politically dependent on Trump.  My state is in crisis, but I'm pretty sure that we'll be reopening in August even if every last student and staff member ends up infected with  COVID.

I will be lucky if we have surgical masks, hand sanitizer and some disinfectant wipes, I think.  I sure won't have the negative-pressure isolation room or the distancing options recommended by the CDC.

What are you all planning to do, if you face these circumstances?  I am foraging around on ebay trying to get some PPE, maybe including a dozen n95s that I can rotate.

I feel like I'm going to have to assume that any of the apparently healthy high school kids I see could be asymptomatically infected with COVID.  Our state is in a real crisis. I'm nervous.  I don't even go to the grocery store anymore - sitting in an unventilated health office with 15 kids seems crazy. 

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Latest Pres tweet:

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In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!

Not a political issue, public safety issue!

Next tweet:
 

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I disagree with @CDCgov on their very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!

 

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CNN reporting CDC issuing new school guidelines next week.

I'm at a private school, doing our best to get the supplies needed given our drop in funding and funding freeze.  I've heard some nurses at nearby private schools say they plan (if no N95) to do washable masks or surgical with face shield over it.  I had to get blood drawn earlier this week and the phlebotomists were all masked or double masked with a face shield.  God help us.

Not a school nurse so ignore me if that makes a difference but I did want to offer some words of encouragement. I work in an oncology clinic with over 70 staff members who are literally on top of one another, who share computers, equipment, bathrooms, eating areas and who follow, to varying degrees, the concept of social distancing when not at work (ie some totally ignore it while others have practically built panic rooms). We are exposed to 200 patients a day who sometimes act more like ill-behaved children than adults. They pull their masks off, cough in our faces you name it. We have had multiple contacts with patients that have later tested positive (I'm talking hours or a few days not weeks). We do not have an abundance of PPE. We do have surgical masks and goggles/face shields which we must re-use and don't fit particularly well. No N-95s. We are all guilty of pulling our masks down for a breather or to eat. So far only one staff member has tested positive and that was from a known infected contact of hers in the community. We haven't even had any scares. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, for us at least, sanitizing surfaces and wearing masks/eye protection seems to be doing the trick even though I am in an area that is seeing a huge uptick of cases. I'm in no way meaning to dismiss your concerns but I wanted to offer you some hope that it might not be as bad as it seems. Trust me, every single one of us cried our eyes out from fear when all this started. 

MHDNURSE, BSN, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatrics, Community, and School Health.

I hate to say it but if I were I your position, I would not be going back.  

7 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

Not a school nurse so ignore me if that makes a difference but I did want to offer some words of encouragement. I work in an oncology clinic with over 70 staff members who are literally on top of one another, who share computers, equipment, bathrooms, eating areas and who follow, to varying degrees, the concept of social distancing when not at work (ie some totally ignore it while others have practically built panic rooms). We are exposed to 200 patients a day who sometimes act more like ill-behaved children than adults. They pull their masks off, cough in our faces you name it. We have had multiple contacts with patients that have later tested positive (I'm talking hours or a few days not weeks). We do not have an abundance of PPE. We do have surgical masks and goggles/face shields which we must re-use and don't fit particularly well. No N-95s. We are all guilty of pulling our masks down for a breather or to eat. So far only one staff member has tested positive and that was from a known infected contact of hers in the community. We haven't even had any scares. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, for us at least, sanitizing surfaces and wearing masks/eye protection seems to be doing the trick even though I am in an area that is seeing a huge uptick of cases. I'm in no way meaning to dismiss your concerns but I wanted to offer you some hope that it might not be as bad as it seems. Trust me, every single one of us cried our eyes out from fear when all this started. 

Thanks. I know. I will be 100% in a shield and mask for sure.

The problem is that you're OK in a situation like that... right up until you really, really aren't OK.  In Arizona counting all the undiagnosed COVID, a workplace with 70 people in the setup you describe would not be favorable math right now.  

I visited my office to take a look. The hand sanitizer was gone. There is exactly one container of Sanicloths. The cot room has two cots, so close they touch, and no ventilation unless I leave the door open. I asked the principal about a plexiglass barrier, about any planned changes in ventilation system, and I got a blank stare. I asked who will be quarantined when cases are found - it's a high school, they mix around widely- and how/if we're reporting cases to parents - pained smile. There are no masks for me, though they're trying to get surgical masks for students.

They have no plan. I don't blame the school, they're not IPs, but we've been abandoned by the feds and our state.

I don't know about this, friends. I think of my ED and ICU colleagues microwaving ragged n95's that they've used during intubations, and I can't imagine their fear going home to their families. That's not my risk, but neither is this a good situation. And the teachers! With 30 or close to 40 kids elbow to elbow all day! Even 20, if they do a split hybrid program.....uggggh I worry. 

I want the kids back, but how is that possible? Even if we had control measures at school, the community spread is completely out of control. Our public health department is so overwhelmed that they only do calls/contact tracing for people over 65, in nursing homes, or in shelters. Unless a parent calls, we're not even going to be informed of cases.

Hopefully opening schools will become not just a political but also a funding and logistical priority.... but I'm not holding my breath. This is so sad for our country and our kids.

Edited by laflaca

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

No revisions to school reopening guidelines despite Trump demand, just 'additional information': CDC director

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/revisions-school-reopening-guidelines-trump-demand-additional-information/story?id=71694982

On Anderson Cooper360,  Dr. Redfield CDC Director said CDC to release additional school reopening guidelines -- screening tool parent can use to make decision to send child to school, face coverings and symptom screenings for schools.   CDC's current recommendations for schools have students and teachers wear masks whenever possible, spread desks 6 feet apart, stagger schedules, eat meals in classrooms instead of the cafeteria and add physical barriers between bathroom sinks.  Karen

Karen, if you're not a bot, thank you but I'm not needing links. I've read the CDC guidance and I read the news. I'm looking for input from school nurses, specific to our setting/role.

I'm nervous as well. I would be in what's considered a "high risk" category, which makes me even more scared about getting coughed all over all day long. My office is tiny and I do not know how possible it is to distance in there! Not to mention the normal multitude of nonsense that comes through my door every day. Hopefully administration will help to curb the "non necessary" visits. Which honestly, is well over half of the students that I see each day (and I'm very much underestimating). The school nurses in my district have received little to no information about the plan going forward. I feel like it will be a nightmare school year. I wish they would postpone the school opening until Labor Day. Although I did read something recently from a local doctor in my area who felt that one of the quickest ways to get control of this virus is for schools to open and kids to be back around each other. His theory was that since kids fare relatively well with the virus they no longer need to be at home. I am not too sure how I feel about this- it's not just kids who are at school though. What about the staff?

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

4 hours ago, laflaca said:

Karen, if you're not a bot, thank you but I'm not needing links.

Not a bot, been here 20 yrs  Admin and moderating --just  a news junkie sharing tidbits with my colleagues..

🙂

18 hours ago, laflaca said:

Hopefully opening schools will become not just a political but also a funding and logistical priority.... but I'm not holding my breath. This is so sad for our country and our kids.

Agree 100%.

4 hours ago, IsItFridayYetRN said:

I'm nervous as well. I would be in what's considered a "high risk" category, which makes me even more scared about getting coughed all over all day long. My office is tiny and I do not know how possible it is to distance in there! Not to mention the normal multitude of nonsense that comes through my door every day. Hopefully administration will help to curb the "non necessary" visits. Which honestly, is well over half of the students that I see each day (and I'm very much underestimating). The school nurses in my district have received little to no information about the plan going forward. I feel like it will be a nightmare school year. I wish they would postpone the school opening until Labor Day. Although I did read something recently from a local doctor in my area who felt that one of the quickest ways to get control of this virus is for schools to open and kids to be back around each other. His theory was that since kids fare relatively well with the virus they no longer need to be at home. I am not too sure how I feel about this- it's not just kids who are at school though. What about the staff?

Exactly. The small detail of our safety. I know parents need to work, I know remote learning is a mess, and I know that healthy high school kids are mostly going to be OK if they get it. But what about us? What about the teachers?

I'll take the low pay, I'll take some professional misunderstandings or disrespect, I'll do all the unglamorous things we do.... But will I do it unprotected in what is currently the fastest-growing COVID epicenter globally?  Not sure about that.

School opening is delayed until August 17th (we start really early in AZ). I'm just hoping they delay further, and that we put some measures in place to make this safer.

 

18 hours ago, laflaca said:

Exactly. The small detail of our safety. I know parents need to work, I know remote learning is a mess, and I know that healthy high school kids are mostly going to be OK if they get it. But what about us? What about the teachers?

I'll take the low pay, I'll take some professional misunderstandings or disrespect, I'll do all the unglamorous things we do.... But will I do it unprotected in what is currently the fastest-growing COVID epicenter globally?  Not sure about that.

School opening is delayed until August 17th (we start really early in AZ). I'm just hoping they delay further, and that we put some measures in place to make this safer.

Yes, Yes, Yes! To all of this above! We are supposed to begin first week of August, but so many details still up in the air. Will be a year for the record books, for sure!!

Feral.Cat.Herder, RN

Specializes in Peds, MS, DIDD, Corrections, HH, LTC, School Nurse.

On 7/10/2020 at 12:30 PM, IsItFridayYetRN said:

I'm nervous as well. I would be in what's considered a "high risk" category, which makes me even more scared about getting coughed all over all day long. My office is tiny and I do not know how possible it is to distance in there! Not to mention the normal multitude of nonsense that comes through my door every day. Hopefully administration will help to curb the "non necessary" visits. Which honestly, is well over half of the students that I see each day (and I'm very much underestimating). The school nurses in my district have received little to no information about the plan going forward. I feel like it will be a nightmare school year. I wish they would postpone the school opening until Labor Day. Although I did read something recently from a local doctor in my area who felt that one of the quickest ways to get control of this virus is for schools to open and kids to be back around each other. His theory was that since kids fare relatively well with the virus they no longer need to be at home. I am not too sure how I feel about this- it's not just kids who are at school though. What about the staff?

And what about families that care for their elderly parents or others who are "at risk"? 

 

VampireBaby, LPN

Specializes in Geriatrics, psychiatric, rehabilitation.

So I think the anxiety is what is so bad for the teachers because they shut down the schools and they have been home on quarantine doing zoom classrooms.  On the other hand- nurses were all just thrown in it. I have wore the same N95 unfitted until straps broke 3 weeks later. We make do. Dementia patients do not keep a mask on for 5 sec and will pull it down to sneeze and cough. We ran out of PPE and "recycle" what we can. Teachers have been out of this loop and have valid anxieties- however- you do the best you can. Our children are getting depressed. Our children need a somnolence of what is their normal schedule. Handwashing and masks go a long way. I have never been provided a face shield or fitted goggles that I don't have to share with every nurse. I say lets try this before we make a premature decision founded on panic and what ifs. What is the long term affect of social isolation on children? How will this generation be educated? I need you all to look at the bigger picture and long term affects of quarantine.

7 hours ago, VampireBaby said:

So I think the anxiety is what is so bad for the teachers because they shut down the schools and they have been home on quarantine doing zoom classrooms.  On the other hand- nurses were all just thrown in it. I have wore the same N95 unfitted until straps broke 3 weeks later. We make do. Dementia patients do not keep a mask on for 5 sec and will pull it down to sneeze and cough. We ran out of PPE and "recycle" what we can. Teachers have been out of this loop and have valid anxieties- however- you do the best you can. Our children are getting depressed. Our children need a somnolence of what is their normal schedule. Handwashing and masks go a long way. I have never been provided a face shield or fitted goggles that I don't have to share with every nurse. I say lets try this before we make a premature decision founded on panic and what ifs. What is the long term affect of social isolation on children? How will this generation be educated? I need you all to look at the bigger picture and long term affects of quarantine.

I think that the anxiety isn't just bad for the teachers- it's bad for the teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, physical therapists, cafeteria workers, speech therapists, etc., as well as nurses like myself (who are responsible for over 1,000 students and staff on a daily basis and working more than one school campus). Please don't think that us school nurses voicing our concerns means that we just don't want to go back to work-because that's not the case at all. No disrespect meant at all, but if you see nurses speak about our concerns about the beginning of the school year and think we are being overdramatic or anxious, then that tells me that you truly have never been in our shoes. School nursing is a completely different dynamic and scenario than any other kind of nursing that I have ever done, and I would have never understood this unless I was a school nurse myself. And frankly, you saying "I need you all to look at the bigger picture..." is a little condescending to me. Please don't think that we have not been trying to look at the bigger picture- as nurses and parents.

That being said, I am so thankful to nurses like you who have been working throughout the whole pandemic. Your sacrifices are very much appreciated. 

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