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School Nurses Key to Safe School Reopening

Sudden school closures in the United States were undertaken to reduce COVID-19 transmission this spring. Those closures were not typical, and how and when schools reopen will create a set of new norms, with unique stressors for students, families, school personnel, and communities.

The challenges of reopening are not easy, and there will be a need to maintain systematic quality control in the face of prescribed approaches changing rapidly. In an editorial in The Journal of School Nursing, Catherine C. McDonald, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, addresses a number of challenges that will likely need to be met and how school nurses are positioned to keep children healthy, safe, and ready to learn.

“There is hope that in fall 2020, schools will be well on their way to reopening. No matter the scenario, we know that school nurses will be ready to lead in the steps to keep their schools healthy,” writes McDonald. “School nurses will take on COVID-19 specific roles in advising, planning, and implementation. They are key to student health, safety, and success, and at this time, their role could not be more important.”

The editorial, “Reopening Schools in the Time of Pandemic: Look to the School Nurses,” has been published online first and is set for publication in the upcoming August issue as well.