Brindlee Mountain Primary School nurse concerned for student health during upcoming school year

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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – Nurses are already vital at schools. But this year, they will be more important than ever.

“Personally, I’m a little bit scared this year. I’ve been doing this for 13 years and this year is going to be totally different,” said Brindlee Mountain Primary School nurse Andrea Kelly.

Kelly told WHNT News 19 that the coronavirus is creating a major challenge for students, school staff, and their families.

“Each child we send home is going to impact what happens to the teachers, what happens to the other kids in the classroom. I’m worried that we’re going to be sending a lot of kids home that don’t need to be sent home,” said Kelly.

She said it will be almost impossible to maintain social distancing.

“There’s too many in a classroom to put the desks six feet apart, then you’ve got the kids getting up. They haven’t seen each other since March. They’re going to be excited to see each other. They’re going to be up in each other’s faces wanting to hug and it’s going to be so hard to distance them from their friends,” said Kelly.

Space is also limited in the “isolation room” at Brindlee Mountain Primary School where children will be sent if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

The room still needs to be adjusted but is only big enough for one or two students.

Kelly told WHNT News 19 she typically sees 20 children a day.

“We’re going to be busy with kids that we see on a daily basis anyway with cuts and scrapes and bruises and sprains, so this is just going to add to it. We’re going to have to really step up our game,” said Kelly.

Kelly said assessment is going to be key for nurses to figure out who needs to be isolated, sent home, or quarantined.

“We’re going to have to decide if that child with a runny nose, is that something that’s just typical or is that just allergies going on or is that something that’s one of the symptoms of COVID. We will be keeping up with who is next to that child. Who we think needs to be also self-quarantined because of the contact with the child that we send home or that may test positive,” explained Kelly.

Kelly said they’ll be educating children and parents online and in the classroom of the symptoms to be aware of and ways to protect themselves in order to keep them in school.

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