Now more than ever, the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” is coming into play as families, schools and the community are becoming more and more creative in nurturing, feeding and educating children while doing their best to them healthy.
A friend of mine said the coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to design our own roadmap. For schools and families, that roadmap is being shaped by the collaborative efforts of families, teachers, administrators, counselors and school nurses.
Families are doing their best. When March hit and schools shuttered for the remainder for the 2019-20 school year, it forced families to become innovative as they encouraged their kids to make the best of a sad situation, being removed from their peers and teachers. Even as this school year starts, the hybrid model for older students requires parents take an active role in minding the store, making sure kids are staying on task even if they are at home.
Teachers, who are already stretched with the changes being asked of them, are continuing to come up with inventive ways to keep students engaged. They did their best in the spring when virtual education became a must and continue to do so this school year.
Then there are school nurses. While many of us don’t think of school nurses as more than medicine dispensers or bandage givers, this pandemic has changed their roles.
Northland districts believe in school nurses. As an example, Kearney School District has seven nurses in schools along with a district nurse who serves as coordinator. Right now, these nurses serve as schools’ public health experts. Karen Hatfield, who serves in this leadership role in Kearney, said these nurses are knowledgeable about COVID-19 screenings and help county public health with contact tracing. There are protocols in place for isolation areas, which allow nurses to handle assessments for COVID-19-related issues.
Nursing roles have also transcended to a mental health aspect as the youngest students are dealing with added anxiety as they return to school during the pandemic. This added help to assist school counselors can be especially key for those students who are in buildings full time or for the first time.
Nurses also field parent and staff questions. These professionals provide a service to their schools and children by making sure students are healthy and able to come to school.
It’s a serious team approach that makes our collective village so strong. Thank you all for being resourceful and caring for all Northland students.