Arkansas Department of Health will assign nurses to schools


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) –– Nurses across the region are in contact with the Departments of Health and Education in order to make sure your student stays safe this fall. The Health Services Director of Fayetteville Public Schools said her district has a plan.

“Framework is the same as if a student has another communicable disease, such as mumps,” said Health Services Director, Melissa Thomas.

She said this is what nurses are trained for. “I have a background being trained as a Registered Nurse, and in crisis management, this is not something that is new,” Thomas said.

Even so, parents are still worried. Bethany Johnson has a daughter with type 1 diabetes.

“Do I think her immune system could fight (Coronavirus)? Yeah, but do I wanna know? Not really.” Johnson said. She said she’s talked with her daughter about their options,

“She wants to go back to school for the social aspect of it, however, as adults we know its not really gonna look like school,” Johnson said.

Thomas is confident that her district, along with others, will keep students safe. “Districts have been highly focused on procedures to assist with the Arkansas Department of Health,” she said.

The Department of Health’s State Epidemiologist, Jennifer Dalliaha said they are in constant contact with districts in the state, “The Health Department is collaborating with Arkansas Department of Education, and we have staff working closely with them,” Dalliaha said.

Thomas said they’re working to distance classrooms where they can, and if a student goes into a nurse’s office with COVID-19 symptoms, they will be isolated.

“We are going to monitor that student in an area in the school identified as an isolation area,” Thomas said.

According to Dalliaha, there will be health department nurses assigned to schools and school nurses.

Thomas said it’s the bold steps that school leaders have taken, that will keep students safe, “With practices in place to have distancing in classrooms, as well as requiring masks, that’s the first step,” she said.

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