NHS School Nurse, Mrs. Cioffi, and her Role During the Pandemic
Essential workers including nurses and doctors are especially crucial at a time like this while public amenities, schools, restaurants, and stores are opening back up during a pandemic. For many school districts across the country, whether all the students are back or not, schools are reopening for the first time in months. School nurses, like NHS’ school nurse Mrs. Rose Cioffi, have helped along with the school administration to allow students to come back into the schools safely regarding precautions.
Mrs. Cioffi has been a school nurse at Nutley for almost 21 years and this year her job took a turn. As the school nurse, Mrs. Cioffi has continued to educate students and staff on the importance of maintaining healthy habits and also taking care of students, but this year her role was magnified. “I am continuing to educate staff, students, and families. The focus now is on COVID,” says Mrs. Cioffi. Mrs. Cioffi addresses that students and staff need to recognize the importance of taking the COVID precautions during not only school, but also being in public.
Although only special education students returned to the high school building before the holidays, Mrs. Cioffi and the NHS school administration have helped to prepare for students to come into the building in the future. “The plan was to come back to school using a hybrid, we emphasized social distancing, wearing masks and hand hygiene,” explains Mrs. Cioffi. “Completing the questionnaire in the morning so that they would be allowed to come into the building and encouraged students to stay home if they did not feel well.” Although this plan has been pushed back regarding the safety of the students and staff, the NHS administration continues to prepare for when students do come back hybrid.
Many workplaces have been continuing remotely from home, but as the school nurse, it is necessary for Ms. Cioffi to come into the school building. Mrs. Cioffi’s role as the school nurse is to take care of her students which can put her more at risk of exposure. Mrs. Cioffi explains, “I have not been fearful coming into the building. I maintain social distance, wear my mask and continue to wash my hands or use hand sanitizer often.” Along with protecting herself, Mrs. Cioffi has to help to make sure that her students are protecting themselves from the spread of this virus. As the school nurse, it could be a lot of pressure having to make sure that everyone is doing what they can to stay safe. Mrs. Cioffi says, “I am not feeling any burden regarding safety for staff and students that are in the building because it appears they are doing what needs to be done to maintain their safety, wearing masks, social distancing, and good hand hygiene. When everyone is compliant, it helps to cut down on the spread of COVID.”
It is important to recognize the staff and administrators' role in preparing and protecting their students during this unexpected pandemic. Mrs. Cioffi, along with the school administrators, wants to make sure that when students finally return to school that they will be safe and able to learn in this new environment.