Alabama school nurses overwhelmed by rise in student COVID-19 cases


CLANTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Across Alabama, school nurses are on the front line of rising COVID-19 cases affecting students.

Chilton County Schools is among many districts statewide feeling the impact, one that has led several of them to resign. Lead Nurse Chrysta Russell said one challenge includes only one nurse assigned to each school. Since the school year began, nursing staff have been dealing with double the amount of sick students than last year, adding that school nurses may see up to 30 sick students a day.

Other stresses include concerns over the staff contracting COVID-19 after being exposed to sick students. In the district, some nurses have chosen to get vaccinated while others are ineligible. This had affected the number of staff available.

“The job is overwhelming,” Russell said. “It’s overwhelming to seasoned nurses and you can imagine if you had a new sub or a nurse how they might be really overwhelmed with the workload.”

Russell is pushing for more resources to be made available, including additional staffing for nurses. She said the nursing staff is responsible for not only managing COVID-19 cases, but keeping teachers informed of other illnesses students are dealing with as well in the district.

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