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School nurses working to help keep students, staff safe during COVID-19

Each school has a registered nurse and a designated sick room
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 4:16 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2020 at 4:36 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - At Rapides Academy students now stop to sanitize their hands while changing classes, following arrows on the floor that mark a one-way path to the next classroom. “Our schools look a little different this year,” says registered nurse Jessie Zabasky.

However, before students even walk through the doors, they’ll get their temperatures checked and pass by signs reminding them to social distance, to wear masks, and to wash their hands. “Yesterday went smooth. The kids were excited to be back and everybody was happy to have everyone on campus again,” adds Zabasky.

Behind all the preparation are school nurses like Zabasky, who has been working with the school board, school staff, and the Department of Public Health to get ready for this week since students went home last March. “All of our school nurses attended a virtual town hall meeting with the Department of Education and Children’s Hospital out of New Orleans to better prepare us for this school year.”

While teachers sanitize desks between classes and custodians disinfect everything else, school nurses around the parish are standing by to help contain any possible signs of COVID-19 that do manage to make it inside. “Each school as a designated sick room with trained staff to follow protocols when a student presents with symptoms,” says Zabasky. She adds, “We are all smiles under our masks and we will continue to move forward with positive attitudes to show our community that we are better together.”

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