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Job of school nurses changed drastically in pandemic

Strategies include early detection and isolation through constant messages to parents that any symptoms are cause to keep a kid home.

BOULDER, Colorado — They certainly didn't see it coming, but a Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) nurse said her training prepared her for the pandemic.

“There was a very steep learning curve when COVID hit,” said Kristina Hyde, a nursing consultant overseeing six schools in the Boulder Valley School District. ”This is something as public health nurses that we've always had in our background and our training to be able to respond.”

She and her team responded to COVID-19 with early detection and isolation strategies through constant messages to parents that any symptoms are cause to keep a kid home and then isolating those not feeling well at the school itself.

“We have actually now two designated areas and each of our buildings; one is an area for kids who maybe just have an injury or need a Band-Aid, or you know a little rest break and then we have a sick area for students who are showing signs,” said Hyde.

She said isolations have prevented spread. District-wide, there are just four confirmed positive cases right now and four more probable cases. About 150 students are quarantined out of the more than 31,000 students in BVSD.

But only the preschool and elementary students are back on a limited basis right now. Middle school comes back for a couple of days a week starting Tuesday. High school does the same next week.

“I do feel like I had the tools in my training to be able to provide this support to our schools, which has been great. And I think we have an amazing team of nurses and health repair has who are so devoted to this effort,” she said.

In one year, the job has changed drastically. Only adding immense responsibility to those on the front lines at Colorado's schools. But, Hyde said with the continued support of parents, the community will push through.

“It truly is a partnership with parents and families. So we really appreciate everything that you know families are having to do right now because it's a big ask,” said Hyde, who gets her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.