(The State) South Carolina school nurses say they’re ‘overwhelmed,’ ‘unsafe’ with COVID surge in schools

Elizabeth Clark has had days when she felt unsafe. Days when she hasn’t felt like she can help everyone who needs it. When she’s overwhelmed. When she’s dealt with frustrated people who “say things they wouldn’t in another situation.”

Clark is the only full-time school nurse at Gilbert High School, in the middle of a school district that has had some of the highest rates in the Midlands of COVID-19 spread and exposure since the new school year started just weeks ago.

Since classes resumed in mid-August, the normal maladies that come to a school nurse — from the minor but incessant to the potentially quite serious — have competed for attention with the near-constant focus on COVID-19. At one point, more than 6,000 students in Lexington 1 were excluded from class and multiple schools were teaching online-only classes.

“Two weeks before school, we get health cards on all our students,” Clark said. “I have 1,100 students, and I try to read through every single one by the first couple weeks of school. We just started on those this week. I try to orient myself to my students, but… COVID is so huge and in our face, it’s almost the only thing you can see.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education, Health & Medicine