TEXAS — As Texas school districts start the fall semester, school nurses are on the front lines of combatting COVID-19 on school campuses.
What You Need To Know
- Hutto ISD school nurses provided with head-to-toe PPE
- About 58% of the district’s 8,300 students will be returning to in-person school
- Anywhere from 40-100 kids visit the school nurse every day at each of Hutto ISD’s 11 campuses
- Unlike many Texas school districts, Hutto ISD has at least one nurse at each campus
“I’ve been a nurse for about 11 years now," said Nikki Carroll, who says she loves her job working as a school nurse in the Hutto Independent School District.
This year, though, it looks pretty different.
“I have my PPE box inside of my closet so that’s where I get all my stuff from," said Carroll.
Before she goes to work, she puts on head-to-toe PPE provided by the district.
Right now her clinic is calm, but next week a Hutto ISD spokesperson says about 58 percent of the district’s 8,300 students will be returning to in-person school.
“I don’t know how to feel. I’m keeping my hopes up that everything will go well and I just hope that we can keep them as safe as we can," said Carroll.
At the moment she’s hoping to have her 10-year-old daughter Journey continue with virtual learning for the next nine weeks, but says she will re-evaluate based on her daughter's needs and academic progress.
However, she says she does feel comfortable going back to work thanks to the new protocol they have in place to minimize traffic in the school clinic.
“We do have isolation rooms that we have set aside for the students, and if it does come back that they’re positive or we find out that they are positive, we have steps in place that we take," said Carroll.
According to district officials, anywhere from 40-100 kids visit the school nurse every day at each of Hutto ISD’s 11 campuses.
Carroll isn’t sure whether that number will increase or decrease due to the pandemic.
“I’m anxious just to see, because we’ve never had this happen before, so it’s more of like I'm anxious to see but I’m hopeful that everything will go well or we will, you know, do the best that we can do given the circumstances," said Carroll.
Hutto ISD has 13 school nurses, and unlike many Texas school districts, has at least one nurse at each of its 11 campuses.
Carroll says she feels the pandemic has shown how essential school nurses are.
“I’m proud to be a school nurse because I don’t think we get enough credit, I don’t think people realize how important the school nurse is," said Carroll.
That’s why despite the risk the pandemic poses, she’s ready to go back to work to help keep kids safe.
“All I can say is that we’re going to do our best to protect your kids," said Carroll. "So, I just want the parents to know that we, we are all in the same boat and we’re here to help you, and we’re going to get through this.”