While educators and politicians debate the best ways to measure student achievement, Susan Kroupa is focused on the fundamentals: Public school students need to be in school to learn. They can’t be in school if they’re sick. And they can’t stay well if they have no access to health care.
“It’s vital that the child is healthy and safe so they can effectively learn,” said Kroupa, a public health nurse who works in the Wake County Public Schools.
For years, Wake County schools have faced a shortage of nurses. On Monday, the Wake County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on a 2015 budget that would include an allocation for 10 additional public health nurses to work in the schools. If funding is approved, they would be the first nursing positions added to the schools since 2008.
The N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Public Health Taskforce and the state Division of Public Health have adopted the standard ratio of one school nurse to every 750 students. Statewide, the ratio has trended downward from 1:2,198 in the 2000-2001 school year to 1:1,201 in 2010-2011.