Good Evening Commissioners: Thank you for providing the opportunity to address you tonight.
My name is Robin Lane. I live at 3526 Primrose Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27408.
Tonight I am speaking with the third annual request from Project ONE, the group I represent. This year the Covid 19 pandemic adds a real sense of urgency to our annual appeal.
The request is this: We ask that you fully fund 5 new school nurse positions in this year’s Health Department budget.
Funding for five more positions would continue the progress you began in 2017 when you wisely added 5 full time positions to the 33 nurses then on staff. You continued that progress in 2018 with 5 more positions, and on behalf of the children and families who make up the Guilford County Schools community, we thank you.
Now for the sense of urgency. It comes from the two facts we now know about Covid 19 infections:
First: While children and teens may have milder illness compared to adults, they are not immune. Some may even develop serious, life threatening illness that will require expensive hospital care. Early detection appears to be an essential protection for our children.
Second: Whether or not they have symptoms, school aged children infected with Covid 19 are an important source of transmission to the wider community. Children have the potential to infect many vulnerable contacts.
For these reasons a focus on controlling Covid infections in our school population requires your serious attention.
School nurses have historically been the health professional in the educational setting responsible for prevention of disease transmission. They do this by teaching students how to wash their hands, cover their cough, and to stay home if they have a fever. Nurses are also responsible
for the early identification of the signs and symptoms of communicable disease.
For example, nurses can determine if a stomachache is due to an illness or is more likely a case of fear and/or trauma, or even hunger. If it is fear, nurses can reassure the student with appropriate interventions. If hunger, they help a family find a source for food. In the case of illness, a professional nurse is able to distinguish a common infection – a cold, from a more consequential one: in this case, Covid 19.
No-one else in the school setting can provide the protection offered by a skilled professional nurse. The nurse’s assessment is precisely what is needed if proper evaluation, referral and treatment are to occur. But for an appropriate assessment to take place, nurses need to be easily and quickly available.
So, before we return students to our school buildings, let’s make sure that we have done all we can to ensure their safety and the safety of our community. Please continue to fix the school nurse shortage with funding for 5 new positions this year.
5 new positions are what we urgently need. Five new positions are the request from Guilford County Project ONE
I have shared a Fact Sheet prepared by Project ONE this spring. It describes the important work that our nurses continue to perform in our community while their students learn at home. Please take a look.
Thank you, Robin Lane