Our school nurses address bumps and scrapes students get while on the playground. They make sure students receive any routine medication during the school day. They conduct hearing screenings. Many parents rely on them for basic health care information.
The COVID-19 pandemic made school nurses even more indispensable. Schools relied on them in interpreting requirements for responding to risks from the coronavirus. They were key to contract tracing efforts from positive cases and testing. And they helped students cope with the mental and emotional stress brought on by the pandemic.
Their collective efforts made it possible for students and staff to safely learn and work in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. And that is why they were awarded a Special Achievement Award by the Crystal Apple Advisory Committee of Educational Service District 123.
The award was presented to school nurse representatives, including Brenda Atencio, RSD’s Lead Nurse, during the Crystal Apple Awards ceremony on March 10.
“They’re like warriors,” says Anne Kang, an epidemiologist with Benton-Franklin Health District. “They have a mission to protect kids and staff and they do everything they can to protect them. They had to have the ability to not give up, doing it for the students and staff, not just themselves.”
There are 14 school nurses serving RSD’s 20 schools as well as programs such as the Community-Based Transition Center in the Teaching, Learning & Administration Center.