Burke County Public Schools nurses continue to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March they have been instrumental in educating schools on how to prevent COVID-19 and how to recognize symptoms; in communicating with parents and staff when cases impact schools; and in working with the health department to contact trace and track data. Now that the pandemic is in the vaccination phase, BCPS nurses will help the Burke County Health Department give out vaccines, according to a press release from the school system.
“Our nurses will be going out into our community to help whenever and wherever we are needed to assist in administering vaccines to the community,” BCPS head nurse Miranda Michaels said in the release. “We are available and willing to help with vaccination distribution.”
In the release, BCPS Superintendent Larry Putnam said Michaels and her staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.
“I cannot say enough about Mrs. Michaels and our entire nursing staff and their leadership in seeing us through this pandemic,” Putnam said. “They have put in countless hours, including on nights and weekends, to serve students, parents and staff. As if runny noses, bee stings and med administration aren’t enough in a regular school year, our nurses have gone above and beyond during this anything-but-normal academic year. They have been on standby to take their nursing expertise into the community as needed during this pandemic and are now answering the call to administer COVID-19 vaccines.”
Michaels said the nurses have been trained to give the vaccines and will start this week.
“We have a great relationship with the health officials in our community and are proud to continue that relationship through this next phase,” she said.
Putnam said the school system is here to help in other ways as well.
“We are here to provide assistance in any capacity needed,” he said. “We have offered not only our nurses, but also other staff to help with logistics, as well as resources and even building space to conduct vaccination clinics. We continue to be in this together and take action to help mitigate the effects of this pandemic to get us closer to our new normal, which means ultimately getting our staff and students back into a full-time, healthy learning environment.”
Regarding the status of the vaccine, the health department released information last week that Burke County is currently in Phase 1A of the vaccine rollout. In a week or two, those in the community who are 75 and older will be eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase 1B-Group 1, according to the release.
Teachers will be included in the second phase of the state’s vaccine rollout plan, and Putnam and Michaels said BCPS is working with the Burke County Health Department on a plan to vaccinate school staff as vaccines become available.
On Monday, BCPS Public Relations Officer Cheryl Shuffler said the school system has not yet received indication when teachers and school staff may receive vaccines.
Johnny Casey is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-432-8907.