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DC Public School nurses asked to work at coronavirus testing sites

School nurses will also perform non-direct patient care, like telephone contact tracing, remote monitoring of quarantined patients and supporting the call center.

WASHINGTON — A partnership between DC Health and Children's School Services may put D.C. public school nurses on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus. With schools closed in the District through April 27, nurses who have free time are being asked to participate in direct and non-direct patient care. 

"School nurses are leaders in their field with specialized experience in public health nursing," a spokesman for Children's National Hospital said. "Never before has the need for a whole community approach been more evident as we all work collectively, across the District, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic." 

Tasks they'll be asked to perform include:

  • Performing telephonic contact tracing for COVID-19 positive patients that need a contact trace (i.e., healthcare workers, first responders, seniors living in congregate settings, etc.)
  • Performing case management and remote monitoring of individuals under strict quarantine
  • Providing support to the COVID-19 call center
  • Working at COVID-19 testing sites that are being developed by the DC government. All nurses assigned to this site would be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.

"If an employee believes some of their work would jeopardize their health, there is a process for them to seek an accommodation," a spokesman said. 

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See the full statement from DC Health and Children’s School Services:

During this unprecedented public health crisis, trained public health and health care professionals are in demand. To mitigate community spread and to ensure our residents receive the care they need, health professionals in various organizations are being asked to take on new or expanded responsibilities. School nurses are leaders in their field with specialized experience in public health nursing. DC Health is appreciative of our strategic partnership with Children’s School Services and the role school nurses play, not only as clinical service providers in school health suites but as coordinators of care for families and communities. Never before has the need for a whole community approach been more evident as we all work collectively, across the District, to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As schools remain closed through April 27, 2020 and our response evolves, school health suite functions have ceased. The District has an increased need for several critical functions to protect our community during this public health emergency. These include non-direct patient care and patient care activities:

  • Performing telephonic contact tracing for COVID-19 positive patients that need a contact trace (i.e., healthcare workers, first responders, seniors living in congregate settings, etc.)
  • Performing case management and remote monitoring of individuals under strict quarantine
  • Providing support to the COVID-19 call center
  • Working at COVID-19 testing sites that are being developed by the DC government. All nurses assigned to this site would be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.

The health and safety of all our essential personnel and the school nurses who assist DC Health in addressing this public health emergency is paramount. We will comply with applicable laws and guidelines and provide accommodations, as appropriate, to ensure the safety of these workers. If an employee believes some of their work would jeopardize their health, there is a process for them to seek an accommodation. The District has a tremendous pool of dedicated, talented professionals. By joining together, we can flatten the curve and keep our city safe.

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