BURLINGTON – The need for another full-time nurse at the elementary schools has been fulfilled by the School Committee.
The committee unanimously approved an urgent request for a full-time nurse for the second half of the school year.
At the elementary level, students tend to need more oversight when dealing with illnesses or other matters, which forces nurses to spend more time with those students and less with others who also need to be cared for.
“At different times, we have students with different needs and it causes our nurses to spend extra time with those individual students,” explained Assistant School Supt. Patrick Larkin. “Some check-ins may take longer than normal, and that takes a nurse away from other students who also need their time. There are some intense situations that take place at the elementary level.”
Larkin noted that high school students going through the same situation as a student in elementary school do not need as much oversight because an older student has become more self-sufficient since their elementary years. Under these expectations, one could understand why more nurses at elementary schools are needed when compared to high school students. Think about a 4th grader who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The constant blood sugar monitoring is all new to the student and additional attention is required by a nurse, but by the time that student is in high school, they will likely be able to handle their medical matters on their own.
School Supt. Dr. Eric Conti disclosed the cost of the additional nurse for the second half of this year will be $40,000. If the nurse is needed for the September 2020 school year, then the same full-time nurse would be a budget hit of $80,000.
“We need this position and we will approve it as part of this year’s operating budget,” proclaimed Dr. Conti. “We tried to make it through the year, but we were not getting the coverage we needed. The nursing situation at our elementary schools has put us in a difficult place.”
School Committee member Christine Monaco stressed the importance and need for this nurse position.
“The need for this particular nurse is truly a safety issue, so we do not have a choice,” declared Monaco.
The committee unanimously approved the full-time nurse position.