EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The transition back to in-person learning is proving challenging to students, parents and school districts with all three entities relying on the help and expertise of school nurses.

KTSM 9 News spoke with Alana Bejarano, EPISD Director of Health Services, to learn about how school nurses across El Paso (and the country) are on the frontlines to protect students, school faculty and staff and the community from exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in schools.

The nurses throughout the school districts are confronting complex situations with students in addition to overseeing health measures related to the pandemic that is taking a team effort to achieve.

“We work well with our teachers and staff. We’re doing rapid testing, which we weren’t familiar with, we’re doing contract tracing — there’s so many things that we’re new at, but all the nurses become very proficient, and I’m very proud of the EPISD nurses,” Bejarano said.

The efforts are designed to help ensure that in-person instruction is facilitated as seamlessly as possible to promote learning retention in students. EPISD’s school nurses received robust staff development that includes COVID-19 training, PPE instruction and in services.

“It’s really important that they’re in the classroom. I know that virtual helped out for a time, but if nurses can keep them healthy in the classroom, and we attend to their needs and do contract tracing, following protocols,” said Bejarano. “Keeping them in the classroom is the best way to keep them engaged.”

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