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School clinics modified to combat COVID-19

Posted at 6:48 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 19:00:42-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — The Health Care District of Palm Beach County, the Health Department of Palm Beach County, and the school district are once again joining forces to help keep students safe in school.

School nurses are back on campus this year, but the Coronavirus is bringing a host of new challenges.

"This is how you enter the clinic and the back of the door is behind me," said Sherrie Mahan, the registered nurse at Marsh Pointe Elementary School in Palm Beach Gardens.

Mahan provided WPTV a virtual tour of the health room and clinic at her school. It has been modified into a triage area this year to help school nurses focus on students suspected of having COVID-19, and to help infection control and social distancing.

"We keep students in a separate area that may present with an injury or need their daily medication, so that's different for us this year," Mahan said.

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Mahan now wears full personal protective equipment and she is beginning her fourth school year, which has been unlike any other.

"The difference this year is that we're limited in how many people we can house in the clinic, so we have to have markings on the floor six feet apart," Mahan said.

More than 200 nurses from the Health Care District of Palm Beach County put the finishing touches on their health rooms last week inside 170 schools in the district.

"It's not if, it's we're expecting that at some point there will be a COVID positive," Mahan said.

The nurses will screen the student and determine if testing is needed. Health rooms will be sanitized between each visit, and the nurses are also receiving real-time clinical support.

"The Health Care District has an incident command center, which is managed by medical providers and medical doctors and they can guide us," Mahan said.

The challenges may have grown this year, but the goal of keeping students safe and healthy remains the same.