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MCPS school nurse discusses COVID-19 situation

Posted at 11:10 AM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 13:10:49-04

MISSOULA — Throughout the summer and into the school year, we’ve brought you stories from teachers and school officials about what it’s like to work in public education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We talked with a school nurse this week to get the perspective of someone handling both public education and public health right now.

Lisa Flanagan, RN case manager for Missoula County Public Schools, says that surprisingly, COVID-19 hasn’t altered her workload as much as you might think.

Flanagan says that with all of the planning and protocol they’ve implemented, school is going smoothly for her team.

About 20% of the MCPS student population is learning remotely right now which means the number of students Flanagan sees on a daily basis has gone down significantly.

When she meets with a student, she’s most likely screening them for COVID-19, but she only has to see about five-to-10 students per day, making it very manageable.

Flanagan says there are a number of reasons the year is off to a good start.

"We worked up during the summer to put protocols in place. And those have been really helpful. And I think parents have been on top of it, kids are great with our masks," she told MTN News.

"And so, and then having that reduced capacity in this hybrid model, means that actually my day has not changed all that much," Flanagan added.

Flu season is right around the corner, and symptoms for the flu similar to those of COVID-19, so Flanagan says they’ll have no choice but to err on the side of caution, and send students home more often than not.