RCN publishes guidance for school nurses returning to the classroom this week

It provides guidance over the methods of infection control that are available. School nurses have been provided with updated guidance […]

James McKay
3 June 2020

It provides guidance over the methods of infection control that are available.

School nurses have been provided with updated guidance to help them protect themselves, pupils and teachers from COVID-19 as more children start returning to school.

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Four professional nursing organisations have teamed up to make sure that nurses have information about the methods of infection control that are available to them and the correct order in which to deploy them to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This includes ensuring that pupils who are unwell are kept away from school and providing advice to parents about isolating if they or their child have COVID-19 symptoms. Nurses will also be encouraging pupils and teachers to wash their hands frequently and to cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it into the bin, as well as helping with social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

The guidance has been developed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, the Institute for Health Visiting and the School and Public Health Nurses Association, in line with guidelines set out by Public Health England.

Many of the almost 4,000 registered school nurses continued to work remotely while schools have been closed, carrying out consultations by phone, video call or text chat.

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Their usual duties include, among other things, carrying out health assessments on pupils and supporting mental health and wellbeing, with children, their families and the wider community.

Fiona Smith, the Royal College of Nursing’s Professional Lead for Children and Young People’s Nursing, said; “Social distancing and good hand hygiene are the most effective methods of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Nurses must feel safe and confident in supporting pupils and teachers.”

Alison Morton, Director of Policy and Quality at the Institute for Health Visiting, added; “School nurses, alongside health visitors, are an essential part of the country’s support structure for children and their parents during this public health pandemic.

“This welcomed guidance supports safe and effective service delivery at a time when families and services are facing considerable challenges.”

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