Guidance published by the Royal College of Nursing for school nurses, as some pupils return to class this week, gives them a ‘hierarchy of measures’ to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The guidance – developed by the RCN, the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association the Institute for Health Visiting, and the School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA), and published yesterday – included details on ensuring that unwell pupils were kept away from school.
It also provided advice to parents about isolating if they or their child have Covid-19 symptoms and encouraged pupils and teachers to wash their hands frequently.
Fiona Smith, RCN 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.’
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.
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.
Director of policy and quality at the Institute for Health Visiting Alison Morton said: ‘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.’
Last week, the Queen’s Nursing Institute, commissioned by NHS England, published new voluntary standards for nurses going into general practice.
It has also published guidance for general practice nurses taking on additional community work or roles at short notice during the coronavirus pandemic.