The Natchez-Adams School District hosted a regional healthcare collaborative to discuss issues and concerns regarding school re-opening in the fall. Local pediatricians Dr. David Timms and Dr. Danita Weary, along with representatives from Alcorn State University School of Nursing, and Jefferson Comprehensive Clinic, provided valuable information to superintendents and education leaders from across the region regarding the transmission of the coronavirus and its impact on children.
“The overarching goal of the collaboration was to gain professional medical insight into the proactive health and safety measures that we must take to ensure that we are protecting students and staff. We must do our part as an educational entity to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said NASD Accountability and Assessment Coordinator Aquetta Butler.
In addition to Dr. Timms and Dr. Weary stressing the importance of protecting the staff, the NASD school nurses presented a Staff and Student Triage Plan that will be implemented at each school. Staff members will be required to complete stage 1 screenings to self-identify any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or other illnesses. Upon arriving at school each morning, students and staff will be screened for possible symptoms of COVID-19. Health professionals will conduct temporal temperature-checks and screenings. The screenings will be done to determine whether a student or staff has possible symptoms that are a concern and need further guidance from a medical provider.
Participants included superintendents and leaders from ACCS, AJFC, Cathedral, Claiborne County School District, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Concordia Parish School District, Holy Family, Jefferson County School District, and Wilkinson County School District. Also, giving perspective to the collaborative were Ida Anderson with the Adams County Health Department and Jessica Dean, mental health counselor.
“Educators across the country are grappling with how to re-open schools safely and effectively. The health and safety of our students and staff remain our highest priority. As we continue our efforts in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, there must be continuity in following the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State Department of Health”, said Deputy Superintendent Zandra McDonald.
NASD administrative teams also participated in an MDE hosted a webinar with Dr. Thomas Dobbs, MDH State Health Officer. Dr. Dobbs reiterated the fact that the protection of students and staff is integral to reducing the spread of coronavirus and encouraged school districts to implement triage stations. This supported the plan that Natchez Adams School nurses presented at the collaborative. Triaging staff and students is another added layer of proactive protection.The District will continue to work with local health officials to refine its reopening plan. We want to protect everyone and hopefully relieve any anxieties of parents and stakeholders.