Full-time nurses now recommended at every school

If your child gets sick or is injured at school, you want to know they’ll get the care they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now calling for a full-time nurse in every school, but numbers show some Kentucky schools fall short.

With Type 1 diabetes, checking his blood sugar is routine for Kyzer Phillips.

His mother, Jessica Phillips, says a school nurse has to check on him multiple times a day. "When you send a child with special needs and special medical needs to school it can be scary," she said.

"She has to make really quick decisions sometimes, and so I’m thankful there’s an RN at the school," the mother said.

Marshall County School District nurse Becky Waggoner says within the last year, the district has designated nurses for each school because of students like Kyzer.

"It seems like there’s more and more chronic health conditions in children, conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, allergies," Waggoner said.

That’s one of the reasons nurses are recommended at every school in the country, but some Kentucky schools fall short.

Research from Kentucky’s Bellarmine University shows 42 percent of high schools in the state have a full-time nurse, 37 percent have a part-time nurse and 20 percent don’t have one at all. 

Crittenden County Schools Superintendent Vince Clark says two school nurses and clerical assistant serve the county’s three schools. 

"It’s something that our board is committed to, but we have to find the funding to make it happen," Clark said.

Clark says funding is something Kentucky schools struggle with in order to keep kids like Kyzer safe.

The new recommendation replaces a previous suggestion that districts have one nurse for every 750 students, and one for every 225 students who have special medical needs. 

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