Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Lakeside School District adding extra staff for student health

Education

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – From contact tracers to mask mandates, school districts are taking extra steps to keep students healthy and in the classroom this year. Lakeside School district is taking its measures a step further.

From the high school to the elementary, student after student walks into the nurse’s office to check their blood pressure or grab an ice pack.

“It’s pretty much a revolving door,” High School Nurse Kelly Orr said.

Orr said the pandemic has only increased their responsibility. That’s why the district decided to add to their staff.

“We have a total, including myself, six nurses which is very fortunate,” Orr said.

All of them are registered nurses and their experience goes well beyond the hallways.

“We have an ICU nurse in the COVID ward at CHI St. Vincent so she has brought a ton of information to us,” Orr said.

From one ICU nurse to another, Michelle McDonnell transitioned from the hospital to Lakeside Primary School.

“I am a pediatric nurse practitioner. I am board certified in both acute care and primary care. I’ve spent the last 25 years at Arkansas Children’s Hospital as a nurse in the pediatric ICU and then as a nurse practitioner in the cardiac ICU,” McDonnell said.

Along with their regular patients, they also monitor each student that walks through the door for possible COVID-19 symptoms.

“Just kind of try and feel out how the kid is feeling. Fever is certainly a big symptom that we look for,” McDonnell said.

It’s their way of working to keep all students healthy and in the classroom.

Orr is the primary COVID point of contact, but all nurses monitor symptoms of students and talk with parents about the COVID protocols.

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