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School nurses follow new guidelines for students with COVID-19 symptoms

The nurse's office at Tennyson Middle School is set up with different stations to separate students who are well and those who may have symptoms related to Covid-19.

WACO, Texas — Now that students have returned to school, nurses must follow new guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

At any Waco ISD school, if students have to go to the nurse's office they'll notice different stations. 

The nurse's office at Tennyson Middle School is now set up with different stations to separate students who are well and those who may have symptoms related to Covid-19. 

Rhiannon Settles, the director of health services with Waco ISD said every school has a different set up and they've even installed Dutch doors at several of them to try to avoid exposure. 

"Any student that's showing symptoms of Covid-9 will immediately go into an isolation area until the nurse can determine what's going on," Settles said. 

The isolation areas are set up inside the library at the middle school, while students who have unrelated health issues must wait at a station outside. 

"We're constantly assessing the student and deciding, where have you been and what have you been doing, and what can we do to make you feel better," Rebecca Blankenstein said, a licensed vocational nurse at Tennyson Middle School. 

Blankenstein sets a timer for 15 minutes every time she sees a student who's symptomatic to minimize the risk of contracting the virus. 

If a student must be sent home, parents are contacted and the student must be picked up within an hour. 

"They will be sent home until we can prove that they don't have Covid with a negative test or an alternate diagnosis, or if they are positive or presumed positive, they'll be out of school for a minimum of 10 days," Settles said. 

Blankenstein has been taking care of students for more than 10 years, so she wants parents to know they're kids are in good hands. 

"We are making sure we're here for them so should they have any concerns, don't worry, we're here," Blankenstein said. 

Waco ISD Health Protocol, click here.

Temple ISD Safe Return to School Plan, click here.  

Killeen ISD Public Health Guide, click here.

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Need help logging your kids into class? Find school district support information here.

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