Nurse in Every School Building
As your constituent and someone who is concerned with the health and safety of students in our public schools, I urge you to support S.4782 (Jackson)/A.666 (Cahill). The passage of this legislation will ensure that all public school districts and boards of cooperative educational services employ at least one registered professional nurse in each school building.
Under existing law, school districts in New York State are not required to hire a school nurse for each school building ― they are merely required to hire one school nurse per school district. As a result, data released by the New York State Education Department indicates that nurse-to-student ratios in most districts is one nurse for every several hundred students.
School-based nurses serve as front-line health care staff for our students, including those who require professional school nursing services or interventions, student populations with complex health care needs or comorbidities and students who require daily and continuous professional nursing services. Over the past two decades there have been significant increases in the number of students in our schools with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, life-threatening allergies, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and other chronic conditions that require the services of a school nurse. Additionally, school nurses are often responsible for the development of health education curricula for students.
With increased concerns regarding COVID-19 in our public schools, the school nurse is solely responsible for monitoring students for symptoms and providing emergency care. In addition to the particular needs of each student, the pandemic has added additional challenges for school nurses in terms their ability to oversee the health needs of a vast number of students. In many districts throughout our state, the school nurse is the only health care professional some students see.
The presence of a professional registered school-based nurse in each school building is paramount to the health and academic success of students as well as the safety of school staff.
Therefore, I urge you to support this legislation and work with your leadership and your conference to provide for at least one professional registered school nurse in every school building.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to a reply to my e-mail.
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