On behalf of the elementary, middle, and high school students in 2,190 public schools across the state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses, we ask that any proposal crafted in the upcoming weeks to help re-open the economy and the schools in Wisconsin include an expansion of school nurses. We ask that you fund a school nurse for every school in the state of Wisconsin as nurses are a part of the critical discussion on how this state re-opens its schools in the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although there are 2,190 public schools in Wisconsin, there are only 603 school nurse positions reported to the state. Not all of those nurses are full time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least one school nurse in every school. The National Association of School Nurses asserts that every student needs direct access to a school nurse.
School re-entry is crucial for parents and guardians to go back to work. Having children as home and out of the classroom has caused undue economic and mental stress for families. Adding school nurses to schools across the state provides a key solution to help parents and the economy reopen. For school to address the ongoing pandemic, schools nurses need to be in place when schools reopen and are central to the discussions of what the 2020-2021 school year will look like.
When schools reopen it is imperative that school nurses - frontline healthcare providers - are present so that students can be healthy and safe at school, especially due to the presence of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season. School nurses provide essential infectious disease surveillance, identification and intevention for student physical and mental health concerns, health screenings, school located vaccinations, and immunization compliance efforts. We know that keeping students in school will have tremendous implications for the economy, workforce, and families.
As you consider efforts needed to further reopen the economy, please consider school nurses as a key part of enabling parents to return to work and students to be safe at school. Thank you for your consideration to address the health, safety, and readiness of our state's children by increasing school nurse positions across the state.