Teachers group urging governor to add funding for more school nurses amid COVID-19 pandemic

ATLANTA — Dozens of metro Atlanta schools are sharing nurses at a time when students need a nurse on hand more than ever.

That’s why the Georgia Federation of Teachers is asking Gov. Brian Kemp for more money to hire school nurses.

“We are hopeful that during this budget, that he will look at it,” said Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers.

Turner told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that, in recent years, Kemp restored money cut by some of his predecessors specifically to hire school nurses. As thousands of kids in metro Atlanta are heading back into schools, more funding is needed to have a nurse in every building, she explained.

“Especially children of lower socio-economic backgrounds, because they come with special needs,” Turner said. “Many of them don’t come with health care. But even if we’re looking at affluent children, they get sick at school, they have fevers.”

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, reported that the president has a plan to bring all kids back to schools nationwide, and in a manner that is safe for students and teachers.

“He really wants to, and believes, that the schools need to reopen in the next 100 days,” Fauci said. “Essentially, all the K-8 schools within 100 days.”

With the pandemic, Turner said one single nurse should not be responsible for taking care of students in multiple schools.

“It takes teachers from the rest of the class and instruction. Also, it’s a disservice to the child. Many children still come to school sick and there’s no clinic or anyone to take care of them,” Turner said.

Fernandes checked in with several school districts Friday.

Atlanta Public Schools said they need more nurses. Fulton County Schools said each of their nurses is responsible for approximately nine campuses. Cobb County said they have a nurse at almost every school.