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School nurses partner with county employees on the frontline

Henrico County Public Schools may be closed, but the nurses who work in them are still on the job. They’ve become frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I couldn’t see not helping in any way that I could,” explained Amy Roessner.

Her position as the school nurse at Highland Springs Elementary has now transitioned into a role at the school’s food distribution site. Roessner takes the temperatures of the cafeteria employees before they enter the school to start preparing hundreds of meals. She also helps hand out those meals to the students’ families who need them.

“Seeing the kids is awesome. I just think everybody wants to do their part and help,” she added.

School Health Supervisor Robin Gilbert explained there are more than 80 nurses who are partnered with the county to help during this challenging time.

“Our nurses are absolutely awesome. They continue to stay on that frontline to ensure our employees and residents are safe,” said Gilbert.

Some of them are working at the county’s Emergency Communications Center. Paired with a Henrico County Division of Fire paramedic, the nurses perform triage on non-life-threatening phone calls for help. They determine the severity of the caller’s symptoms which helps first responders decide how best to respond based on the level of risk presented.

School nurses also are answering calls at the Henrico Health Department call center, working in employee health and even sewing cloth masks. 

Roessner said it’s a gratifying experience.

“I feel like I should be doing something as a nurse, so this is a good thing. Wherever they need me to help, I’m helping.”

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