New Canaan Coronavirus Updates: Local School Nurses Pitch In

Alfred Branch

This article originally appeared on the New Canaan Patch

From New Canaan Public Schools: NEW CANAAN, CT — The New Canaan Public Schools Nurses normally oversee the heath needs of all the young children and teenagers throughout the district's K-12 community.

Lately, however, during the virus outbreak, the NCPS Nurses team has been joining the efforts of
the Town of New Canaan's Heath Department, and earlier this week began making phone calls to
all the elderly on the Social Services roster to check on their needs.

"We've made nearly one hundred phone calls thus far," said District Nursing Supervisor Janet
Reed. "It's been quite a switch, from pediatrics to the elderly."

Nurse Sara Paine from Saxe Middle School took the lead role and gathered several lists of vulnerable residents, organizing the information on a shared spreadsheet. The nurses then
divided the list and started making calls.

“Making assessments about safety and wellness are part of our skills,” said Nurse Reed. “A good
nurse is part detective, and we gather information about their connections, supply of medication
and food, and their feelings of safety and security. We want to be sure everyone has what they
need and knows how to reach out for help. Some just need to know there is someone to connect
with. This can be a lonely, frightening time for seniors who are alone.”

The Nurses’ collaborative work with the Health Department is just starting. Starting yesterday, the results from the Covid-19 drive through testing became available from the State. The nurses are helping Health Director Jen Eilson make calls and conduct health interviews about the results.

“Of course, our nursing experience and interpersonal skills when someone is ill are key,” she
said. “We will be utilizing documentation from the State. For both volunteer opportunities, it
helped that we are already BOE vetted employees with current credentials.”

Besides Nurse Reed, the NCPS Nursing staff consists of Josephina Bell, West School; Elizabeth
Buckner, East School; Kathy Bishop, South School; Sara Paine, Saxe Middle School, Upper Division; Joelle Graham, Saxe Middle School, Lower Division; Josephine Davies and Elizabeth Imbrogno, New Canaan High School; and Juli Sellers, Launch Nurse.

Nurse Reed stays in constant communication with all NCPS parents, and earlier this week sent a
letter (click here) to the district community and staff with heath updates. These included a reminder that local and State Health Departments are asking all to assume they have likely all been exposed to Covid-19 and to act accordingly. Shelter in our homes, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently.

"We are all stepping up during this pandemic," she said. "As a community, we can slow the spread of the disease, but only if we all work together. And together, we will get through this."

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