SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Chicopee school district is bringing in additional nurses for this school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a medical situation,” said Alvin Morton, assistant superintendent for student support services. “I feel like we needed more medical experts and more medical personnel within the building to assist with the situation.”

School nurses will play a pivotal role in keeping students and teachers safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chicopee school district is set to start their school year on Sept. 15 and will be bringing students back through a phased-in approach.

To help with reopening, the district hired additional school nurses to help monitor the health of all.

“We’re hiring two additional nurses to fill our nurse's core which will put us at about 25 nurses in the district, including our nursing supervisor,” Morton said.

Morton said the district also hired 10 certified nursing assistants.

Morton said bringing in additional nurses was especially important for the elementary schools.

“Our secondary schools, our middle schools and our high schools have two nurses per building so we wanted additional support in our elementary school and our early childhood center and preschool,” he said.

That means each elementary school will have a nurse and a nursing assistant to see children. Nurses will also be conducting contact tracing to ensure the safety of all students and staff.

“If they have come in contact with COVID or if we have a positive case or some type of exposure whatever, maybe we have to make sure we know who they’ve been in contact with if they come into our building,” he said.

Also, he said the district is supplied with at least four to five months of personal protection equipment.

“We have like 30,000 student masks,” he said. “We have 150,000 adults masks, we have individual hand sanitizer, individual pumps and we have gloves.”

Morton said the district will continue to order PPE as the school year continues, but there is a concern for access.

“That's probably a concern for a lot of the districts in the Commonwealth,” he said. “We’re working with dese to ensure we have all the PPE, but also working with other vendors we have.”

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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