After months of intense meetings reviewing COVID-19 research, Head of School Kristi Brannen, along with other administration, chose to designate the school’s first official nurses, Kim Smith and Sandi Grizzard, to oversee the health of all students and staff. Four days a week, the nurses tend to minor illnesses and injuries as well as contacting parents to coordinate care. Their clinic is located in the former art storage room next to the original middle school stairwell. Even though the nurse’s main priority is to treat for non-COVID-19 related medical issues, they still evaluate students and staff for COVID-19 symptoms.
As the first line of defense, if a highschool student isn’t feeling well, he/she sees Mrs. Barker and Mrs. Singer, depending on their session. They evaluate the student’s medical needs and determine if he/ she needs attention from the nurses. Lower grades report directly to Nurses Smith and Grizzard.
“A big part of our day includes monitoring, caring and treating students with injuries, chronic health conditions and sicknesses,” said Smith. The nurses tend to around 10 to 15 students per day and care for mostly headaches and minor injuries.
Smith and Grizzard maintain all of the students’ health care and immunization records. They also administer scheduled medications to students with the parent’s permission.
“I'm amazed at how well the front office, teachers and assistants have cared for the children before having nurses,” said Grizzard. “Having nurses available to care for students allows teachers and assistants to focus on teaching.”
As a precaution, the nurses wear protective equipment and disinfect their clinic while working with students. They also attend the Task Force meetings to keep up with COVID-19 cases and protocols. As another addition to the school, the administration invited several staff members to be a part of the school’s new Task Force. The team includes Mrs. Tina Barker, Mrs. Kim Singer, Mrs. Sandra Braeden, Mrs. Lynn Sanders, Mrs. Michelle Rutledge, Mrs. Anna Patterson, Mr. Chris Camp and Mr. Garrett Watkins. They gather research from original sources, such as Governor Kemp’s executive orders and guidelines established by the Department of Health and Georgia Department of Education. Through virtual meetings, members decide on important policies to ensure the safety of students and staff during in-person learning.
The Task Force creates new school procedures such as cleaning protocols, class layouts and temperature checks. To gain more insight, Mrs. Sanders participated in a webinar panel discussion for private schools worldwide to learn how other schools were handling the pandemic.
“Mrs. Singer and I [looked into] how [the pandemic] was affecting the mental health of students and how we can really engage with them even if we were virtual,” said Health Care Coordinator Mrs. Barker. “We needed to make sure we were connecting because that’s how God made us.”
The Task Force created an email, healthreport@ thekingsacademy.org, specifically for COVID-19 related matters. When the team receives emails regarding COVID cases, they walk parents through the process of determining if and how long the student needs to quarantine. More detailed information regarding the school’s COVID-19 response can be found on Renweb under Resource Documents.