Road to school reopenings filled with anxiety, concerns
If Worcester Public Schools brings students back into buildings in any capacity during the upcoming academic year, registered nurse Tami Hale would be among the first people responsible for responding to the threat of a potential COVID-19 case.
But Hale, a school nurse at Gates Lane Elementary School, said that no one in leadership has solicited her input on how to keep the building safe from the highly infectious virus, even as city officials plan to discuss a reopening plan Thursday night and vote on it as soon as next week.
Hale joined with several other school staff, educators and parents on a labor-backed virtual panel Thursday, where they aired concerns about the viability of returning to in-person K-12 instruction while the pandemic rages on and criticized district and state officials for how preparations have unfolded.
“If we don’t listen and involve the school nurses in this process, we are going to put lives at risk,” Hale said. “At this point, it feels very much like we have been left out of it. These are our buildings, our students. We are the experts in this, and no one’s asking.”