Florida nurses group warns of school nurse shortages as lawmakers push for in-person learning

Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As more kids return to the classroom this week, more lawmakers on Capitol Hill are advocating for in-person learning. But school nurses say they are concerned there aren’t enough medical professionals in the schools.

Florida Nurses Association Executive Director Willa Fuller warned that in-person learning is making kids “basically, be an experiment.” Fuller said health professionals should be monitoring and advising students and teachers.

“School nurses have been integral in designing the ways in which people go back to school,” she added.

But, she said, there’s a shortage of school nurses in her state.

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he certainly doesn’t want kids and teachers to get sick, saying, “nobody wants that and we have to do everything possible to protect them.”

“As soon as they open the school doors, my kids will go to school,” he noted.

Rubio said not going back to the classroom causes its own problems,

“I imagine that online learning is better than nothing, but it most certainly is not equivalent to in-person in classroom instruction,” he said.

Rubio’s fellow Florida Republican, Sen. Rick Scott, said, “we all want to make sure that parents have a choice.”

Scott said every student should have the option of in-person learning this fall.

“The big thing is everything has gotta be done in a safe manner,” he said.

Other lawmakers said many schools have already returned to in-person learning safely.

“The positive cases are .08,” Georgia Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) said.

The Georgia congressman said the schools in his district should be an example to the rest of the nation on the right way to do back to school.

“The students are so happy to be back in school,” he added.

But Fuller wants teachers, families and students to stay vigilant.

“This virus is still with us and I don’t think we can behave like it’s not,” Fuller added.

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