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ODE has released guidance for school re-entry in the fall: What is the school nurse’s role moving forward?

By Wendy Niskanen posted 29 days ago


After working with partners, including school nurses, ODE has generated guidance which will facilitate schools’ planning for re-entry in the fall.

The ODE press  release states that “Ready Schools, Safe Learners, provides schools flexibility to develop a local blueprint for safely starting school next year. This guidance is designed to be responsive to ongoing educator and community input and will be updated in the months ahead.”

The main webpage for Ready Schools, Safe Learners holds a great deal of information, so we wanted to take an opportunity to talk you through the tools and planning process.

We recognize several strategies to empower school nurses to be part of this planning process:

    • Next week we intend to hold initial discussion sessions on this guidance.
      • Several members are working on tools (so nurses do not all have to reinvent the wheel) and specific guidance (to expand nurses’ expertise) which will be shared on this website. If you have strength building such tools, please reach out to us to support this effort (, ).
      • OEA has been incredibly supportive in our efforts to participate in this process… they were instrumental in making our voices heard.. They have said that they will support nurses in their districts if they have specific areas around which you need support. You can find your local OEA union office which will connect you to the union leadership in your district .

      The Blueprint

      Near the center of the webpage is a list of resources for School Leaders. The top option in that list is a link to the Operational Blueprint Template. This downloadable word document is a template which will facilitate schools’ design of their re-entry plans. It outlines ODE/OHA guidelines for the first 3 (of what will eventually be 8) sections: Public Health Protocols, Facilities and Operations, and Response to Outbreak.

      Each school must submit a plan to the local School Board and make it available to the public. ODE recommends “plan development be inclusive of, but not limited to school-based administrators, teachers and school staff, health and nursing staff, association leadership, nutrition services, transportation services, tribal consultation, parents and others for purposes of providing expertise, developing broad understanding of the health protocols and carrying out plan implementation.” Schools initially must choose the instructional model they intend to use: on-site learning, a hybrid on-site/distance learning, or comprehensive distance learning. If schools are choosing to have students in buildings for any part of their instruction, their plan must outline how they will meet “essential requirements,”  operationalizing ODE/OHA guidelines.

      We are thrilled to report to you that OSNA leadership has been included in meetings with OHA, OEA, the School Nurse Advisory Group, and the Governor's office to share our concerns and solutions, and we can see our suggestions in some of the language in this document! Though it still needs refinement, we are confident that our voices will be heard as OHA/ODE and the Governor amend it throughout the summer.

      Beyond the Blueprint, the Ready Schools, Safe Learners webpage offers several other resources.

      • Sample Plans which offer possible language for each section of the blueprint.
      • A Communication Tool Kit provides letter templates and slides.
      • FAQ documents address several critical topics and will support school nursing knowledge heading into planning conversations.

      Please don’t forget to go back to the top of this article and Register for a discussion session!