OSNA is committed to the smooth rollout of communicable disease mitigation efforts in Oregon schools.
To that end, we have provided this toolkit and offer technical assistance around these tools.
To request follow up on a question or concern, please complete this form.
Disclaimer: this toolkit is intended to provide resources for school nursing practice as it relates to the response and mitigation of COVID-19 in Oregon Schools. This is not medical or nurse practice advice, and is not prescriptive as it relates to individual students or individual nursing practice. These resources do not override individual assessment, and clinical judgment. Nurses are responsible for their own assessments and practice.
Disease Description Pertaining to School
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is responsible for the global pandemic that started in late 2019. Infections can range from asymptomatic to severe and life threatening, and can include respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurologic, and cutaneous symptoms.
Children generally recover from COVID-19 infections in less than a month's time. More information is emerging on lasting symptoms, or “long COVID." “Persistent symptoms can include fatigue, headache, sleep disturbance, muscle and joint pain, respiratory problems, palpitations, and altered sense of smell or taste.” (Deville, MD, J., Song, MD, E. and Ouellette, MD, C., 2022)
Experts continue to learn new information and increase the understanding of COVID-19 and the necessary management and response to it.
Basic Disease Information
Deville, MD, J., Song, MD, E. and Ouellette, MD, C., 2022. COVID-19: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis in children. [online] Uptodate.com.
Legal Practice Standards
At the forefront of nurse case management for school nurses is the understanding of scope of practice as it relates to case management, and delegation of nursing tasks in a community setting:
Evidence Based Practice
Note: the following are national or regional resources that serve as a reference; they may or may not be consistent with Oregon law and do not supersede Oregon Nurse Practice.
National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
2022-2023 COVID-19 Toolkit
OSNA COVID-19 Toolkit Summary
School-Level COVID-19 Management Plan- As Oregon emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic and returns to its traditional way of daily life, emphasizing local control and decision-making, the School-level COVID-19 Management Plan (COVID-19 Management Plan) builds upon lessons learned throughout the pandemic, including the lasting equity and mental health impacts of, and Oregon’s response to, COVID-19. The School-Level COVID-19 Management Plan is required of districts by ODE; this is OSNA’s example plan.
Tools and Resources
The following tools are modifiable for use by school nurses as it relates to their practice, and should always be implemented in alignment with Oregon State Board of Nursing delegation laws and local school policy.
- Airflow and Circulation (Ventilation)
- Ventilation is one component of mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the school setting. By increasing ventilation in buildings, less viral particles remain in the air, reducing the spread of illness. Increased ventilation can occur through use of HVAC systems, portable air cleaners with HEPA filters, and/or opening windows.
- Athletics and Other Activities
- School sports and athletic activities require unique considerations when COVID-19 or other diseases are circulating. School RNs, athletics trainers, and health staff can collaborate on key practices to reduce spread of disease and keep students in school and at play.
- Coming Soon - Band and Choir
- Centering Equity (Decision Making Documents)
- Schools play a major role in ensuring racial and social equity. All students should have equitable access to education and support during public health emergencies, with a specific focus on children living in under-resourced communities. Communicable disease planning should include objective, updated, and relevant data benchmarks to inform prescribed measures within the plan.
- Cleaning and Disinfection
- The virus that causes COVID-19 can land on surfaces. It’s possible for people to become infected if they then touch those surfaces and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces can reduce the risk of infection.
- Clinical Procedures in Schools
- This guidance is intended for school staff, particularly school nurses, who support students with complex needs. It provides considerations and recommendations for (1) specialized clinical procedures and supportive care; (2) procedures and care that may require close contact; and (3) aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) including oral/nasal/pharyngeal/tracheostomy suctioning and tracheostomy care, and nebulizers.
- Cohorting and tracking of cohorting is a strong public health strategy to limit the spread of illness. Examples: stable mealtime cohorts, classroom, table groups, and other group situations. Cohorts should be as small as feasible to minimize exposure.
- Communicable Disease Management Plan
- Communicable disease prevention is of paramount importance to decrease school absenteeism related to contagious illness, and to maintain the health of the school population.
- Communication Tools
- ODE has provided a communications toolkit to promote and encourage communication regarding COVID-19 (and other communicable diseases) to students, families, communities, and school staff. School staff should be familiar with FERPA laws regarding sharing student information during a public health emergency (see Oregon School Nurse Manual section 2D).
- COVID-19 Testing
- It is critical that K-12 schools implement safety measures to keep schools open and students and staff healthy and safe from COVID-19. One key measure is regular COVID-19 testing in schools. (CDC 3/22) OHA offers both diagnostic and screening testing programs to all public and private K-12 schools in Oregon.
- Face Coverings
- Practicing of and accessibility to hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Hand hygiene, which means cleaning your hands by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and prevent spreading germs to others.
- Individual School Planning for Students
- Coming Soon - Sample 504 plan/accommodations for Long COVID, IEP Considerations, Sample Long COVID-19 Individualized Health Plan, Sample MIS-C IHP and resources.
- Isolation Space
- The school district shall maintain a prevention oriented health services program (OAR 581-022-2220) for all students which provides: Health care and space that is appropriately supervised and adequately equipped for providing first aid, and isolates the sick or injured child from the student body. (ODE) In Oregon schools, providing adequate isolation spaces in schools following the requirements set forth by state rules continues to be a challenge. Oregon nurses practicing in the school setting have found resources to reducing the risk of communicable disease transmission.
- Mental Health
- Mental health is a vital component of student, staff, and community health and well-being. Support, education, and discussion on ways to increase mental health in our schools are found here.
- Physical Distancing
- Layered mitigation efforts help to reduce the spread of illness. Physical distancing is one layer that can reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Symptom Surveillance
- Symptom surveillance/monitoring is the practice of collecting symptom data and watching for trends of illness in specific populations. Symptom monitoring can be done at the baseline or preventative level and modified to collect additional information during times of increased illness or high transmission risk.
- Training and Public Health Information
- Training staff and informing parents and the greater school community accomplishes the objectives of enhancing health and safety and maintaining a dialogue, which further promotes psychological safety, a better informed and more engaged community, and goodwill between stakeholders.
- Teachers and school staff, volunteers, and contractors are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have provided documentation of a medical or religious exception to the school district before they are able to teach, work, learn, study, assist, observe, or volunteer at school. Students and staff should get vaccinated and boosted when they become eligible. Vaccination remains the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19 and reduces spread of the disease.
- Archived COVID-19 Toolkit 2021-2022
- Please email Wendy Niskanen at firstname.lastname@example.org for any archived tools from the COVID-19 Toolkit 2021-2022