Wellesley Public Schools’ Director of Nursing Services Linda Corridan is getting set to retire, going out with a bang after managing the schools’ COVID-19 and other healthcare management efforts these past 2 years.
She recapped during this past week’s School Committee meeting her team’s tremendous efforts over the past 2 school years, with plenty of compliments shared for the Board of Health and others in town that helped throughout the process. You can catch her entire presentation beginning at about the hour-and-a-half mark in the Wellesley Media recording.
But we’ll share her parting recommendations for the School Department and School Committee, since it seems as though she just might have learned a few things during the pandemic and over 22 years as a school nurse.
State guidelines, such as for social distancing, will likely be quite loosened for the start of of the next school year. But some things that worked well during the pandemic deserve to stay, Corridan stressed.
This includes hand washing. “Don’t lose that practice. Keep up those hand sanitizer stations. Keep up that hand washing. Everyone washed their hands this year and it worked well.”
Fresh air, obvious in hindsight, also worked wonders. “The fresh air and being outside was just awesome. From my office I look out over Kingsbury Street and I saw middle school students sitting outside having lunch. And I saw students outside going for a walk around the block for a mask break. In years past, our students in the middle school and high school rarely got outside during the school day unless they were outside for PE class… I can tell you, after getting outside, getting some fresh air, just changing the scenery, they were back in class and ready to learn.”
When people were sick this past year, they stayed home, adhering to school messaging about doing so if they had any symptoms. Corridan acknowledges she hasn’t always been one to do this, and knows many others have sucked it up and gone to work sick in the past, such as teachers afraid to miss this or that lesson, or not wanting to deal with getting a sub. “Parents really were awesome about keeping sick kids home,” she said.
Finally, Corridan noted that the weeks before February and April vacations are usually a “nursing nightmare” full of sickly school community members desperately in need of a break. This time around, the school was relatively healthy, indicating that what the schools and families were doing worked.