Local school nurses face increased workload and parent backlash during pandemic

By Brianna Hatch

School nurses nationwide are facing anger from parents for enforcing pandemic-related policies, causing many to quit.  

Nurses in both Rockbridge County and Lexington City public schools have adopted the responsibilities of testing, contact-tracing, quarantining and vaccinating. They are also in charge of developing up-to-date school policies that can actually be implemented in the classroom.  

Nurses in Lexington City schools said parents have been “wonderful” in following guidelines. 

But Penni Allen, nurse at Maury River Middle School and designated leader for pandemic prevention in all Rockbridge County schools, said she has faced backlash from parents after quarantining their children. Some students have been quarantined multiple times.  

Increasing vaccination rates among students and staff is easing concern, since fully vaccinated students do not need to quarantine even if exposed to COVID-19. Allen said Rockbridge County is also starting to offer a weekly voluntary testing service for all staff as another protective layer.