School nurse, guidance counselor share how roles changed in schools during pandemic

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 7:22 AM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - For the last few years, schools have looked different for students and teachers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about those also in education who’ve remained on the front lines of health in schools?

A school nurse and counselor sat down with WDBJ7 to explain how much their roles have shifted in the past few years, and what’s next as kids head back to school.

Jordan Lawson is a school nurse and Kristin Mosby is a guidance counselor. The Radford City Public Schools superintendent says their roles have become more vital than ever.

“I think their role has just tripled, if not quadrupled, as far as the number of responsibilities they have. The mental health issues that we have had, particularly for our counselors and school nurses-- they deal a ton with that,” said Superintendent Robert Graham.

As they get ready to go back to a ‘somewhat normal’ school year, they want to open people’s eyes to see how their jobs have shifted.

“I mean, on top of COVID, and contact tracing and all those weeks, we still see a bunch of all the other things that parents don’t realize,” said Lawson, a school nurse at Dalton Intermediate and Radford High School.

“We’ve seen a lot of trauma in families and students and our role has changed to really working with the families very closely. Mental health has changed a lot and we see more of it,” said Mosby, a guidance counselor at Radford City Public Schools.

Mosby and Lawson agree families are more open to talking about how students’ health and mental health has been impacted by the pandemic, but there’s still work to be done.

“For me, it’s kind of sad that it took COVID to hit for parents to kind of really realize that ensuring the health and well-being of the whole school is just as important,” said Mosby.

This school year, a goal is to continue working with parents, families, and students closely.

“We want to kind of find out what everyone’s looking for and work with them, because the world has changed so much,” said Mosby.

“If you have questions or concerns, always reach out---you know, if you’re not comfortable reaching out to the administration, you know, they’ve got the counselors, they got the nurses, they got numerous teachers, anything to help support them at home is another goal of us in Radford City,” said Lawson.

They say parents and families can support them by getting more involved, so together they can be a village to help with their child as the new school year begins.

“Take one class at a time is the big thing. I mean, it’s it is very overwhelming the last two years and then you know we’re trying to get back to that normalcy. But I think one class at a time for those that are super anxious-- is going to be key,” said Lawson.

“We’re in this together. We’re all feeling it. We want everyone to feel comfortable and know that we’re there for them. We’re have fun. There are lots of fun things ready for them and we’re just really looking forward to brand new year,” said Mosby.

Radford City Public Schools is looking for more school nurses and other positions, as the first day of school approaches.

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