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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 17, 2020 08:43 AM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: School Nursing Services During COVID
The pandemic and the question of providing safe and healthy school environments for those in school is dependent on the presence of a Certified School Nurse (CSN).  Pennsylvania law provides the services of a school nurse in public, religious and private schools.  However, the current ratio of 1 nurse:1500 students simply does not provide the level of nursing services needed during the current COVID crisis. Many public and non-public school buildings are without nursing services in the building on a daily basis.  
The Pennsylvania Department of Health, in its August 15th  COVID "School Health Resources for School Nurses" makes clear the importance of the school nurse in the reopening of schools on an in-person or hybrid basis.   In order to allow our schools to open and preserve the health of students, teachers and staff,  this bill calls for $38 million in COVID funds to be used to pay for nurses in every building with over 100 students, public or non-public, through the 2020-2021 school year.  Such funds can also cover the costs of a CSN overseeing a quarantine room in the school, currently not reimbursable. During this crisis, I have learned that nearly half of the religious and private schools have hired nurses, both RNs and LPNs.   We  estimate this figure will assist in covering the additional schools in need of nurses for the 2020-2021 school year. 
In order to assist smaller schools and increase the availability and impact of the medical advice of the CSN, my bill will also amend the current school code to require, when it is medically appropriate to do so, that school nurse services may be provided by means of a virtual or remote connection, by which the student and the CSN nurse may both see and hear one another.  

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation. 

Introduced as SB1332