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I’m a school nurse in NYC. Here’s what worries me as winter approaches.

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Original first person article written by Anna MacEwan for Chalkbeat

Anna MacEwan is a nurse practitioner (NP) who runs a School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at a K-12 campus in downtown Brooklyn. NP MacEwan voices her concern of rising cases in the winter months. Since school buildings reopened in the fall, NP MacEwan has been focusing on ensuring the safest possible operations in her SBHC while also grappling with her frustrations at the city's chaotic planning. In particular, the reopening of health centers has gone particularly slow. Public health measures such as testing and monitoring have been manageable, thanks in part to the low attendance numbers, since a majority of NP MacEwan's students learn from home most days. "There are so few students in the building — from 150 to 280 each day, out of a school population of 1,300 — that I don’t have the chance to offer wellness care on scale with a typical school year," MacEwan writes, "Sure, we’re keeping up with flu shots and other vaccines, but our numbers are down. As much as I’m concerned that our services are reaching fewer students, I believe that a quieter, emptier building is safer during the pandemic." With the city continuing to change their plans, NP MacEwan is concerned that bringing more students back following the holidays is in bad timing with predictions of cases rising.

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