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ESSEX — Essex Elementary School nurse Kristy Gorman and Golden Ring Middle School nurse Angela D’Alto recently presented at a Maryland Health Care Commission webinar about using technology to better reach students, both during the pandemic and beyond.

Gorman, who is also the president of the Maryland Association of School Health Nurses, shared videos she had created to promote mask wearing and other safety mitigation strategies.

“Shifting from providing in-person student care to a virtual health environment presented itself with many obstacles,” Gorman said. “However, school nurses embraced the change and found creative ways to reach the needs of our students and our school communities.”

The webinar, titled “Leveraging Technology to Meet Student Needs During COVID-19 and Beyond,” is part of the Maryland Health Care Commission’s efforts to promote informed decision-making on the part of healthcare professionals. School nurses, many of whom have been deputized to administer vaccines, are on the front lines of healthcare work.

Baltimore County Public Schools nurses have worked throughout the pandemic alongside county health officials to support community education and outreach promoting safe practices which can help curb the county’s health metrics.

Among the many things that keep nurses busy, they are holding student health office hours, participating in social-emotional learning teams to support students in need of additional help with virtual learning and creating virtual ‘health rooms’ which centralize resources and give the virtual space an in-person feel.

D’Alto said she has enjoyed playing the role of school nurse, even amid a year of challenges and frustrations.

“Virtual school nursing presented unique challenges, but our innovative and astute assessment skills have made school nurses able to connect with students using technology,” she said. “We wear many hats as school nurses, but giving care and helping our students and the community is what makes this profession so rewarding.”

Debbie Somerville, coordinator of the district’s Office of Health Services, commended Gorman and D’Alto for connecting with other school nurses to share resources, offer advice and build a network for COVID-19 response at the local level.

“Baltimore County is fortunate to have outstanding nurses like Ms. Gorman and Ms. D’Alto,” Somerville said in a release. “The challenges of COVID have highlighted the creativity, resourcefulness and dedication of our school nurses in promoting the health of our students and community.”

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