Ark. school board approves plan to hire paramedics as substitute school nurses

School officials will allow off-duty paramedics to fill in for school nurses who are quarantining due to COVID-19


By Laura French

ROGERS, Ark. — An Arkansas school board has approved a plan to hire paramedics to serve as substitute nurses in case the school nurses need to quarantine for COVID-19. 

The Rogers School Board entered into a tentative agreement with city officials Tuesday in anticipation of a potential shortage of school nurses during the pandemic, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Rogers Public Schools reopened on Aug. 24 with blended in-person and virtual learning, according to its Facebook page.

The Rogers School Board has approved a plan to hire city paramedics as substitute school nurses in case a nurse needs to quarantine due to COVID-19. (Photo/Rogers Public Schools Facebook)
The Rogers School Board has approved a plan to hire city paramedics as substitute school nurses in case a nurse needs to quarantine due to COVID-19. (Photo/Rogers Public Schools Facebook)

Superintendent Marlin Berry said the district currently has a nearly full staff of school nurses, but that a nurse needing a 14-day absence in order to quarantine would put schools in a tough position. 

The city has agreed to inform paramedics about the off-duty work opportunity and allow medics to wear their city uniforms and use city medical supplies while working at the schools. The medics will be paid by the school district for their work as substitutes. 

Rogers Fire Chief Tom Jenkins said he supports the plan and does not know of any other school district or city where paramedics work as school nurses. 

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