Trending Topics

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


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

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.

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.

Read next: School resource medic, is it a new role for EMS?

Natalie Gage-Avila, 23, worked as an EMT with Acadian Ambulance Texas
“We have upped salaries. We’ve recruited. Nobody wants to do it as much as they did,” said John Smith, the director of operations at Gold Cross
Firefighter/paramedic Brian Herr joined the department in March 2023 after relocating to Florida from Chicago
Somerset city officials are told employees are leaving for better pay and less calls