Portland School Nurses Say They’re Understaffed and Underequipped for Pandemic Wave

Portland Public Schools’ nurses say the latest COVID-19 outbreak is the worst of the pandemic, and they worry they don’t have enough help to keep students safe.  

1 nurse, for every 750 students.  That’s what Oregon state law recommends.  But what’s really happening in Portland Public Schools? One nurse, serving almost twice that number: 1,253 students.

 “They’re having a hard time feeling like they can adequately do the job that they’re being asked to do. And nurses are in the schools because they love kids, and it’s hard.”

That’s Grant High School nurse Jennifer McKinster.  She helped write a letter from 36 nurses: who are also worried about problems like these: with COVID-19 testing:

“It’s being promised but we don’t have staff to do testing or tracking of the tests and we’re also being asked to use tests that have been expired.”

She spoke to our news partner, KGW.  The nurses’ letter says safety measures like ventilation, vaccination, masking and social distancing, are not being followed consistently.



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