Championing the Whole Student - Honoring WWPS Nursing Staff
National School Nurse Day is May 12. School nurses champion the whole student every day of the year, but this has never been more evident than during the 2020-2021 school year. Since the pandemic began impacting schools last spring, Walla Walla Public Schools’ health services staff ensure safety protocols are in place, personal protective equipment is available and that our schools implement all of the necessary procedures to ensure campuses remain safe for students and faculty.
"Our nursing staff have served critical in keeping everyone safe since the pandemic struck last March," notes Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "We are so thankful our community continues to support these essential staff, paid for almost entirely out of school levy resources approved by voters."
“People look to their health services team as the experts to provide guidance and recommendations,” said Amy Ruff, Director of Health Services. “We have been at the front lines from the start.”
Health services staff educate teachers when they have questions about COVID or have concerns about the wellness of a child.
“We are there to evaluate them to determine if they need to stay at school or go home,” said Ruff. “We conduct contact tracing functions at the school and partner with our county health department and provide onsite testing for students and faculty.” Health Services staff have performed more than 500 rapid tests for COVID-19 as part of a WWPS robust school testing program.
“In addition to physical health matters, keeping immunizations up to date, and supporting many critical student health conditions, we are also very cognizant of kids’ social emotional needs,“ said Ruff. “Very often physical ailments in students can be influenced by stress or other emotional needs, and we partner with school counseling staff to provide the necessary wraparound services.”
Health Services staff members include:
• Amy Ruff, RN Health Services Director
• Vickie Rogers, RN at Wa-Hi, Lincoln, SEATech and Opportunity
• Lynn Porter Bingham, RN at Pioneer, Edison and Green Park
• Nancy Montgomery, RN at Berney
• Amanda Hinrichs, RN at Prospect Point, Sharpstein & WWCCF
• Sonia Soto, HRA at Wa-Hi
• Sara Huxoll, HRA at Garrison MS
• Oscar Brito, HRA at Pioneer MS
• Stephanie Edwards, HRA at Prospect Point
• Lori Grimes, HRA at Sharpstein
• Giessell Martinez, HRA at WWCCF
• Fabiola Salgado, HRA at Edison
• Edgar Salgado, HRA at Green Park
Since 1972, National School Nurse Day has been set aside to recognize school nurses. National School Nurse Day was established to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting. This year, building on the increased visibility of nurses' contributions National Nurses' Week has been expanded to Nurses Month in May.