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Massachusetts School Nurses Answer Call For Help In Fight Against Coronavirus

MILFORD (CBS) -- The Milford Public School District has already donated their medical supplies, including thermometers, gloves, and respirator masks, to the fight against coronavirus in Massachusetts. Milford Public Schools Director of Nursing Lee Waingortin said she is willing to step in and volunteer to help hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

"I certainly will put myself out there," Waingortin said.

With schools closed, nurses are also checking in on students with health issues and offering families support.

Lisa Caruso an RN and the school nurse at Milford High School. "As a school nurse and being in the public health field, I think it's important that we continue to engage with the community and students and just teaching about supporting your own immune system, whether that's eating healthy, sleeping, getting outside for a little while every day, getting exercise, trying to keep your stress levels down," she said.

In Boston, it is all hands on deck: school nurses are working with the Department of Health tracing cases in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The tight-knit health care community understands the need to help fight the virus and help each other.

Waingortin said, "Any nurse in general, particularly the school nurses, we are considered to be community helpers."

While the school nurses WBZ-TV spoke to are worried about having the proper personal protective equipment to stay safe, they know they are well trained to handle the crisis.

"We have all been schooled the same way. The basic skills in caring for patients, the basic precautions that we use, we are all comfortable with that," Caruso said.

"Approximately one-third of Massachusetts school nurses are working with their local boards of health during the coronavirus crisis," said Jenny M. Gormley of the Massachusetts School Nurse Organization. "Some Massachusetts school nurses also work in acute care and ambulatory health care settings, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, are increasing hours providing direct care and in call centers."

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