Nurses recognized in county schools

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Nurses in Walker County schools were honored last week for their work with students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 16 nurses all received certificates of appreciation at last Thursday's meeting of the Walker County Board of Education.

Director of Health Services Margaret Guthrie thanked administrators for supporting nurses during the pandemic and praised the hard work of the school system's healthcare employees.

"I just want to say how proud I am of these ladies. They started school, they had a challenge to overcome, and they have," Guthrie said. "Now, we've shed some tears and we've had a lot going on, but I just could not be more proud of them."

Nurses were responsible for screening students for COVID-19 symptoms during the pandemic and for maintaining temporary quarantine areas at schools. Nurses also made sure COVID-19 safety precautions were carried out at each campus.

"They have worked wonderfully through this COVID period. They are greatly appreciated," board of education member Lee Ann Headrick said.

Registered nurses honored were Stacy Aaron, Brandy Cooksey, Kristy Cox, Tracy Grayson, Mandy Henderson, Lisa Martin, Amy Parr, Gena Phillips, Heather Simmons and Brandy Kitchens. Licensed practical nurses Paula Baughn, Kristy Davis, Janet Jones, Melissa Wills, Teresa Wingo and Karen Martin were also recognized. 

"It's been a tough year, and I've spoken with every group of employees that we have," superintendent Dr. Dennis Willingham said. "Each of them has faced different challenges throughout this school year. It's not over yet, but we are getting towards the end of the school year, and we're grateful for the people of Walker County and for the service they've provided for our children during these difficult times." 

He continued, "The nurses, the jobs they do and what they have to deal with — the sicknesses they have to deal with on a daily basis — I don't know how you do it, but you do it and you do it well. I'm very grateful for you and the way that you take care of our kids every day."

In other business, the school board:

• heard Willingham state that many teachers in the school system have been vaccinated due to assistance from Dustin Beaty and his pharmacies. 

In terms of COVID-19 assistance, Willingham also stated that Walmart donated a large quantity of hand sanitizer to the school system.

• approved an agreement with AMSTI (the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative) to place math coaches in low-performing schools.

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