LHS Nurses Embrace New Roles


Nurses provide accommodating help for LHS Students. Photo by Sujin Lee

Alexis Chen and Jessica Liu

During the COVID-19 pandemic, school nurses everywhere have had to adjust to a new, more extensive set of responsibilities.

This includes the Lexington High School nurses, who currently manage the school’s pooled testing and contact tracing system. Every Tuesday, participating students and staff pick up at-home testing kits and drop them off at designated locations in the school the following day. After all the tests have been collected, they are sent to a laboratory for analysis.

This organized system of contact tracing ensures that those who receive positive tests are quickly identified and notified. 

“Our job is then to go back and trace and find out where that person was and then determine if someone was considered a close contact, and if that’s the case, then we contact them,” Susan Kaftan, one of LHS’ three nurses, said. 

The school follows the guidelines and protocols set by the Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Lexington Public Schools’ superintendent.

“It’s an extensive effort and it takes many hours to do it, quite frankly,” Kaftan said. 

Kaftan said that the pooled testing system has worked well to prevent the spread of the disease. 

“We haven’t had any transmission of COVID within this school system. Anything that has happened is outside of school,” Kaftan said. 

In addition to school-wide contact tracing, vaccination clinics have also been held throughout the past few months to increase the school community’s high vaccination rate. 

“I believe we’re at 92%, and even greater, a great goal would be 95%, and I think that would make a big difference on our pool testing,” Meaghan Mead, another nurse at LHS, said. 

Achieving that goal would help keep the community safe. However, despite the success of the testing, contact tracing, and vaccination clinics, the LHS nurses have faced new obstacles.

“It’s been a challenge to be on par with the state guidelines,” Raenne Brazee, another one of the school’s nurses, said. 

Sudden changes in regulations require changes in protocol, which have proven to be a challenge. For example, it has been difficult for students to maintain social distancing while in school. 

There’s not really any way around the cramped hallways and small rooms, but even apart from those, people come into close contact to socialize all the time,” Eugene Wang, a freshman, said. 

In addition to keeping three feet apart inside, the school nurses advise students to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and read the school’s health updates. 

“Be conscientious and be a good team player, community member. We’re all in this together, right? And it’s a big change. It’s tough. It’s hard. And I think we’re ready to be done with it. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there,” Kaftan said.