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NEISD essential services continue amid school closure

At North East ISD, we know that our families rely on school for many things in addition to their education. In the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis and subsequent school closure, the District established important lifelines to keep parents connected to resources they’ve come to rely on.

School Nurse Hotline

On April 15, North East ISD launched its School Nurse Hotline, giving parents the opportunity to speak to a caring and knowledgeable school nurse about their health questions and concerns.

“Staying connected to people is what gives us our humanity,” said Cindy Valadez, RN.Sometimes, the nurse hotline is about sharing new information. Other times, it's about providing reassurance or simply giving someone a verbal hug. Our NEISD parents are receptive, appreciative and gracious during our conversations. When you hear someone say thank you with their heart, that's victory!”

The school nurses are available Monday through Friday and can answer questions about general health and wellness concerns, immunizations, medications, minor injuries and COVID-19 related issues.

In just a few weeks of operation, the feedback has been very positive.

“Initially I questioned if anyone would use the hotline until I actually started receiving calls from families,” said Mary Freeman, RN.It then occurred to me that in this time of social isolation, some families gain comfort in knowing they have someplace to call when they have a question. For example, I received a phone call from a mother regarding a non-COVID medical condition that her child was experiencing. For me, it was a simple question, but for that parent it meant the world to her to know she had a trusted medical source she could reach to in times like these.”

Nurse Freeman on the phone and laptop

Counselor Hotline

There is an equal need for emotional support, especially during this time of stress and uncertainty. That’s where North East ISD’s school counselors have stepped up.

Within just a few days of the school closure, the District established a Counselor Support Line.

NEISD counselors answering the phones serve as an important contact for students and parents with academic-related questions. In other cases, they help callers work through their own stress and anxiety. They also provide resource referrals and crisis intervention.

Similar to the Nurse Hotline, counselors answer the phones on a rotating basis Monday through Friday. Counselor Kathy Johnson from Churchill High School recalls the time a parent called concerned about her daughter’s friend.

“She didn’t know who else to call and was very worried because the friend had made an outcry. But she said she had heard about the support line and was so glad this was available to parents. I assured her I would follow up, and I did.”

Counselors are also available for students’ needs via email, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Google Classroom and Smore.

Despite the school closure, NEISD is committed to serving the needs of its students and their families. That means coming up with new ways to provide much-needed resources and human connection.

Counselor on the phone in her office  

Posted by Kristina Perez
May 14, 2020