Don’t Be Afraid of the Nurse


Why are students afraid of the nurse? Is she scary? Does she bite? What is everyone so scared about? Well, the “scary school nurse” phenomenon commenced when we returned to in-person learning last year. Covid drastically tainted students’ views of the school nurse. 

It was a miracle that the school was able to reopen last year after such a devastating couple of months. Although the school was open, the school was still restricted by COVID-19 protocols; masks were required and social distancing was heavily enforced. 

This year, there have been accounts of students who had Covid symptoms but did not go to the nurse out of fear of being tested or actually having Covid. For example, Ari Cepelowitz ‘25 had the flu this year. He began to feel sick on a Friday in school. He decided to stay in school because of the short day and because he was afraid to go to the nurse. When asked why he was afraid to go to the nurse, he replied that he was afraid, “because I did not want to have to get a Covid test and have a chance of needing to quarantine.” Additionally, Nicky Chalme ‘25 decided not to go to the nurse when she was not feeling well. She said, “I am scared to go to the nurse because she may think I have Covid.” Both Ari and Nicky were hesitant to go to the nurse out of fear of having Covid.

The nurse is required by NYC to test students if they display certain symptoms, such as runny nose, congestion, cough, sore throat, loss of taste and smell, vomiting, diarrea, and nausea. She said that the main symptoms were fever, chills, new cough, and shortness of breath. Nurse Nechama said that, “students should not be afraid to come to me because I do not test students unless it is very obvious to me that they have a runny nose and they are coughing a lot, or they have something a little odd, like a loss of taste. I am very rational when deciding who I need to test.” Additionally, if a student tests positive, Nurse Nechama helps them find a testing center to receive their results in 24 hours or less.

The nurse wants students to feel comfortable going to her if they do not feel well. She is required to test students to keep the school open and to keep everyone healthy. Obviously, Nurse Nechama is not going to test students for no reason. So, should students really be afraid of the nurse?