Nurse Tyre keeps track, speaks about her role in keeping students healthy


Grace Albaugh

Nurse Tyre sits in her office.

“COVID has doubled, if not more than triple my workload because, really, you almost need a nurse, just to do the COVID part,” school nurse Linda Tyre said.

The role of a school nurse has been drastically changed due to the continued presence of COVID-19 and rise of the Delta variant.

One aspect of Tyre’s job that has been modified is the increased contact with parents due to ceaseless contact tracing. Tyre described, “There’s a lot of calling, a lot of calling parents from home at night, weekend, you know, it’s not just during the day.”

Tyre also explained that COVID has increased the need for multiple nurses on campus, this addition has been a tremendous help to her work load especially when she needs a day off. She said, “You really almost need two nurses, just to keep up right now and it would be manageable, you know, as it is without COVID but I’m finding it’s almost, almost not manageable with one person.”

Tyre explained that the deans have been a tremendous help with contact tracing. She said, “They help with the sports like Dean Wellington, he handles a lot of the sports, they’ll go talk to the coaches, they’ll go figure out what practices look like don’t they helped me with that because I’m not there, they’ll go look at films and help me figure out if the kids had the mask on the bus or, you know if we need to quarantine anybody like that so they do help me with those things, and that’s huge help.”

Putting a nurse on both campuses, both lower and upper school, has also been an immense help for Nurse Tyre, who previously covered Whitehurst as well. “They brought those two girls on board for the lower schools last year just to cover COVID and I think they realized how important these roles are for those parents and how necessary they are, and it has been huge. I’m assuming that those roles are going to stay there, and it’s been great. It’s been so helpful.” Tyre said.

Along with her role as a nurse altering, COVID protocols have also continuously changed and will continue to adapt throughout the duration of the year.

Nurse Tyre described that the process for COVID protocols consists of asking the student who tests positive who they have been in contact with. She said, “It’s a little easier because we have seating charts right and the teachers are supposed to be keeping their seating charts up to date, so we, we can pretty much figure out the classroom.”

Tyre didn’t shy away from expressing the importance and positive affect of the mask mandate. She said, “We don’t have to contact trace in the classrooms now because of the mask wearing, I think I have like two or three positives, and one quarantine, I mean it has reduced the number of quarantined, the vaccines also have reduced the number of quarantined, I mean tremendously.”

Tyre also described the changes that have been made in regards to social distancing. “Now the CDC has changed it to three feet, within three feet for more than 15 minutes and 15 minutes is cumulative for 24 hours so it could be five minutes here, five minutes there, you know, it’s 15 minutes within 24 hours so it gets a little tricky when you start looking at the time-frame.” Tyre said.

On top of social distancing many factors have been added that play into whether or not someone needs to be quarantined. Bolles announced that if you have been vaccinated or had COVID within the last three months you are exempt from being quarantined. Tyre said, “I do ask for proof of vaccination, which is their vaccination card, and if they have had the second dose, it has to be two weeks within that last shot, or a positive COVID test within the last three months. So I asked for both of those as proof.”

The data from last year to this year in regards to the number of COVID cases on campus, has also changed dramatically. “Our contact tracing and quarantine rates are different this year from last year because of the current mask mandate. Last year, one person could take out 30 something people, I mean especially if they’re in clubs, you know, they do a sport, they do carpool, they ride the bus, I mean all those things would lead to quarantine.” Tyre said.

Nurse Tyre also relies on an epidemiologist who provides support and guidance throughout the continuous changes of COVID protocols; one specific piece of information she gave was the prohibition of antibody tests due to the Delta variant.

The Department of Health also plays a role in covid procedures. Nurse Tyre explained that she reports every positive to The Department of Health, she gives them the students name, date of birth, the date they were tested positive, and the dates that they will quarantine. Then she provides the same information on the students who were in contact with the positive student.

These changes made to COVID protocols are due to the combined effort of a COVID task team force that meets twice a week. Tyre explains that they follow what the Florida Department of Health recommends versus the CDC because the state of Florida doesn’t always follow what the CDC recommends. “We go by what the Florida Department of Health recommends and that’s what we did last year and that’s what we do, that’s what we’re doing now.” She said,

Tyre also bases school policy on how the community reacts. She said, “We just make changes as the health department changes or there are changes in the community, you know that we have to adjust.”

In all Nurse Tyre and the COVID task force will continuously strive to return life to normal as safely as possible, taking every factor and professional guidance into consideration. into consideration. Tyre said, “We meet as a team at Bolles every two weeks, and we evaluate. Are there any changes that we need to update our policies, and then if we do, we update our website on the Bolles homepage.”