Agawam paramedics to aid school nurses during pandemic

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on registered nurses, and as Massachusetts schools reopen, there’s an additional need for medical staffing.

That’s why the town of Agawam is collaborating with the Agawam Fire Department and its paramedics to help school nurses.

“Unfortunately there is only one nurse and two screening areas,” said Alan Sirois, chief of the Agawam Fire Department. “So, at this point, we are staffing all eight schools, four days a week, with paramedics in those screening areas.”

The Massachusetts school reopening guidance requires that a COVID-19 isolation space must be maintained separately from the school nurses’ office for students and staff that show COVID-19 symptoms. Both spaces should be staffed by medical professionals.

Kelly Cichetti, a parent from Agawam, who also teaches in the town’s school system, said that this new addition comes just in time for the flu season as well.

“I think its a great idea,” Cichetti said. “You know, with COVID and everything that is going on right now and with the flu season coming up, I think it’ll be a big help for the nurses.”

Though the aid is considered temporary, the Agawam Health Department is working on permanent solutions to assist schools and their nurses during the pandemic.

Agawam is one of multiple school systems in the area conducting a hybrid model as part of their schools reopening.

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