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School nurse has had especially vital role during pandemic

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By John Le

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    FLETCHER, North Carolina (WLOS) — During the pandemic, the role of often unsung heroes became important on campuses all over the mountains.

“School nursing, in light of the pandemic — it has been highlighted even more why there’s a need for every school to have a nurse,” said Kim Ball, our News 13 Person of the Week.

As a school nurse at Fletcher Elementary, she’s a natural.

Ball does more than tend to their healthcare needs. Earlier this week, a brief session about the importance of handwashing helped first graders see the light — as in black light.

“Alright, see this is my black light. So, look — do you see that?” she asked, showing the kids the germs on their hands. “Yeah we make it exciting for them, it’s a demonstration.”

Singing “Happy Birthday to You” twice gave the kids a sense of what 20 seconds of recommended handwashing feels like. Whether it’s a fun demo or a serious health emergency, Ball is an important source of information.

Students Kacelah Smith and Annabelle Spaulding told us they appreciate the care.

“They keep us safe and they help us feel better,” Smith told News 13. “I like how you treat our school.”

“God forbid if we got sick, they could help us. Or like, if we got hurt, like we jumped off the monkey bars and scraped our knee,” Spaulding said.

As a Henderson County Public Health Nurse, she splits time at Fletcher Elementary and FernLeaf Charter.

Those schools are just part of the job that has had her working overtime in the past year, whether it’s administering COVID-19 vaccines or doing contact tracing.

“We’ve been on call 24/7, ’cause COVID doesn’t just pop up 8 to 4,” she said.

Ball gave credit to fellow public health nurses who have worked so hard at this critical time.

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