New School Nurse on Campus

Sage hires a school nurse to meet growing health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Riya Gupta, Online Editor-in-Chief

Sage Hill School has taken many precautions to prevent a coronavirus outbreak on campus. 

Upon Sage reopening its gates to students, which would occur only if Orange County is off California’s coronavirus watchlist for at least 14 consecutive days, students would be required to wear a mask, social distance, and take a daily health screening via the Titan HST app.

For the first time in its history, Sage has hired a school nurse as well. JoAnn Housman, who is a registered nurse and has 25 years of work experience as a school nurse in three different unified school districts in California, will take on this role. 

“I feel with all that experience, I will be able to establish a nice new health office for Sage Hill and bring back public school experience over to the private sector, which I’m really looking forward to,” Housman said. 

Housman’s office is located in the upper Johnson Family Library next to the McNeill Merz Loft, and she will be on campus all throughout the school day. Students can go to her office for a variety of health issues, ranging from wax for braces to first aid, or from burns to simply feeling unwell and needing to rest on the office’s cot. At this time, it is uncertain whether Housman will be able to administer medication; however, she will have EpiPens in her office in case of an emergency. 

Housman will also be in charge of educating faculty and staff members on students’ health needs and different illnesses. Additionally, all employees will be tested for COVID-19 before the school year begins.

Regarding the pandemic, Housman said she has used her public health mindset to prepare for ensuring students’ health and well-being on campus. She has kept a detailed record of updates given by public health officials as well as stocked up on supplies such as face coverings and hand sanitizer. There are plans for an isolation tent to be kept outside of her office in case a student or staff member has any symptoms.

“If somebody is not feeling well or they think they are having a symptom of COVID, we have to keep them separated from the rest of the population until they can go home and get tested,” she said.

Although her first year at Sage will be an unusual one, Housman said she is very excited about being a part of the Sage Hill community. 

“I’m so happy to be here,” she said. “It’s such a lovely school, and I can’t wait.” 

Students are happy for Housman to be on campus as well. 

“I think that it is a very good idea to have a school nurse on campus this year, especially with everything going on,” senior Sarah Fischer said. 

Although hiring a school nurse is a step in the right direction, it will also take a collective effort from the students to prevent an outbreak.

“I think it will be really up to the student to make campus safe as they need to be responsible and not come to school if they have symptoms of COVID or if they have been exposed to someone who has,” Fischer said.