Pinellas Co. to hire, add school nurses to all schools later this fall

Homeowners will pay $3 more per year

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - About a third of all Pinellas County students have a chronic health issue like asthma or diabetes.

The parents we spoke with at McMullen Booth Elementary told us the new nurses hired are a peace of mind.

"He's got milk allergies, peanut allergies, mushroom allergies and it's all things to worry about,” said Donna Rakaj.

This Pinellas County mom's worries will soon be eased.

"Having a nurse available makes it at least, on my part, I worry a little less. I'm not getting a phone call saying, ‘you need to bring him Benadryl’,” said Rakaj.

Rakaj is a mom of three. Her 13-year-old son has to be very careful about what he eats. He's one of about 33-thousand students who have chronic illnesses in the school district.

"Students are very varied with their medications. I don't think it's a secretary's responsibility to administer those medications,” said grandmother and school volunteer Kathy Snyder.

Pinellas County is hiring LPNs for every elementary, middle and high school offering full-time jobs with benefits.

Last year, the school district had hundreds of 911 calls made from schools and not all of them were for medical reasons but certainly some of them were,” said Sara O’Toole.

The school nurses will handle everything from stomach aches to minor emergencies.

Homeowners will see an average $3 a year tax increase to cover the $1.5 million cost.

"You need to have someone trained on the spot, as soon as possible,” said Snyder.

The school district plans to start hiring LPNs and placing them in schools after October.

"It does make sense to have someone on campus all the time so I am happy about that,” said Rakaj.

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