Lessons from a Pandemic: School Nurses Are Critical to Community Health

Lessons from a Pandemic: School Nurses Are Critical to Community Health

The working life of a school nurse has always been hectic – treating schoolyard injuries, doing health screenings, helping address mental health issues and so much more. And then Covid arrived, making the “old days” seem quaint.

School nurses’ response to the pandemic has underscored what we already know: they are health care superstars. In these last 12 months of disruption and crisis, school nurses have heroically taken on even more responsibility, served as public health advisors for school boards and administrators, and kept students and communities safe through the pandemic.

Here are some lessons we learned about the role of the school nurse in 2021.


Nurses are critical in safe reopening

As districts across the country continue reopening with varying phases, plans, and protocols, nurses are critical to their doing so safely. As the frontline of student safety, they’re on point for best practices for reopening policies, temperature testing, screening, mask distribution, health and safety guidelines, ongoing monitoring, and more.


They are a pillar of public health

Nurses are the health experts that school communities look to for guidance. They answer questions from parents, staff, and students. Nurses have always been health educators, but especially now, that role is so important in disseminating local health policies and guidelines, training staff on COVID-19 infection control, helping staff do self-care, and educating the wider community. Many are involved in wider public health initiatives or organizations.


Their jobs are complex

While COVID-19 prevention and mitigation efforts are at the top of their list, nurses still must attend to all the other illnesses, injuries and student concerns that they always have. School nurses are a lifeline for students with chronic conditions, often procuring their equipment and medications, drafting student health plans, and helping them manage their conditions. They also reach out to at-risk students and help with deliveries (such as medication and food) to those in need. They often serve hundreds of students, all with different and changing needs.


Nurses’ expertise is unmatched

More than any other role in the education system, nurses are the health and wellness linchpin. Their training and skills go beyond everyday health care. They must have great listening and communication skills, be life-long learners, be empathetic and caring, think quickly, and have great judgment and problem-solving skills. They’re consummate team players, using interpersonal skills, professionalism, and attention to detail. And increasingly so, they must be knowledgeable about new public health threats and developments – connecting the dots between local and national trends.


They’re important to a student’s overall success

Good health is foundational to a student’s ability to thrive. When they’re healthy, they’re better able to excel in their studies, develop their interests, pursue their dreams and build relationships. Nurses support student’s success by providing care and support – to students’ physical, emotional, mental health as well as social health needs. They provide assessment, intervention, and follow-up for all students.


They can deliver care anywhere

School nurses have always provided care and support in person, but now they’re doing it remotely – or using a combo of the two. They have had to “go virtual” basically overnight and work to ensure kids didn’t face a gap in care. They’ve had to figure out fixes for students who need ongoing care but maybe don’t have digital access. They have to make the call on what care can be done remotely and what requires in-person attention. Having the right tools and the continued support of their districts and administrators remains important as ever.

Going forward, these important lessons will inform how the school nurse’s role evolves. Being at the frontlines of how COVID-19 has affected communities, schools, and students, the voice of the nurse will be critical in shaping health care and public health for decades to come. Thank you, school nurses, for all that you do to keep your schools and communities healthy and safe!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


6 End of the Year Teacher Tips

6 End of the Year Teacher Tips

It’s that time of year again that all teachers both love and dread- the end of another school year. With the last day officially on the horizon, you can practically feel the excitement (and restlessness) radiating off of students, but there is still work to be done before final grades are submitted.

With papers piling up and patience running thin how do teachers make it through this time of year to summer break?

Here are some end-of-the-year strategies and tips for teachers.

1. Count it down

Give students, and yourself, something to look forward to each day when they come to school by doing an activity that lets them count down the days until summer break. Need some countdown ideas that will keep your students engaged and motivated up until the very last day? Check these out!


2. Try something new!

You know that one lesson plan or activity that you’ve wanted to try, but just never had the time to do? The end of the year can and should still be for useful learning! If you have gaps in your lesson plans, it’s the perfect time to test new strategies that you have in mind and would like to incorporate into your classroom next year.

3. Stay in your routine as long as possible

Any experienced teacher will tell you that one of the best tips to navigate all of the craziness the end of the school year may bring, is to stay in your routine. Your students will catch on and reflect your behavior if you begin to wind down too soon. That being said you can play games and end of the year activities just be sure to keep your classroom structure.

4. Get organized

Between finals, overdue homework, grading, and all of the lessons that you are still completing, your desk can pile up pretty quickly at the end of the year. Staying organized and on top of work as best as you can is key to finishing the year strong and getting final grades in on time.

5. Carve out some time for yourself

Although you do want to stay on top of your work, try not to spend every night hunkered down in your classroom attempting to get everything done all at once. Finding some time for self-care is important, especially during the end of the year when you feel like your to-do list is a mile long. Although carving out a few minutes for yourself to go home and relax, take a walk outside, play with your children, read, take a bath, etc. may seem counter-intuitive, you will be able to release your stress and have more energy for the final push as the last day of school gets closer.

6. Reflect on the successes of your year

Take some time, with or without your students, to reflect on the year that you’ve had- what they’ve learned, what their favorite lessons were, the friendships that were built, and the strong bond that you have all grown together as a class. Celebrate student successes, laugh at funny moments, and don’t forget to give yourself credit for all that you have accomplished as an educator this past year as well.

Lastly, accept that your last few days of school are going to be filled with emotion and require your full attention. But the end is near. It may get a little rocky and you may become overwhelmed, but soon you’ll be packing up your classroom and all of your memories from this past school year with it. So remember to enjoy each second with your students.

Hang in there you’ve got this!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

28 Fun End of the Year Bulletin Boards!

28 Fun End of the Year Bulletin Boards!

The end of the school year a great time to celebrate your students, their accomplishments and get them looking forward to sweet summertime! And what better way to do that than a fun bulletin board?

Check out our favorite end-of-the-year bulletin boards below.

1. We’re So Bright…

You can have so much fun with this one! Have your students model their best poses and faces to make for the cutest end-of-the-year bulletin board in school.

end of the year bulletin boards



2. When I Grow Up I Want To Be:

You can give them these photos on the last day of school so they can look back on it when they do start their careers and see if it’s what they wanted to be when they were little.

end of the year bulletin boards




3. End the Year With a BANG!

Use balloons to count down to summer! Have students take turns popping balloons each morning until there are none left on your last day.

end of the year bulletin boards



4. All the Feels About Leaving

Because who doesn’t love emojis? You kids could even make their own using paper plates.

end of the year bulletin boards



5. It’s O-FISH-ALLY Summer

Each student gets their own fish to decorate!

end of the year bulletin boards



6. The Friendship Board

It’s always a fun day in class when students have permission to get messy on PURPOSE 😉

end of the year bulletin boards



7. Where will you go?

Such a creative way to decorate a door with a long window!

end of the year bulletin boards



8. Silhouette Autobiographies

Such a fun idea that can be used in a multitude of ways autobiographies, their favorite school memory, what they’ve learned, what they are looking forward to about their next grade, etc.

end of the year bulletin boards



9. Polaroid or Instagram Door!

Fill with photos of your class, books that you’ve read, science projects, favorite sight words, class pets, memories from the year, etc. You can use the polaroid theme, or make them into squares like Instagram  🙂

end of the year bulletin boards



10. Surfin’ Into Summer

Because who doesn’t love a fun summer-themed bulletin board to celebrate the end of the school year?

end of the year bulletin boards



11. Going Out With a Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, enough said.

end of the year bulletin boards



12. Summer Bucket List

A fun writing prompt and bulletin board where kids can design their own buckets!

end of the year bulletin boards




13. Anything’s Popsicle

Popsicles using paint samples? Such a cheap and easy idea!

end of the year bulletin boards

13. In Summer…

Because who doesn’t love Olaf?

end of the year bulletin boards



15. A TPT Summer

For those teachers who like to have an aesthetic classroom

end of the year bulletin boards



16. High Five to a Great Year!

Have students trace their hands, put their names in the middle, and then decorate them! This is such a great craft that students can take home for their parents on the last day of school.

end of the year bulletin boards



17. It’s Almost Time to Pack, Man

Bulletin board puns are the best puns

end of the year bulletin boards



19. Don’t BLOW IT This Summer

Such a fun way to incorporate staff or student photos into your bulletin board.

end of the year bulletin boards



20. Choppin’ Into First Grade

Use student photos, their names, or have them create their own fish to put inside the alligator’s mouth!

end of the year bulletin boards



21. Countdown to Summer Chain

Remove a chain link each day as you get closer to summer. For even more fun write down activities or quotes on the chain links and as you remove them perform/read whatever is on it.

end of the year bulletin boards



22. This Year Was Sweet

A fun bulletin board that encourages students to

end of the year bulletin boards

23. Harry Potter-Themed

Mischief has been managed!

end of the year bulletin boards



24. I’m Looking Forward To…

A fun writing prompt activity that lets students write about what they are looking forward to this summer.

end of the year bulletin boards



25. Stay on Target

A fun and interactive bulletin board that you can switch up the style and keep the concept!

end of the year bulletin boards



26. The ABC’s of the Year

Give each student a letter of the alphabet to create a drawing from something they learned that starts or contains their letter.

end of the year bulletin boards



27. We Don’t Want to LEGO

Remember how we said bulletin board puns are the best?

end of the year bulletin boards



28. Smart Cookies!

Who wouldn’t want to have a giant bulletin board full of cute little cookies to end the year?

end of the year bulletin boards



For more End of the Year Bulletin Boards visit our “Teachers: End of the Year Bulletin Board Ideas” board on Pinterest!

Don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new idea we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

11 Ideas for Your Spring Break Staycation

11 Ideas for Your Spring Break Staycation

You’ve been online all day every day with your class(es) for months on end. We know you love your students but right about now you and the rest of our teachers deserve a break from the stress and the daily grind. And that circled-in-red spring break on your calendar is getting deliciously close (or here)!

We invite you to make this break truly count — What are the things you keep wanting to get done but haven’t had time for? Or maybe you’re feeling the need to toss the to-do list, focusing instead on really relaxing and replenishing yourself before you start the next term. Whatever you decide on, make sure it’s not work-related! (and is socially-distanced and safe, of course).

You may have some plans or activities in mind, but if not, check out our tips below and see if they spark some ideas!

1. Move it, move it! Getting your body moving is a surefire way to work out the stress, get to that state of “good tired” and return to a healthy balance. And what a great way to enjoy the spring weather. Whether it’s hiking, biking, running, rock climbing, or walking, you can’t go wrong – pick one or more and get moving.

2. Read for pleasure. If you suffer from Tsundoku, now’s the time — crack open those books that have been staring at you from the shelf or nightstand. Dedicate some time at night, in the morning or on lazy afternoons and give yourself the gift of getting lost in a great book (pssst, no work reading!).

3. Catch up on your binge-watching. Perhaps instead of books, you have movies or shows you haven’t had time for. Go ahead and indulge, sans guilt.

4. Retail therapy. It doesn’t need to be extravagant but treating yourself to a shopping spree can be a lovely re-energizing pick-me-up. If nothing else, it’s fun to window shop. Anything you’ve been needing or had your eye on?

5. Quality time with your family. Balancing family life and work life is always tough – but has been extra challenging for the last year. If you’ve been missing time with your family or kids, take this opportunity to do some fun, leisurely things you usually don’t have time for. Movie nights, crafts, making forts, date nights, sports, time outdoors – the list is endless.

6. Start a new habit. We all know habits take time and repetition to stick. If there’s a habit you’ve been wanting to start (Meditation? Getting to bed earlier? Giving yourself a digital detox?) spring break is a perfect time to do it.

7. Do a day-trip adventure. Perhaps the prospect of a full day of solo time sets your heart aflutter. Maybe there’s a little town nearby that’s perfect for aimless wandering, or you’re close to a beach where you can walk the shore and watch the sunset. Check your map for destinations that are one to two hours away – you’ll probably be surprised at all the choices!

8. Hit the mat. Is there a yoga place (outdoors!) you’ve been wanting to try? Now’s the time to do it. There really is nothing like getting some yoga time in to de-stress, limber up, build strength, and center yourself.

9. Grab a guilt-free coffee – and stay as long as you want. If you’re a café aficionado, spring break is a great time to frequent your favorite outdoor coffee spot – in fact, make it a daily ritual if you like! Enjoy some unstructured time to commune with your favorite hot (or iced) beverage, and maybe a good book … or journal, or sketchbook, etc.

10. Picnic in the park. Spring sunshine was made for leisurely picnics in the park. Gather up some goodies from home (or nearby take-out places), throw them in a basket, and go! Don’t forget a blanket, hat, and sunscreen – and family if they want to join 😉

11. Try new dishes. After too many quick and easy lunches at your desk, take this opportunity to rediscover the joy of food. This might mean trying take-out from new-to-you restaurants – which is a win-win and supports local businesses. Or, if you enjoy cooking, look into tackling some new and exciting recipes at home.

Keen readers will notice that none of these ideas has anything to do with work, ha! Make sure your spring break is all about you – there will be plenty of time for work when it starts up again. Want more relaxation tips? – check ‘em out here. And remember, if your spring break plans include leaving town or venturing out in public, bring extra masks and sanitizer just to be extra safe.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

5 Easy Last-Minute Pi Day Activities

5 Easy Last-Minute Pi Day Activities

Pi Day is March 14 (3.14). If you are still looking for some games or activities to do with your kids or students, don’t worry, check out these 5 easy last-minute Pi Day activities you can do at-home or online!
pi day activity

1. An Easy Art Project

Make Pi Day Grid Art! To celebrate the infinite number of Pi there are infinite ways to fill in the boxes. Have your students choose 3 colors and give them 14 to design 15 (3.1415) boxes however they like and then cut them out and hang them in your classroom.



pi day activity

2. A Fun Craft They Can Keep

Make Pi Day Bracelets! Assign each digit of Pi to a certain color (ex. 3=blue 1=white 4=yellow), write the color assignments down, print them out and give them to your students. Have them each cut a string that is the size of their wrist and get to work! OR If it’s easy you can assign different colors for even and odd numbers (even=black, odd=white).



pi day activity

3. A Pi-Day Inspired Book With a Riddle

Read Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi! In this book, kids will have fun while trying to solve the pi-day riddle. ABOUT: When Radius gives Sir Cumference something to relieve stomach pain, his poor father turns into a dragon! Radius must solve a riddle about a circle to change Sir Cumference back to a human by the next morning.



pi day

4. A Fun Race to Pie

Play a Pi Card Game! Here’s how it works- divide students into groups and get a deck of cards (for social distancing or virtual learning each student can use their own deck) and take out all Aces, Jacks, Jokers, Kings, and Queens. Give each student 5 cards to hold and keep the rest in the deck. The goal of the game is to play all of the card numbers that make up Pi, so the first card that must be played is a 3- if no one has a 3, students must take turns drawing cards until someone can lay down a three, and then you go to the next number in Pi, 1 and so on. The person with the fewest number of cards in their hands once the deck is empty (or you reach the number you would like to stop at in Pi) is the winner!



pi day activity

5. A Pie Day Scavenger Hunt

Ready, Set, GO find Pi! Have students find and measure as many circular things that they can around the house or the classroom with a tape measure. They will then have to record the object they find, the diameter, and then use Pi to find the circumference. If you would like, you can even give prizes away to those who find 10 different circular objects and measure them!

Don’t forget to celebrate by eating your favorite pie! If you are celebrating in the classroom you don’t have to miss out on the pie fun, just remember to make sure each is individually wrapped, like these 4 oz pies.

For more Easy Pi Day games and activities visit our “Pi Day Activities” board on Pinterest!

Don’t forget to give us a follow at California Casualty to stay up to date on every new Pi Day idea or activity we discover! Scan our Pincode with your Pinterest camera to follow:


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. California Casualty does not own any of the photos in this post, all are sources by to their original owners. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

4 Ways to Help Struggling Virtual Learners

4 Ways to Help Struggling Virtual Learners

Throughout the past year, teaching a class without actually being in a physical classroom has been one of the most difficult adjustments for teachers and students alike. Through hard work and perseverance, teachers have learned to adapt their teaching methods and find new ways to help their remote students in their online environment, but unfortunately, some students are still falling behind.

If you have virtual learners that are struggling, here are a few ways you can give your students a helping hand.


Promote Community in the Virtual Classroom

Our brains are wired to be social, so the sudden lack of communal interaction can be extremely difficult – especially considering the minds of developing children. It’s vital to do everything you can to make your virtual classroom a safe space where they feel a sense of togetherness. This in turn will help them stay engaged.

Adding more group-oriented work to your lesson plans will also encourage students to communicate more actively with each other as they work to achieve a common goal as a team. Likewise, discussion-based activities can motivate students to voice their opinions and hear others, like they would if they were together in the classroom.


Give Students a Choice

No two students will react the same to a given project. Rather than demanding they stick to a strict rubric, allow them the freedom to pursue a presentation of their choice around a lesson or topic. While an essay may work for Bobby, his classmate Suzy would much rather design a PowerPoint to show off her technical skills. Finding a balance between ensuring the curriculum is taught and letting students demonstrate their own understanding of their knowledge is an easy way you can help your students succeed.


Encourage Their Individuality

Unlike a physical classroom, there’s no opportunity in virtual learning for students to have a space that feels like their own. While they’re away from their desks, encourage your students (or their parents) to create a dedicated space at home that they can make their own.

It could include anything from decorating their own backdrop with relevant posters or scenery, to filling the space with personalized items, or even using the customizable background feature on programs like Zoom (responsibly and appropriately). All of these will help promote a sense of self and bring them into “learning mode”, rather than just feeling like another day spent indoors.


Communicate With Parents

While you may already keep in touch with your student’s parents often, during virtual learning it’s as important as ever to keep mom and dad in the loop- especially if their child is struggling. With more parents helping with homework and projects these days, it’s important to always keep an open line of communication (during a set number of hours) for parents to contact you with questions and concerns. If you see a child that is starting to fall behind, reach out to their parents to see how they are doing with their work at home. For students that continue to struggle, set up a virtual meeting where you can all get together and go over solutions.


Most importantly, reassure your students that even though they may feel alone, we are all on this virtual journey together.

For more virtual learning tips click here. Have your own ideas on how to help students struggling with virtual learning? Comment below!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

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