COVID-19 isolation room staffed with registered nurse opens in 1500 building


Mariajose Vera

A COVID-19 isolation room in the 1500 building’s teacher lounge is one of the numerous precautions MSD is using to keep students safe.

Sophia Squiccirini, Sports editor

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is implementing new precautions in an attempt to continue provide a safe environment. Among other measures, a main precaution is the addition of a COVID-19 nurse which hosts the COVID-19 isolation room for students who feel unwell and/or show COVID-19 symptoms.

The isolation room is located in the 1500 building’s teacher’s lounge on the second floor, situated in a separate corner from the main teacher lounge area.

If a student believes they have any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever or chills, they may ask their teacher for permission or simply to go the COVID-19 isolation room. Upon knocking, students will be met by a nurse dedicated solely to servicing this room.

Nurse Sergeline Delva takes care of all students who display possible COVID-19 symptoms. She takes proper precautions, such as disinfecting the room, and aims to provide a safe environment for both the student and herself.

Depending on the number of students in the room, a student will be get checked out right away, or may have to wait in the waiting room. Students also have the chance to get a rapid COVID-19 test yielding results after about 25 minutes.

“To prevent the spread of infection, we have the student come into the room and give us a list of their symptoms… we call the parents and make sure we get proper consent from them so we can do the rapid testing,” Delva said. “Once the student is tested, regardless if the test is positive or negative, if they are showing symptoms, they have to go home.”

Before students are allowed to get tested, their parents have to sign a consent form approving the rapid COVID-19 test. Once the isolation nurse receives the consent form back through email, the student can be tested. A legal parent or guardian must also sign this form in person upon arrival to pick up their child.

With rapid testing in place, some students feel reassured that they can find out if they have COVID-19 right on campus.

“Knowing that there’s a place I can go to and get tested makes me feel safer than walking around school and not knowing if I have the COVID-19 or not,” senior Jessica Bermudez said.

Providing students with a comfortable area where they are less likely to spread infection provides a safety barrier for students and staff since they have a professional nurse taking care of them. COVID-19 Supervisor Nurse Jacinth Brown fills in for Delva when she is not available and specializes in multiple areas of the medical field.

“I am a registered nurse, and I have been a nurse for over 35 years. I have worked in different fields. I have worked in pediatrics, interventional radiology, and I’m a certified oncology nurse. However, I’m retired so I am doing school nursing,” Brown said. “Last year I started at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and this is my second year with the school doing the COVID vaccines and now I’m supervising.”

The COVID-19 isolation room is not new. Last school year it was located in the lobby of the auditorium. It was moved this school year because this newer space in the 1500 building is more secluded.

Although the new isolation room is beneficial for students, the infringement of the teacher’s lounge has impacted available space for many teachers.

“I think it’s necessary. I don’t love the fact that they used one of our planning areas where we go to the restroom to isolate kids,” Advanced Placement Government and Politics Jeff Foster said. “But I mean we only have a certain amount of room at the school, so I know a lot of teachers are upset in the 1500 building where it’s our planning area.”

At the beginning of the school year, Assistant Principal Jay Milmed sent out an email to all MSD staff, explaining the circumstances of the COVID-19 isolation room. He said that they have put colored magnets on the door to alert staff when they can and cannot enter the area to use the restrooms.

“We looked everywhere that we could to find an isolation room that would not impact any teacher, staff or student. However, due to lack of space we chose the 1500 building administration office upstairs because no one uses that except for the two bathrooms inside,” Milmed said. “What we did was we put up a sign; one is for students, one is for staff. We also put a green and red sign on the door coming into that office, so that if it’s red you know do not come in. In between every child that comes and goes out of the isolation room we sanitize.”

This story was originally published in the October 2021 Eagle Eye print edition.