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Hancock County Schools honor nurses

NEW CUMBERLAND — The Hancock County Board of Education expressed appreciation, Monday, to some of its own front-line emergency workers for their efforts to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dawn Petrovich and the board applauded many of those school nurses from the county who had stepped up to assist with COVID testing and vaccine distribution during the last year.

“We listed some of the main people, but that’s not all of them,” Petrovich explained.

In addition to working at the clinics organized through the Hancock County Health Department and other agencies, the school nurses were tasked with contacting school district employees and family members, as well as others who had registered to receive one of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

“This was a huge undertaking mandated by the state,” she said.

In particular, Monday’s meeting helped to recognize Kathy Dray, Licensed Practical Nursing coordinator and school nurse supervisor for the school system.

Dray, Petrovich observed, was tasked with overseeing all school nurses involved in the operation, as well as assisting with the pickup and delivery of the vaccines from Morgantown to the county each week.

“I’ve had a front-row seat for the entire county this year,” Dray said, reminding those in attendance or participating by phone that anyone 16 and older is eligible to receive the vaccine, if they choose to, in West Virginia.

Dray offered her own thanks to the county’s school nurses for volunteering with the effort.

“They are always there when I call them,” she said. “They always show up.”

Also recognized during Monday’s meeting were school nurses Jamie Starkey, Allison Elementary; Mary Lyons, New Manchester Elementary; Deborah DeCaria, Weirton Elementary; Rachel Wright-McKay, Oak Glen Middle; Jody Shenton, Oak Glen High; Kaitlyn Hawkins, Weir Middle; and Joy Rhodes, Weir High.

Dray also gave thanks to Dan Enich and the faculty and staff of the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center, as well as many of her current and former Licensed Practical Nursing students, and to Petrovich and county Health Director Jackie Huff.

She noted the school nurses offered their services as part of 28 clinics in the county, which, she said, was part of Hancock County continuing to rank in the top for vaccine distribution in West Virginia.

School Board President Dan Kaser noted he had taken his aunt to one of the clinics on Jan. 1, explaining he was amazed at how well-organized the effort was.

“I know the general public is not aware of how this transpired,” he said.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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