Milford school nurse featured in People magazine

MILFORD — A school nurse in Milford is getting some national media attention.

Mispillion Elementary School’s nurse Sue Smith was featured in a People magazine article about returning to school in the COVID-19 era. The issue appeared on newsstands Friday.

“It was exciting,” she said of the experience. “They interviewed me a few weeks ago, and I didn’t know what would happen and all, and then, they called and asked for a picture.”

Ms. Smith feels strongly that kids should be back in school buildings.

“Educators are essential employees now,” she said. “We need to get our kids back to school the safest way we can.”

Although Ms. Smith is both asthmatic and 62 years old, two factors that put her at relatively high risk, she is still excited for the new school year.

“I’m absolutely happy to be back,” she said. “We need some normalcy for our families and all of our students in our community.”

Ms. Smith has been a school nurse for 25 years. She thinks People wanted her perspective because of her extensive experience, but also because she was named the 2019 Nurse of the Year by the Delaware School Nurses Association.

Additionally, Ms. Smith said she was a good source because over the summer, she served in a group formed by Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Department of Education called the Health and Wellness Workgroup for School Reopening. The members assessed the state’s plan to send kids back to school.

Ms. Smith was very confident in the Milford School District’s COVID-19 protocol for the coming school year, as some students get ready to return for their first day of in-person classes Monday.

“We will be doing temperature checks when the students come into the building,” she said. “All of our students will be wearing masks from kindergarten through 12th grade. Our desks are separated in the classroom.”

Ms. Smith said that this year, parents should expect to be contacted by the nurse’s office more frequently, as she will send any children who demonstrate symptoms of the virus home as soon as possible.

“We’re asking our parents to do assessments of their children,” she said. “If they have a fever, please don’t send them to school. The biggest thing is mind yourself, mind your surroundings and follow the protocols.”

Reach staff writer Noah Zucker at