NYC schools could lose 400 nurses as federal relief funds expire

NYC schools could lose 400 nurses as federal relief funds expire

New York City public schools could lose hundreds of nurses next year, as the city faces the expiration of billions of dollars in one-time federal COVID relief funds.

For years, many education programs have been propped up by the federal funds, including $65 million that supported roughly 400 contracted nurses, some of whom provide care at buildings that previously lacked a school nurse. But as that money dries up later this year, the future of those nurses and other school programs funded by the federal dollars remains uncertain.

Last month, officials announced the city’s Education Department would see its budget shrink by 2.4%, or $808 million, in the next fiscal year — largely spurred by the expiring federal funds. With the disappearance of the relief money, Mayor Eric Adams’ latest budget proposal allocated more than $500 million in city and state funds to preserve some of the programs it funded, including hundreds of social workers, staffers in homeless shelters, and preschool for 3-year-olds. Others, however, remain at risk.

Currently, every public school has a nurse or school-based health center, according to city officials. If a school nurse calls out sick or is otherwise unavailable, then a contracted nurse is deployed to that school to provide coverage.

“We’re grateful to the stimulus funding that has allowed us to ensure every school has a school nurse on site, and we will continue to advocate for and prioritize this need through the budget process,” said Jenna Lyle, a spokesperson for the city’s Education Department.

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