Like elsewhere, B-A nurse, counselors spread thin


Corbin Nale

Nurse Kelly Hoover has a heavy workload, responsible for all students in grade 5-12.

Hailee McConnell, Staff Writer

The best scenario for student learning is individual attention and a small class size. 

In that area, Bellwood-Antis is a little better than the state average with about 1 teacher for every 20 students.

However, when it comes to physical and mental health things are a little different. There, Bellwood ranks right alongside every other school. 

Nationally the average is only one certified school nurse per 1,500 students at a given school, and only one school counselor per every 387 students. 

At B-A, Mrs. Kelly Hoover, the schoolnurse, serves 780 students while Mrs. Danielle McNelis and Mrs. Kayla Yearick, the high school and middle school guidance counselors, serve 390 each.

“It’s hard taking care of kids and trying to get paperwork and filing done,” said Mrs. Hoover.

I would say my job is very challenging … rewarding but challenging.”

— Mrs. McNelis

Mrs. Hoover said it would definitely be easier to have more help. She said tries not to get frustrated, but it’s hard working with as many kids as she does on a dialy basis. 

The hardest part about being a nurse is “trying to determine if a student is actually sick or they just want to get out of class,” said Hoover. 

Mrs. McNelis said the role of a school counselor has changed over the years.

“There are a lot of new and different responsibilities and a lot of students to serve per counselor,” said Mrs. McNelis. 

She said extra help would make her job more manageable and she would be able to have more time to work one-on-one with students. That’s because much of the work a guidance counselor does in 2020 isn’t counseling at all, ranging from scheduling to career research and counseling and standardized test preparation.

“Scheduling is time-consuming, but it’s just one part of what I do. School counselors wear a lot of different hats, and so it’s always a balancing act to do everything and to be available to everyone all the time,” said Mrs. McNelis. 

Mrs. McNelis doesn’t complain and said the only frustration comes from wanting to do and accomplish more than time allows.

“When you are responsible for almost 400 students, it can be overwhelming and hard to balance everything,” said Mrs. McNelis. 

Even though both jobs come with a lot of work, they are also very fulfilling.

“I would say my job is very challenging … rewarding but challenging,” said Mrs. McNelis.