Two weeks after the Moscow School District released its only school nurse from her contract, the district is still looking for a replacement amid a shortage of health care workers across the state.

However, some local nurses have volunteered to step in as substitutes in the interim.

“As you can probably guess, nurses are hard to come by,” Moscow School District Superintendent Greg Bailey said. “We’ve had eight people that have stated they would try to work out some hours for us so we’re kind of piecemealing a schedule together to get us through.”

During a “Community Chat” on Zoom on Wednesday night, Bailey said the district would be conducting interviews for the open position next week.

Amy Conway, former nurse for the Moscow School District, was released from her contract mid-November after making a formal request the month before, which the board of trustees approved on the condition they could find a replacement. One of the district’s long-term substitute nurses has also been unable to work because of personal reasons.

“Our nurse left us for another job,” Bailey said. “We’ll be interviewing next week for that position and we think we have some good candidates.”

The district has been providing incentives to attract more talent and stay competitive with the local hospitals, according to Bailey. He told the Daily News on Wednesday that pay for the nursing substitutes has increased.

“We can’t go without them,” Bailey said. “It’s not really an option.”

He recalled a time recently when the position was so short-staffed that if an issue arose and they couldn’t get help from parents, the school’s next best option was to call 911.

Recently, the parents of diabetic children in the district have been helping monitor their children’s insulin levels during the day where the school nurse might typically have been doing so. Other staff members have stepped in where they can as well.

“Once again, the community has helped us out and we really appreciate that,” he said.

The district has not been immune to the hiring challenges experienced during the pandemic, according to Bailey. But he remains optimistic the nursing role will be filled soon.

“We appreciate these local nurses stepping in and we look forward to our interviews next week,” Bailey said. “Hopefully we can hire someone and get back on track.”

Palermo can be reached at apalermo@dnews.com or on Twitter @apalermotweets.

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