COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Northwest Local School District is crediting their district nurse with keeping their students and families healthy and safe during the pandemic.
Keva Brice has been the district nurse for the past five years, but she didn't plan on becoming a school nurse.
"I wanted to be that hospital nurse," she said. "I wanted to be that fast-action, emergency room hero, ICU hero."
Now she is being honored as just that: a hero. The Colerain Chamber of Commerce will honor Brice Thursday night for her tireless efforts during the pandemic.
"Keva and her nurses and staff worked overtime," Northwest Local School District spokesperson Lyndsey Creecy said. "We depended on her guidance to lead us through this.”
Brice helped set up a contact tracing system, organized vaccine clinics, and analyzed state and county COVID-19 stats to best advise district leaders. She also weighed in on the virus' disproportionate impact on minority communities, since about 50% of the district's students come from such communities.
"When the governor would lift a mandate, I looked at the information that said, ‘Is this appropriate for our district?’ It may be the norm outside in the community, but is this going to keep our kids safe that are here?" Brice said.
Brice's efforts resulted in the almost 9,000 students in the school district going back to in-person learning at the start of the school year.
“We found that students have lower quarantine numbers and lower positive cases than the school districts that were around us," Creecy said.
While the school district isn't the ER, the students and staff are grateful to have Brice, and she said she feels like this is the place for her.
"Our students are the students that I used to take care of in the hospital," Brice said. "They grow up. They continue to need support along the way. And I just feel like, this is where I’m supposed to be.”