Groves Staff Feature: Kelly Hopkins, Groves Academy School Nurse

“Nurse Kelly is a huge asset to our community, especially this year! She has been instrumental in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic helping to implement our safety plan and our day-to-day logistics. She has worked tirelessly, going above and beyond her responsibilities, working nights and weekends, to make sure that our community is safe. Nurse Kelly is one-of-a-kind and we are extremely fortunate to have her at Groves.”  -Colin Roney, Assistant Head of School

How long have you worked at Groves?

Four years and four months.

Can you share more about your role as the school nurse and how it relates to Groves’ COVID response?

My role as a school nurse has changed quite a bit due to COVID. Pre-COVID every morning I would greet students in the atrium with handshakes, high fives, hugs, and chatting. Now it is checking to make sure students are wearing masks and guessing which student is behind those masks. I still care for injured or anxious kids throughout the day. However, now I have to be extra cautious. It’s hard to stop a bloody nose, remove a splinter, bandage a knee from six feet away as I try to limit contact with kids but being a nurse you do what you have to do.

My role now includes keeping track of all kids who are absent due to COVID-related illness or exposure. I work with a great team to track which student is out and for how long, following the Minnesota Department of Health decision tree.

Before COVID, a runny nose was no big deal and I would send students back to class. Now a runny nose is a much bigger deal.

What has been surprising, challenging, rewarding in this new time?

What surprises me the most is how compliant the kids are with wearing masks and social distancing. The most challenging thing is keeping up with the day-to-day attendance and who is out and when they can return. Luckily Groves has had very few cases. The most rewarding aspect is being able to continue to work on campus and see the students and how happy they are being at Groves.

I am very hopeful that school will soon return to its pre-COVID ways where students can mingle in the halls, eat together without barriers in the lunchroom, play sports, and be face-to-face with each other and teachers.

Describe some of your favorite moments/highlights while working at Groves.

Some of my favorite moments are when I can make a sad kid happy just by talking to them, make a belly ache go away with a peppermint, stop a bloody nose in record time, put a bandage or an ice pack on that makes everything better and then the student thanks me with a smile. Groves is a great place to work.

How would you describe Groves in one word?


What makes Groves a special place?

I think Groves is special because of the relationships between families and staff and the teamwork that pours into each child to make them successful.

What are your hobbies and interests in your spare time?

I love animals—especially dogs. I have two dogs and I enjoy spending time with them. I love spending time with my grandkids, working in my perennial garden, going up north in the summer, and crafting.


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