Potomac expands its nursing staff with the addition of Ms. Sajini Gundry, R.N.


Tess Weinreich, Executive Editor

As part of the school’s pandemic response, for the 2020-2021 school year, healthcare at Potomac is being held to a higher standard than ever before. Ms. Sajini Gundry, R.N. is joining Ellen Grass R.N., the school’s primary school nurse for over 20 years,. Like so much else, nursing in 2020 looks different -normal healthcare responsibilities at Potomac are now compounded by COVID-19 prevention and control.

“The job really became too much for one nurse. Our school is in an academic and medical situation we’ve never seen before, we’re trying to keep 1,100 students safe and healthy,” Nurse Grass said. “COVID-19 put us into a whole different stratum of medical care on campus and we needed someone with the experience level to match that,” she continued.

Given the expanded responsibilities of nursing during a pandemic, the school felt it was best to bring in additional personnel. Throughout June, Potomac’s Human Resources Department worked closely with Ms. Grass to interview several candidates. “It was important to us that nurse Grass play a prominent role in the process of selecting another nurse. She’s been here a long time and is an integral part of the community,” Ms. Danyel O’Farrell, Head of the Human Resources Department, said in a phone interview.

“Ultimately with her feedback and input from Mr. Jaeger we decided to offer Ms. Gundry the position,” she continued, referring to Mr. Tim Jaeger, the Assistant Head of School.

Ms. Gundry has experience in both school and hospital settings, nursing part-time at an independent school in Fairfax, as well as full-time in Virginia Hospital Center’s pediatric medical surgical unit. She also has experience caring for COVID-19 cases. 

The two will team up on the school’s nursing duties: Ms. Grass will fulfill the traditional responsibilities of a school nurse, while Ms. Gundry will focus on infection control and prevention. 

“It’s going to be very hands-on work to make sure everyone is as safe as possible. “I’ll be putting my feet down on COVID cases if they do occur,” Ms. Gundry said in a phone interview.

They will also work from different spaces. Ms. Grass will remain her office in the Middle School square, which is known as the “well room.” Two new “sick rooms” have also been introduced, in the Lower and Upper School, respectively, for students and faculty exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Ms. Gundry will split her time between these two spaces.

This fall, Ms. Gundry will help educate teachers and students on best practices for hand washing, keeping masks clean, and other key safety measures to ensure safety when in-person instruction resumes.

For the time being, though, most of her work has gone towards the development of safety protocols, which include an enforcement strategy, for the proposed return to campus in October. 

There’s a lot to do to prepare the school, but I can see that we’ve made a lot of progress already,” Ms. Gundry said.