Tanya Regmont was nominated by her colleague, Lori Grein.
Her dynamic medical experience in a pediatric level II trauma center provides Tanya Regmont with a unique perspective as she continues to help navigate the challenges of COVID-19 for students, families and staff at Rochester Community Schools (RCS).
For many years, Regmont was the nurse leader for the Royal Oak Beaumont Pediatric Emergency Center, located in a high-traffic hospital delivering high-level patient care. There, she directed a team of first responders who relied on the ABCs of emergency assessment and care: airway, breathing and circulation. Now, as the school nurse for more than 15,000 RCS students, she leads complex wellness efforts across 21 schools. The ABCs of safety in the classroom are slightly different than a hospital, but still require thorough assessment and evaluation to mitigate health risks and focus on well-being with a focus on the “whole child.”
In early 2020, when medical experts around the world were beginning to talk about the highly transmissible COVID-19 coronavirus, Regmont’s clinical and educational hybrid lens became particularly useful in a large school district that spans 21 K-12 schools, a childcare center, plus special education and adult education programs.
“It was a mass triage situation,” she said. “Infection control and universal precautions were front and center everywhere. Our homes, schools and communities were reliant on the expertise of health care providers. Information was changing rapidly as we learned more about this devastating virus. At each step, we used evidence-based best practices to keep our children as safe as possible.”
Quickly and continuously, Regmont educated RCS families and staff about infection control measures. She instituted increased hand washing, trained staff on viral spread, and raised awareness about mitigation strategies. She conducted contact tracing, was in daily contact with county and state public health officials, and she shared compassion with families who had questions and concerns.
“Our family was grateful for Tanya’s patience as she provided personalized guidance and clarity about COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and quarantine,” said RCS parent Amy DiCresce. “Her expertise and empathy brought a sense of calm as we tried to make responsible, thoughtful decisions to protect the health of ourselves and others in our community. We are truly fortunate to have such a kind and highly trained professional working directly with families to meet our complex needs in our homes and in our schools.”
Reflecting on the school protocols and decision-making processes during the height of the pandemic, Regmont said she is most proud of the “collaboration and shared commitment to children at Rochester Community Schools.”
“For a clinician to have a seat at the table as part of our student-centered school teams was critical,” she said. “It illustrates that RCS truly values whole-child wellness. By understanding student needs and maximizing district resources, we were steadfast in our goal to keep kids healthy and ready to learn at school.”
With a public-health and infection-control perspective, Regmont advised principals and teachers about temporarily eliminating shared school supplies, adding time during the instructional day for increased hand washing, encouraging outdoor lessons for mask breaks, providing scientific facts about viral spread on common surfaces, and giving certain classroom toys and items “breaks” to mitigate transmission among students. “We worked together for a fact-based approach to keep our students safe in RCS classrooms,” she said.
For two months, during the height of the pandemic, Regmont was redeployed to direct patient care when local health care facilities were stretched thin. She was proud to serve her community during that challenging time. It fueled her to return to the school community to continue building a comprehensive school health program. “We want to grow with focus and intention,” she said.
As the COVID-19 cases continue to decline in our school district, Regmont is returning to more familiar roles, like coordinating personalized plans for medically fragile children and those with complex school management needs. She is central to the multidisciplinary teams that serve children through collaboration with school secretaries, teachers, bus drivers, lunch room staff, teammates, coaches, parents and students—all of whom play a part in improving student wellness and personal success.
Each year, Regmont provides first-aid training to the school team members who serve as first responders for students who may need daily insulin monitoring, allergy response, medication administration, chronic illness management, and more.
Additionally, she trains nursing students to advance the profession and stay current in areas of related medical literature. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Michigan and experience in critical incident management and disaster readiness, Tanya Regmont serves the fields of health care and education in perfect balance. Her comprehensive approach to student wellness is a benefit to Rochester Community Schools.
“Tanya Regmont is a dedicated public servant who continually strives for excellence. We are deeply honored to have a nursing professional of her caliber leading efforts to promote the health and well-being of our students, staff and families. With an abundance of love and compassion, Tanya pours her whole heart into her work, and always puts the needs of our children first. She is truly changing lives every day,” said Debi Fragomeni, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning.
"Our district nurse is an important part of our educational team. Tanya Regmont is truly a LifeChanger who makes a difference in the lives of students, staff and community members across the RCS district," said Grein.