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Three of the Spunky Nurses Who Ensure a Healthy Deerfield
Caroline Mahony '21 Staff Writer
February 21, 2021

You see them at least once every week. Three lively women spend their Tuesdays and Thursdays stationed in the upper level track above the turf in the new Athletics Complex, dedicating their time to making sure Deerfield stays virus-free. 

On the far left sits Karen York, who grew up in South Deerfield. “I’ve known people who have come here and know the area, so it’s interesting to now work here,” she explained.

To the right of Karen sits Alexx Bunn, who was inspired to join the healthcare industry after her grandmother fell ill several years back, and has continued working in the industry for more than ten years. In her free time, Ms. Bunn enjoys cooking, eating, singing, and going to the gun range, which she finds “therapeutic.” 

Ella Mbanefo ’22

At the other end of the table sits Lisa Toro, originally from New York. Lisa studied at UMass Amherst and started working as a certified nursing assistant more than twenty-five years ago. 

All three of these self-identified “spunky” testing coordinators have enjoyed working at Deerfield so far, especially since they have been moved from their initial location in the tennis pavilion to a much warmer and cozier spot on the indoor track. Ms. Toro, Ms. Bunn, and Ms. York have enjoyed getting to know Deerfield students and faculty throughout the Fall and Winter and are starting to recognize the faces of the Deerfield community. 

Ms. Toro commented that she could identify “about 75%” of the students, faculty, and community members that come through to get tested every week. Lisa also described how she and her colleagues could identify community members, even from far away. She said, “We know their walks, we know their style, and we’re like yeah, that’s so-and-so.” Ms. Toro added that Ms. Bunn’s specialty was twins. “Whatever twin comes around, [Alexx] knows which one is which.” 

Ms. Bunn, Ms. Toro, and Ms. York pride themselves in connecting with the Deerfield community and getting to know everyone, even the youngest faculty children. 

Even with the advent of coronavirus, all three of the testing coordinators agreed that many of the responsibilities of their jobs have been similar, with the exception that they now practice with significantly more PPE. However, they still have had the experience with the safety measures the virus has brought. Ms. Bunn noted that normally she would be “gowning up” whenever she was to come in contact with a patient with an infection, so she is familiar with the precautions taken for COVID-19. 

Ella Mbanefo ’22

Ms. Toro stated that, to stay safe, all three of the nurses are tested three times a week. She said that, because of the nature of her job, “I don’t have room to get sick.” She added that she was grateful that she was able to receive the first dose of the vaccine as a healthcare worker.

Outside of work, the testing administrators occasionally go out to eat in Greenfield. However, none of them have been particularly pleased with the restaurants in Deerfield’s vicinity, except for Hangar, a restaurant also popular among students. Ms. Bunn joked, “Hangar is the only thing that can ‘hang’ around here!” 

The trio also enjoy each other’s company and get along well. Ms. York explained, “We have pretty big personalities, I think.” Ms. Toro agreed, saying, “Our personalities are really bright.” 

Ms. Bunn described the group as “spunky” and added — truthfully — “They’ll never find three more like us.”