This past week, in addressing our 8th grade graduates, Fr. John referenced Charles Dickens' great work A Tale of Two Cities. The opening line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...” is easily one of the most recognizable even outside of literary circles. No doubt, the year 2020 will hold the distinction of being among “the worst of times” for the foreseeable future. But, as is so often the case, the worst of times brings out the best in people. Nowhere was that more apparent than among this community! Parents, students (big and small), grandparents, extended family, OLMC parishioners, community members--the list of people who helped make our school year a success is long. Each one contributed in a unique way and all should rightfully share in the joy and celebration of what has been accomplished!READ MORE
One evening, years ago, while working in the emergency room, a young physician did something that left a lasting impression on me. Things were moving along at the usual rapid pace when we were alerted to two patients from a serious motor vehicle accident, en route. For the next hour, many of the nurses and doctors worked to resuscitate and stabilize these patients. Meanwhile, people who had come to the ER for treatment of injuries and illnesses of a less acute nature, waited. This did not sit well with one patient.READ MORE
This past week, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization of its COVID vaccine in those 12-15 years of age (current authorization is for those over the age of 16). It is expected that EUA will be granted this week and the Pfizer vaccine could be available to your children within two weeks. In all aspects of healthcare, prior to administering treatment we seek “informed consent”. That means that the patient is given all the necessary information, based on sound scientific data and the clinical experience of medical professionals, to make a decision that is best for them.READ MORE
Over the past several weeks, many have asked why the infection mitigation strategies we have used since reopening, especially pertaining to mask wearing, have not been removed. These same issues have been discussed, at length, with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health’s School Health Team. At this time, we are engaged in what we in healthcare call “watchful waiting”. That may sound like nothing. In fact, it is something. Webster defines watchful waiting as “a policy of taking no immediate action with respect to a situation or course of events but of following its development intently.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary)READ MORE
I remember, as a child, playing on the teeter-totter with my best friend (the kids are all like, “A WHAT??”). The ups, the downs and the occasional hard bump, were all good fun. But, the greatest thrill lay in that strangely magical rare moment when we found ourselves perfectly balanced in mid-air. No teeter, no totter. Just two friends, on the opposite ends of a linear board, enjoying a tranquil state of equilibrium and stability--until one decided to jump off!READ MORE
During the 4th century B.C. Philip II of Macedon sent notice to the Spartans, “If I invade Laconia you will be destroyed, never to rise again.” Famously, the Spartan magistrates replied with a single word--”IF”.
Over the past year, we have had to deal with many “Ifs” – those terrifying predictions of future circumstances that may or may not occur, but challenge us to be prepared. Most recently, public health officials have raised concerns over the potential for another surge in COVID cases throughout Arizona, based on what is occurring in other parts of the country, and the threat posed by emerging variant strains of the coronavirus.READ MORE
Scranton, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of President Joe Biden and the affable Michael Scott, was recently ranked number one on the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s “2021 Allergy Capitals: The Most Challenging Places to Live With Allergies''. While it seems everyone here is sniffing and sneezing, it may come as a surprise that Phoenix doesn’t show up until #68 on the list. Allergic conditions are among the most common medical conditions affecting people in the United States with more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies every year (AAFA 2021 Allergy Capitals). Given the date on the calendar, and our recent weather, spring indeed has sprung and with it allergy season.READ MORE
In her poem, A Light exists in Spring, Emily Dickinson speaks of the season of rebirth and light with such eloquence that the reader can virtually see the darkness being overtaken.
This past week, several announcements provided some light and hope for a “return to normal”. The first was the announcement on Monday, that vaccines will now be available to anyone aged 16 and up. Information regarding vaccines is available here: Eligibility-and-Prioritization.READ MORE
This past week, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the sixth graders, who have been studying the cardiovascular system, and teach them how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). The presence of the two AEDs on our campus, for more than a decade, is evidence of the concern for the health, safety and well being of the OLMC community that preceded the current pandemic. In talking with the students about heart disease, heart attack and sudden cardiac death, I couldn’t help but see the similarities between helping a person manage their heart disease and understanding how we can continue to succeed in managing the possibility of infection during this pandemic.READ MORE
On March 5, 2020, we left school for a Spring Break that never ended. This past Friday marked the one year “anniversary” of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As anniversaries go, this is one to remember more than celebrate. We all know, too well, the challenges of the past year. But, looking back at where we were in comparison to where we are does provide some reasons to celebrate and to be especially thankful. We know much more about the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and how to safely operate school in the midst of a pandemic than we did one year ago. Further, in March of 2020, a Phase 1 clinical trial of a potential vaccine (m-RNA) against COVID was begun with 45 people (NIH Clinical Trial Investigational COVID-19 Vaccine).READ MORE
“Just Do It”, one of the world’s most recognizable slogans, meant to encourage everyone to abandon excuses and engage. With two of the three statewide benchmarks for COVID-19 spread now in the “moderate” category for Maricopa County and numbers trending down, there is reason for hope. This week, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, following the lead of the CDC, released updated guidance for K-12 schools in the setting of the pandemic (K-12-Schools-and-Childcare-Facilities).READ MORE
Over the past several weeks, the 7th & 8th graders have been busy conducting trials, gathering data and observing the outcomes of experiments to prepare for the upcoming Science and Engineering Fair. Having a basic understanding of the “Scientific Method”--how hypotheses are formed and tested--is important for all, not just those who seek a future occupation in the scientific disciplines. This is no more apparent than during the current Pandemic. From the onset, we have been inundated with reports and updates, research, studies, trials and experiments, often confusing, at times contradictory. Knowing how to return to, read and interpret, the source of a report is an invaluable skill.READ MORE
Res ipsa loquitur - a Latin phrase, most familiar to those practicing law or medicine, translates to “the thing speaks for itself”. It is commonly understood to apply to cases and circumstances where facts and evidence are so clear they need no further explanation. This past Friday, the Centers for Disease Control published an article titled Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in K-12 Schools. Following data analysis from numerous schools, with various models of instruction, nationally and internationally, it was found that “When a combination of effective mitigation strategies is implemented and strictly adhered to in the K-12 in-person learning environment, the risk of transmission in the school setting appears to be lower than or equivalent to the transmission risk in other community settings.”(CDC February 12, 2021)READ MORE
In January 2019, an article titled The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health was published in Pediatrics (Pediatrics 2019; 143). In this article, the authors Drs. Allison and Attisha provide evidence that chronic absenteeism, even in early grades, is related to “grade retention, poor academic achievement, particularly for social skills and reading” and that these markers of poor school performance are associated with poor health outcomes as adults. At OLMC, we have long recognized the importance of student attendance.READ MORE