Vaccines, Revisited and the Message Behind the Mask

09-26-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Among the greatest medical advances of the past 100 years, vaccines to prevent viral illnesses have had a profound impact on the health of the world’s population. Just one year ago, a vaccine to help control the spread of coronavirus was a hoped for possibility. The week before Christmas 2020, the vaccine became a reality. Like vaccines that predated it, the coronavirus vaccine has had a significant impact on the spread of illness. The data graphs for the weeks of initial vaccine administration (MCDPH Data) provide visual evidence of its effectiveness.


The Importance of Vigilance

09-19-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Tomorrow will see the occurrence of a “first” for this school year. It will be the first day that we have NO members of our school community in isolation or quarantine since the beginning of the current school year! Add to this--sports are back (with a record number of student athletes participating), field trips are scheduled, and community events are being planned--and it is not hard to see why we consider ourselves blessed! Within our school community, we are in a good place.


Exposures, Close Contacts & Quarantines

09-12-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Many have asked how exactly the school gets notified of a COVID positive case and what protocols are followed once that happens. As a strong testament to the strength of our “Home & School” partnership, in all cases, we have received notification through parents before it comes from the Health Department. “Self reporting”, as soon as possible, is so important because it gives the school the opportunity to respond quickly, when necessary. Critical aspects of our infection control strategies are the timely identification of those who are sick and need to be isolated and the timely quarantine of close contacts.


Trust of Not

09-05-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

The phrase, “Trust, but verify”, rooted in Russian proverbs and first introduced to Americans by President Ronald Regan in 1986, is used quite often in our common culture. It can be found on memes, coffee cups and t-shirts, and is frequently invoked by “friendly adversaries” as a sound philosophy for dealing with one another. While this approach can be understood on a geopolitical stage, it may not be the best approach amongst those desiring to build strong relationships within a community. Afterall, oftentimes the act of checking--verification--means there was no trust to begin with.


Safe Environments

08-29-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

In May of 2016, A World at School asked children, from all over the world, to draw pictures of what a safe school would look like. Though representing many different countries and cultures, the colorful drawings conveyed one unifying message: “that all children, no matter where they live or what their situation is, want to learn in a place that is safe and secure.” (Safe Schools in Drawings). The need for safety and security is so foundational that Maslow places it at the base of his Hierarchy of Needs.


Observational Learning

08-22-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

One of the greatest challenges, over the past 18 months, has been how to interpret and apply the many data points that track various aspects of the Pandemic. As most are aware, data is gathered at the global, continental, national, state and local levels (county, city, district) and can be easily accessed by anyone, at any time.


Team Play

08-15-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Upon first entering the office at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, numerous children are drawn to the glass fronted trophy cases holding many of the large, shiny trophies won by OLMC athletic teams over the years. Impressed Little Falcons often stand and gaze as if The Vince Lombardi, The Commissioner’s, or The Larry O’Brien Trophies sit on those shelves! Team sports play has always been a very important part of the OLMC school culture. While pandemic restrictions prevented sports play last year, this year--sports are back! Judging by student response (over 100 have signed up) our Falcons are eager to get back to the courts and fields.


Risk Management

08-08-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

For decades, the children of OLMC have made our parched, barren field their playground. With little complaint, they have found creative ways to exercise, play self-styled games and have even ”named” a few of the trees that surround the perimeter of that humble space! Witnessing the installation of the bright green and vibrant blue play structures--with slides, swings and climbing apparatus--has been a great source of joy over the summer months and we look forward to seeing the children try out the new equipment.


A Familiar Tune

07-25-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Yesterday, All my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay... (Yesterday, Lennon/McCartney)

When school was dismissed on May 27, 2021 for summer break, many left asking if things would be back to “normal” in the 2021-22 school year or if mitigation measures in response to the Pandemic would still be necessary. At that time, it was too soon to tell. We committed to monitoring the situation over the summer months, remaining up to date on current public health guidelines, and developing a plan of action that allows for the formation and education of our students in a safe environment.


The Best of Times

05-23-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

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!


Seeing the Unseen

05-16-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

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.


Vaccines Revisited

05-09-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

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.


Watchful Waiting

05-02-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

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)