Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving--kind of, sort of, partially, differently...

11-22-2020Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

In August, we certainly thought the coronavirus pandemic would be much better by the time Thanksgiving arrived. But, instead we find ourselves, once again, trying to balance the essentials of life with protecting ourselves from infection. This week, with evidence of increased community spread over the past month, some schools have decided to send their students back home. Many have asked, “Will OLMC remain open?” The answer to that question is, “We have planned to remain open”. The reality is that this is the first test of how effective our strategies are. Though we have been operating with extreme caution since opening school on August 17th, this is the first time that students have been in school when community spread has been on the rise. Recall that schools were closed in March and were not open in June when Arizona recorded the highest numbers for infection. (Confirmed COVID Cases by Day)

Public health officials have continued to advise schools that the decision to remain open needs to be based on the strength of the school’s mitigation plan and the situation within the individual school. For OLMC, a strong mitigation plan was developed and continues to be implemented. From the outset of planning for reopening, we have known that our greatest asset is the strength of our partnership, “Home & School”. By working together, we have created a safe environment for our children. To date, our school case count is “0” and our percent positivity (number of tests coming back positive/tests done) is “0”. We have students who have needed to quarantine because of contact with a COVID positive person outside of school. Their doing so stops transmission of the virus within our school. Given these factors, we have every confidence that we will get through this current surge with our students remaining on campus. Additionally, in August, the promise of a vaccine was a hope, today it is a reality and mere weeks away from distribution. (You can read the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to find out how this will happen. COVID-19 Vaccination Plan).

Over the years at OLMC, a particular visiting priest, celebrating the school Mass, would tell the kids to go home and let their parents know it was Thanksgiving Day! In April, this would draw quite a laugh and skepticism from the kids. But, he would explain, the word Eucharist is derived from the Greek word eucharistia and means ‘thanksgiving’ and as a “eucharistic people” our thanksgiving is not just one Thursday in November, it is everyday! Thanks be to God!