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.

Realizing that the risk of injury is greater on the playground than in the classroom, a protocol for playground safety has been developed (Playground Safety) and a plan for increased supervision in the playground area has been adopted. The goal of these actions is to allow children the full enjoyment of the new play equipment while simultaneously maintaining a safe play environment, for all. Similarly, the mitigation strategies outlined in the “Smart, Healthy & Holy” Guidelines (available on the school website) are meant to establish and maintain an environment where all can have full access to everything OLMC has to offer.

The counts for COVID cases continue to rise and the current 7-day average for Maricopa County is 1,583 cases (Epidemic Curve). Additionally, this past week a number of elementary schools have reported cases of infection necessitating the quarantine of entire classes (Return to remote learning due to COVID outbtreak). Considering the current state of the pandemic and to limit the chance of members of the school community (students/teachers/staff) being exposed to, becoming ill with, or transmitting the coronavirus, we will begin our year with limited mitigation strategies in place: Increased hand hygiene, physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting as indicated, and appropriate masking. Everyone who is on campus is being asked to wear a mask indoors, when in close proximity to others as we are not asking for vaccination status. When the recommended physical distance (3 feet) between students is maintained, a mask is not needed. Masks do not need to be worn upon arrival, dismissal, when outdoors (during PE, recess), or during lunch time.

Please review with your student these guidelines as they are different (less masking) from last year and send them to school with a couple of masks in their backpack. It is disappointing, to say the least, to be embarking on another school year and find ourselves contending with the unrelenting threat of the coronavirus. Certainly, no one is happy about having to “mask-up”. But, when faced with the negative thoughts that such circumstances can bring, I think back to last school year. What I remember is, not the hours I had to wear a mask or the countless times I washed my already raw hands, but the smiles, laughter and joy of our students as each one had the opportunity to be in-person, in a classroom, with a teacher who loved them on a campus built for them!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!