‘Work for the People’

01-16-2022Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

To say that this past week was unsettling would be a tremendous understatement! For many, the daily reports of new COVID cases paired with the numerous media reports of school closures, or returns to the virtual classroom, reignited some fears long ago extinguished. The escalation in the number of COVID cases throughout the community this week was staggering 

(Maricopa County reported 14,186 cases for January 10, 2022 EPI Curve) and our school community was hit hard.

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Reality Check

01-09-2022Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Returning to school this past Monday was probably the most difficult task we have faced since the outset of the Pandemic (March 2020). The Omicron variant of the coronavirus began to spread rapidly while we were on break and because there was an absence of school based reporting and a hiatus from weekly meetings with the Health Department, what we would face upon our return was essentially unknown.

First, to clarify, “Omicron” is not a new virus. It is a variation of the same coronavirus that began circulating at the end of 2019. Following the Greek alphabet, we now reference the earliest strain of the coronavirus as the Alpha strain and the Delta strain has been responsible for the illness we have seen since July 2021. Viruses mutate, or change, over time, and coronaviruses (there are at least 11) are known to mutate frequently and quickly. (This was the subject of a Nurse’s Notes in March 2021 -Variations on a Virus).

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Out With the Old, In With the New?

01-02-2022Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

With the dawning of the New Year, there is a strong desire to discard things of “old” and start fresh and new. That is no more evident than in the ongoing Pandemic! Around the time of Fall Break, we were very optimistic that once January 2022 arrived we would be able to discard some of the infection control strategies we have gotten used to over the past two years. Adopting a “mask optional” policy in lieu of the current, very limited, requirements for masking (outlined in Smart, Healthy, Holy - August 2021) was a consideration. However, the emergence of the latest coronavirus variant (Omicron) has provided reason to stay with the current practices and protocols.

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Mercy Abounds

10-17-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

One of the joys of being in the front office is interacting with students who come in happily bearing “yellow” cards. Following OLMC’s Student Learning Expectations, this year’s focus is on being “Merciful”. The yellow cards are given to a student, by an administrator, teacher or staff member, when spontaneous acts of generosity, compassion, forgiveness or support towards another are witnessed. Each card details what the student did. No matter how small the act, it is celebrated! We want students to realize that collectively, seemingly small acts of mercy help to build a more compassionate and caring community.

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Fall Break Shouldn’t Break Us!

10-03-2021Nurse's LetterShannon David, RN, NCSN

Whether it’s the slightly cooler morning temperatures, the fading evening sunlight or simply the arrival of pumpkin spice everything--Arizona “fall” has arrived and with it “Fall Break”! Whereas, last year, boarding an airplane and traveling across the country, attending football games and concerts, or gathering in groups was discouraged, this year those things are possible. Recall that in October 2020, many restrictions related to the pandemic were still in place and a great fear of a surge in cases following fall break activities across the country, loomed. This year we have the benefit of all we have learned, having worked together, “Home & School”, to create and maintain a healthy environment in which our children can learn and grow.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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