The year begins in earnest…

We are off to a wonderful start for the new school year and the joy on faces was evident, even with masks in place. I think I saw almost every student yesterday and today, whether greeting on the sidewalk before and after school or peering through windows as classes working on initial routines and information that is always part of the early days. But, learning was also evident with math lessons in 2nd grade, writing in middle school, and background refreshers for upper school science students. Much engagement throughout the building to get new ideas flowing in the first day.

In opening assemblies, I shared with students that we have to treat the current situation just like a serious injury, like a broken leg or arm (many in the audience could relate and I saw two casts). I talked about how there are two stages to these types of injuries. The first stage is the initial intervention, meant at protecting from infection and making sure that everything is set right for the next stage of healing – putting the cast on. The second stage is recovery and recovery is always the longest part where we give the body the time it needs to repair and build back strength that was lost to the injury. The second stage requires the most resilience and patience. You have to nurture it and remain careful so that you don’t unintentionally cause more injury.

I suggested to all of the audiences that the COVID-19 pandemic is similar. Last year was the initial injury and we fought hard to find the end of the first stage through our practices and now vaccination. As we’ve seen, there are continued challenges associated with our recovery and we must remain diligent.

Late yesterday, we identified our first case – a middle school student. There was no exposure to the community, so I’m reporting it here rather than through a Special Update. There is reason to applaud because everything was done right in this instance:

  • The family returned from travels just before the start of school, like many of you.
  • They noticed symptoms in one of their children – a high temperature.
  • They isolated and contacted our nurses.
  • We arranged through Epixpert home testing
  • The result was received in the late afternoon and conversations shortly confirmed that there was no exposure to other students or community members

I can only thank the parent in this instance for a job well done!! The attestation and focus on potential symptoms were crucial in preventing any exposure to the school or other children. We should always default on the side of caution in this regard and this is the main reason for the daily survey. In this instance, I should also report that the student in question has previously had COVID. This confirms the literature that points to the potential for re-infection. The natural protection of recovered status seems to be limited to about 8-9 months, but the clear numbers are not yet certain and this is only an estimate.

Vaccination is a critical factor here and I want to remind you again that vaccination is available for ages 12 and up. Our next vaccination event is this coming Saturday, August 21, starting at 9a. We will be sending reminders tomorrow, but it’s not too late to sign up. The link is HERE. If not at school, you can find vaccination easily at local clinics and via many doctors. Also, please communicate your child’s vaccination status to our school nurse by sending a scan of vaccination cards to aswhealth@aswarsaw.org.

So, let the recovery continue with both patience and care. We continue to be a community dedicated to a common purpose, driven by our core values. We are always learning in the true spirit of education, and we encourage your comments and feedback at every step of the journey!

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