The virus continues to dominate the local and national news. While we hoped that it would slowly disappear from our lives, its lingering effects continue to drive decisions for schools and families. Locally, our hospitals continue to be full, now with an increase in infected children in the data. In August in St. Louis, 1-2% of children diagnosed were hospitalized. Out of all patients who were hospitalized, 30% were adolescents or children who experience underlying health conditions or obesity.
According to the pediatric medical experts in St. Louis, there is an uptick in children diagnosed with COVID-19 after primary caregivers indicated testing for the virus wasn’t necessary. If your child becomes symptomatic, please continue to rely on your pediatrician as well as notify me immediately. There may be internal school information that can be provided for the decision making process of whether to test or not. Also, hospitals are asking families to avoid going to emergency departments for COVID-19 testing as this needlessly exposes children to a number of diseases while waiting for testing and takes valuable time away from the healthcare professionals for emergency situations.
I evaluate community events with the overriding question of, “What is the risk for my students?” The Making Lemonade party this Friday is an adult only outdoor event. With the high vaccination rate of our parent population, it is low risk for our students. As I look forward to October, I hesitate to host Trunk-r-Treat, even though it takes place outdoors. While it is a school sponsored event, it is impossible to emulate the mitigation strategies used in the school setting to facilitate the safety we have come to know during the week. Instead, we can use appropriate protocols at the Halloween parade, Halloween parties, the Scholastic Book Fair, and the Pumpkin Glow, all scheduled on Friday, October 29th. Please mark your calendars as Halloween is a great opportunity for us to celebrate!
I want to thank parents for the cooperative spirit last week as we ferreted through situations that indicated COVID testing or quarantine. In every conversation, I received support and respectful interactions. Decisions regarding the safety of the children, and how they may impact individuals in our community, can be difficult at times. When dealing with virus scenarios, thank you for thinking of the greater good and thank you for supporting the tenets of our mission: respect, responsibility, and leadership.