By Karyl McGill
We’ve officially completed two months on campus — wow! While no one knew exactly what this school year was going to look like, we’re pleasantly surprised — not only with the vigilance and commitment to great hygiene in our school community, but also the true embodiment of our motto "Each for All."
From one colleague performing temperature checks to another directing traffic in the morning — I’m so impressed. Without a peep, everybody just does it. By and large, our GFA family gives 200% every day of the week. By Fridays, we may be exhausted, but we’re making a true difference.
Of course, there’s constant attention on COVID-19, but we still have a daily job to do. No matter the division or your role, this year has presented its own unique challenges. We’re going out to the classrooms more so we’re not seeing kids in the office as much, and trying to understand kids’ expressions through a mask is a challenge — not to mention we haven’t seen some of these kids since March! They change so much, but even if we can only see half of their faces, it’s so good to see them in person.
Reopening brought anticipation. Before school started, I had colleagues asking, "Are you nervous to open?" and I would respond, "No, I’m not." I feel — and we continue to do this — we are taking every precaution necessary.
The kids are amazingly well at doing what they’re doing. I’m so impressed with how careful they are. The positive attitude that everybody here is putting forth makes these kids feel much more positive about this whole experience. No one can discount how hard this is for both the adults and the kids. Trying to stay positive when a lot of us are feeling crabby and frustrated is really important. Sometimes you have to sit back and think, "Wow, our kids are so lucky to be here."
But we don’t take one day for granted! As the holiday season approaches, keep these few tips in mind:
- The CDC has recently changed what the definition of a COVID-19 exposure is.
Direct exposure is now defined as an individual who has had close contact with a confirmed case for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
- Pay attention to the list of red travel states.
The list is constantly changing — what the list looks like today may be completely different a few weeks from now.
- There is an incubation period.
You should wait at least 72 hours and quarantine prior to being tested. Ideally, the best day to get tested would be five days post-potential contact. The PCR test is the “gold standard” for detecting COVID-19. The rapid test has a high degree of false negatives.
- Don’t let your guard down.
Be careful of what you do outside of your family circle. You know how careful you’ve been, but you don’t know how careful other people have been.
- Because I have my mask on, I’m protecting you.
I will continue to do this. It’s not always comfortable or what we’d like to do, but we keep soldiering on not just because we don’t have another choice, but also because we want to be here and be together.