A message from Tom Lilly – OCS President
None of you want me for a doctor! I’m not sure you even want me prying a splinter out of your finger. But I did spend 10 years in healthcare at an executive level and I’ll never forget a clinician telling me during an orientation that “If you forget to wash your hands between room visitations, you could literally be the cause of someone’s death!”
That was a sobering reality.
Most children have NOT been severely impacted by the coronavirus. This is great news. Their bodies are adapting and building immunities for the next round of disease that they face. But they DO transmit the disease. There is a reason why the hospital put a tent outside their emergency room last week. The potential for the Delta Virus to wreak more havoc in families and our healthcare system is a real concern for the medical community. They are preparing for increased transmissions and have asked us to do the same.
The Delta variant is much more contagious and more likely to do damage to the unvaccinated and vulnerable. For most it will simply be a bad cold or a flu. It was always stated that the efficacy rate for the vaccine was somewhere between 93-95%, which means five to seven vaccinated people out of a hundred are also going to get the disease (and possibly transmit it). The J&J vaccine had a 65% efficacy rate. But these “breakthrough” cases are rare.
Our local medical community, including many physicians, believe it would be wise to mask our children indoors right now until this version of the coronavirus has run its course. This is also the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. That doesn’t mean every physician agrees with the decision, but there is a majority of specialists in the field who advise us to help mitigate transmissions and the damage that it can cause. The decision also makes sense from a quarantine standpoint. If one child tested positive for COVID in a classroom, it’s likely EVERY student could be infected and would be quarantined for 14 days. We already know there is no substitute for at-school learning. Quarantines wreaked their own form of chaos in our homes last year.
There is some evidence that while the Delta Variant comes in like a lion, it could recede quickly in a few weeks. We just don’t know. It is our sincere hope and desire to get rid of masks as quickly as we are told it is safe. Nobody wants to wear a mask, but we’ve been asked to, “do these things out of an abundance of caution but, above all, out of an abundance of charity for our neighbor.”
So once again as we start the school year, we ask for your patience, prayers, and support. Send your teacher a nice card. Explain the situation to your children. And let us all be grateful for the men and women who spend their lives dedicated to our healthcare.