The following letter was sent to us by Dr. Leah Costello. Dr. Costello is a local pediatrician and a parent in one of our CVSD schools. She is also one of the pediatricians who supports and consults with CVSD for our reopening efforts. This letter was unsolicited. She asked that we pass it along to our families and faculty/staff.
Last night my son Theo had trouble falling asleep so he and I did a mindfulness activity on gratitude. He is grateful for going back to school 4 days a week.
He is not alone. I see kids in my office all day who feel this way. And honestly, as a parent, I feel this way too.
As part of my role in the CVSD reopening, I have been meeting with teachers as they reopen grades K-4. I am amazed at how our teachers, staff, and administrators are bending over backward to keep our children safe at school. There are so many guidelines! I read the revised document last Friday, it is 41 pages! All I had to do was read through the revisions, but our schools have to make sure every piece of that 41-page document is in place to keep our kids safe. Incredible! Send your schools a thank you note, and coffee and healthy snacks while you are at it!
Parents and guardians, it is now our turn to step up and show that same level of commitment to our community. It is our job to keep COVID 19 out of the schools. Luckily, we don't have a 41 -page document with guidelines we have to follow! We actually have it much easier than the schools. We have a 3 step process to follow "Six-foot spaces, Mask on faces, Uncrowded places." But parents, I think we can go farther than that. Think about what is truly essential in your day to day activities. If you really need to do an activity, then do it with safety measures in place. If you think about it and realize it is not truly an essential activity, then revise your plans to a safer alternative. The schools are making sacrifices for us and we need to do the same for them.
Here is the really hard part. We need to seriously think about the upcoming holidays and how we can keep our children, teachers, and schools safe and healthy. This might mean it is not safe to see out of state family or have extended family gatherings for the holidays. If many of us travel and COVID 19 cases increase to a critical point, we may be in the same position we were in the spring. We need to do everything we can to prevent that! Changing our holiday plans is really hard, I know. I am devastated about this too - family and friends are extraordinarily important to us.
Vermont continues to lead the country in the management of COVID 19. We continue to have a very robust and phenomenal contact-tracing program to find cases and prevent the spread of the virus. Despite that, we still have cases of COVID 19 and we are NOT immune. Please do your part to keep COVID 19 out of the schools so we can keep our kids in school and our schools healthy. This is on us, parents, and I know we can do it.
If you have questions about your upcoming holiday plans please reach out to the Vermont Department of Health to discuss - call 802-863-7240 or see their FAQ page.
Leah Costello, MD
Timber Lane Pediatrics