Over the summer, Cammi Bell, RN, MS, joined our staff as the health coordinator. With decades of experience as a school nurse and a Nurse Manager and Clinical Nurse Specialist in the NICU at California Pacific Medical Center, Cammi is using her expertise to guide our campus health and safety programs this year, in addition to serving as our school’s health liaison with Marin County Health and Human Services. Cammi has helped us mitigate our risk of COVID exposure on campus through multiple measures, including facial coverings, frequent hand-washing, outdoor instruction, and physical distancing.
We feel good about what we’ve achieved on campus, but life doesn’t stop there. Below, Cammi answers common questions about and offers advice on how to stay safe outside of school.
As we settle into our second month of school, a few questions have come up from parents about being in school yet also being a part of a larger community. I wanted to share some of those questions and provide guidance for you as you plan. These answers are based on all the latest information we have from the Marin County Department of Health.
What are the safest activities to participate in outside of school?
The safest activities to participate in outside of school are those that follow the Marin County Department of Health guidelines for recreational activities. The county has revised its guidelines and currently allows students to participate in ONE activity outside of school. Of particular interest may be the Arts and Entertainment section which covers museums, aquariums, parks, etc. and the Childcare and Youth Programs tab which covers cohort activities and Youth Sports.You can reference the county website here https://bit.ly/30nyv9u
How can I safely visit our grandparents or other older family members without putting them at risk?
Grandparents and elderly relatives are in a category of individuals that are considered high risk because of their age and potentially because of other medical conditions. The best way to keep them safe is to minimize any contact with potentially infected individuals. Since you are attending school and seeing a small, stable cohort of people daily, you are already at a higher risk of infection and should restrict your contact with those people as much as possible. When you do visit your relatives, it is important to wash your hands frequently, wear a face covering while you visit, and maintain a 6-foot distance from them as much as possible.
Can siblings come to play dates?
No. We are not allowed to mix cohorts. We are following the county guidelines that require stable cohorts and require that those cohorts do not mix. The county understands that siblings are in different cohorts and live together, and they do allow for this small amount of stable mixing. However, allowing siblings to come to playdates would allow haphazard and random mixing of many different cohorts and that is strictly prohibited by the county.
Am I allowed to have play dates with children from other cohorts?
No. For the same reason siblings are not allowed to come to play dates.
Can I carpool with children in other cohorts? Some students schools are using school buses, so is carpooling different?
Carpooling is prohibited. The county does not allow cohort mixing and carpooling would violate this rule. In addition, a carpool means you are traveling in an enclosed space, typically for more than 15 minutes, which is in opposition to the required rules for distancing. Schools that are using school buses for student transport have strict health protocols in place for how the students will be managed on the bus, health screening for the driver of the bus, and cleaning and sanitation practices in the vehicle. Marin Waldorf School cannot enforce those types of protocols for casual carpools.
Can I use a public swimming pool?
The county allows for use of a public swimming pool under these guidelines https://bit.ly/33is9tY
Planning Safe Play Dates
Some other items for consideration. For safe play dates, consider planning them with only one or two other children in the cohort to keep it consistent. If you would like to safely celebrate your child’s birthday, let them celebrate with their play date student.
And of course the same rules apply when hosting a friend off campus as they do in school: Wash your hands, wear a mask (with a few safely distanced mask breaks thrown in), and stay distanced. We want to model the same safe health behaviors for our kids wherever they may be. The goal is to minimize any additional exposures to your child and your family. The more we continue to contain and slow the spread of COVID this fall, the more likely it will be that we can safely navigate the cold and flu season and begin to open up in the spring.