By RICHARD SKOLNIK
Everyone in Los Alamos is pre-occupied with the fire. Most people in Los Alamos are also “done with COVID.”
Nonetheless, families with school age children in Los Alamos County need to understand that schools will reopen next week in the face of seven weeks of increasing rates of COVID infections in Los Alamos and several weeks of increasing infections among students and staff, as well. In fact, the rate of infection is now as high as almost any time other than the Omicron “surge.” In addition, CDC has just moved Los Alamos from its “Low” to its “Medium” category for COVID.
Given the present “wave,” our students and staff will face substantial risk of infection as they return to school. This will take place in an environment in which few staff or students are masking. In addition, smoke from the fires might keep students and staff indoors more than usual, further increasing viral exposure.
I am pleased that our Deputy Superintendent mentioned COVID in her May 12 letter to LAPS families. The measures she mentioned are necessary but not sufficient.
Thus, I would encourage our families with children in any level of schooling to:
- Keep informed about the rates and trends in infections in Los Alamos, so they can make informed decisions about staying safe
- Consider masking themselves and their children in schools and in other indoor public settings until this “wave of infections” declines
- Test their school-going children before the return to school, on a regular basis until this “wave” subsides, and after any potential exposure to the virus
- Test adults in the family on a regular basis and after possible exposure to the virus
- Mask at any crowded indoor public gatherings
(Richard Skolnik has written this letter in his personal capacity).