The Rundown: Highlights From Last Week's Discussions
Sunday, July 19, 2020
Posted by: Nat Saltonstall
This past week's SPARC conversations provided a wealth of new information as Director's shared information and discussed their current challenges. Here are a number of items that were overheard:
On-Campus Summer Programs
- The revised programming still brings joy, fun, and friendship to the children participating.
- Children are surprisingly adaptable when it comes to wearing masks, especially 4-7 year olds. Campers are willingly and effectively wearing masks as part of their “new normal.”
- The most common COVID cases are arising at the staff level rather than the camper level.
- Temperature-taking as part of symptom screening can be inconsistent at times due to ineffective equipment or overheated children.
- The delay is receiving test result is proving to be a challenge when schools are responding to a suspected case.
- School reopening task forces would benefit from observing the summer programs on their campus (if they have them). There are many lessons being learned through direct experience that would inform planning processes.
Virtual Summer Programs
- Registration has been less than expected for the majority of schools running virtual programs. Although some schools have seen strong numbers.
- Virtual youth experiences have been largely successful overall. Children still make friends, have fun, and learn new skills.
- Some Directors have learned that 3 hours is too long a virtual session for many age groups.
- Many programs have utilized supply kits as part of their programming.
- Parent involvement is high in virtual programs.
- Breakout rooms are popular.
- Some programs have used weekly surveys to gather feedback from families and to make ongoing improvements.
After School Program Preparation
- Most schools have chosen to move their enrichment programs online
- Many after school directors have not been effectively included in their school’s reopening planning process.
- Cohorting is the greatest challenge when it comes to planning after school programming. Some schools are maintaining strict cohorts through the extended day hours, while others are allowing secondary cohorts.
- Many after school directors are concerned about their staff.
- After school directors are moving as much programming outdoors as possible, reducing the use of shared objects, and trying to implement no-touch games.
Health Q&A Highlight with Dr. Bravo and Dr. Altman
- Wear masks, wear masks, wear masks…it’s one of the most important risk mitigation strategies for both faculty and students.
- Masks and cloth face coverings are generally better than face shields.
- Physical distancing is our best defense. Most schools are adhering to the CDC 6’ expectation rather than the 3’ identified by the AAP.
- Cohorting is an effective risk mitigation strategy, particularly because it limits how many people may get swept up in contact tracing when someone is sick. Strict cohorting is a preferable strategy from purely a health perspective but but doctors
acknowledged that it is reasonable to use secondary cohorts in after school programs and at other times of the day.
- Screening can be shared between school and home.
- Temperature checking does not to have to be included in the school screening, but can be helpful as one criteria.
- The doctors recommended using 100.0 as the temperature cutoff.
- Secondary screening later in the day prior to after school programs is advisable.
- Test result delays are making it difficult for schools to make appropriate decisions in their response too suspected cases.