BY MARCY SHORTUSE- I wanted to take this opportunity to let you in on some things we are working on for next week, and they’re pretty important things. You see, in our little school on our little island, we have at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. It’s not a secret, it’s a fact.
It wasn’t for a lack of preparation, I can tell you that. How blessed we are to have just 60 kids in our school, and our head-of-school has a great plan in place. If you’ve read our previous articles on the preparations that were made you know that the kids are divided up into groups, they enter and exit their classroom through external doors, those groups eat together and recreate together. Masks are being worn, hygiene practices are fully enforced. Social distancing is happening at all times.
But what happens outside the classroom can’t be controlled. A virus is a virus, you can pick it up from the most innocuous of places, as we’ve learned. All it takes is one touch, one breath of air … and the ‘rona comes to visit.
The COVID is very real to us. The confirmed case at the school is someone in my youngest daughter’s class. She and I both are sick, but our test results aren’t back yet. We have had constant and close contact with the young’un who tested positive, so we’re pretty sure it’s Coronavirus.
To complicate matters further, I have three other children in two other schools. My son goes to Lemon Bay, my twins go to L.A. Ainger (my oldest, who doesn’t live at home, was cheerfully warned that no perfunctory visits home were a good idea at this time). It was nice to have a three-day weekend to sort out our friend’s test results, so no one in our house has been to school or work since Friday. My son and twins are at their grandfather’s house and have no symptoms, but they were here all last week. They are out of school, of course, until their test results come back, and they are staying far away from us, the infected ones.
You don’t realize how complicated this gets until the virus stops by your house and hits you in the face like a dirty Kleenex. What happens if we test positive and the other kids test negative? What if we, the sick ones, test negative? We are lucky enough to have the kids’ grandfather near us so the healthy can stay away, but what do people do who don’t have that luxury? At this point in time, the easiest case scenario would be that we all test positive … as weird as that sounds.
Because the child that tested positive’s family are friends of ours, we do daily updates with each other. I can now assure you unequivocally that some people who you would expect to become very ill only get the sniffles, and some people in the peak of health become more ill. Some people get the munchies, others have no appetite at all. Some people get pink eye, some people have a metal taste in their mouth. A family member of mine in Tennessee, who became extremely ill but is better now, said everything she ate tasted like a salt block. I can still taste things, I can still smell things. A beautiful friend of mine has supplied me with a mini health food store of supplements, Pedialyte, pudding, jello, vitamins, homemade chicken soup. God bless that woman, she knows who she is. I still feel like I have the flu, and I have felt a little worse by the day (my first symptoms were Sunday afternoon). My daughter who was sick is still coughing and sniffling, but up and catching bugs and living life.
But I wanted you all to know that we are working on some answers to all of the questions that might become very common in the next few weeks, questions that don’t necessarily pertain to travel or mass gatherings but more to what could be happening in your home if anyone tests positive.
So, stay tuned. I’ll let you know how we’re doing in our home, and hopefully by next week we can get some good information from other sources on how we should deal with situations as I have described.
In the mean time, I want to thank Jean at The Island School for all she has done, for treating our children as her own, and for being an angel. To the teachers in all of our schools, you are selfless warriors for diving into this mess so bravely. We will make it through this if we all stick together, and we all learn from each other’s experiences.
Marcy Shortuse is the editor of the Boca Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.