Ceres Learns

Ceres Learns at Home: Episode 6 - Staying Healthy During COVID-19 School Closures

May 21, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Ceres Learns
Ceres Learns at Home: Episode 6 - Staying Healthy During COVID-19 School Closures
Chapters
Ceres Learns
Ceres Learns at Home: Episode 6 - Staying Healthy During COVID-19 School Closures
May 21, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6

District Nurse Jennifer Given and Coordinator of Student Services Brian Murphy join Superintendent Scott Siegel to talk about a range of health topics, from whether it's safe to visit the doctor during the COVD-19 pandemic, to tips for staying physically fit while stay-at-home orders are in place.

Show Notes Transcript

District Nurse Jennifer Given and Coordinator of Student Services Brian Murphy join Superintendent Scott Siegel to talk about a range of health topics, from whether it's safe to visit the doctor during the COVD-19 pandemic, to tips for staying physically fit while stay-at-home orders are in place.

Unknown Speaker :

Hello and welcome to Ceres Learns at Home, hosted by Ceres Unified School District Superintendent Scott Siegel. This weekly Q & A covers distance learning and other topics related to school closures for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. To ask a question for a future episode, email [email protected] Now your host, Dr. Scott Siegel.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Hello and welcome to Episode 6 of Ceres Learns at Home. I'm sitting down today, 6 feet apart, with members of our Student Services team to discuss the many ways we can help support students' health and well being while schools are closed. My guests today are Coordinator of Student Services Brian Murphy,

Brian Murphy, Coordinator, Student Services :

Hi everyone.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

And District Nurse Jennifer Given.

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

Hi Ceres families.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Thanks for being here. Brian, a couple of weeks ago, you I spent time with our District Psychologist Nichole talking about social-emotional supports for students and families while schools are closed. Today we're back with Nurse Jenn to discuss physical wellbeing at a time when families are likely to have health-related questions or concerns, but they may be reluctant to visit a doctor's office or other medical facility, perhaps due to concerns about exposure to COVID-19. In fact, let's start with that. If our listeners today are experiencing a health related issue not related to COVID-19 – so they have no fever, no respiratory symptoms, something else going on – is it safe for them to go to the doctor?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

Yes, it is safe to go to the doctor. Doctors offices take extra precautions to limit the spread of illness. One example would be when you call before you make your appointment they will do a screening question and ask if you have any fever or respiratory symptoms so they will know in advance if you are coming in for that. Then they could take you straight into a room and not have you in the waiting room with other people that aren't sick with respiratory type illnesses. Also, some doctors offices are currently offering phone or video appointments if you don't need to be seen.

Brian Murphy, Coordinator, Student Services :

That's right, Jenn, and speaking of phone or video appointments, one of the things that we're trying out here in Ceres during the shutdown is we have partnered with an organization named Hazel to provide at-home video appointments for families. Now currently, we are piloting this program for Walter White families, Caswell families, and Don Pedro families only.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Brian, that sounds fantastic. Do we see that expanding to other schools in the future?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

Absolutely, Dr. Siegel. In fact, as part of our contract with Hazel right now at Walter White, Caswell, and Don Pedro schools, when we reopen in August, those three schools will have the Hazel clinic directly in their health office so that our school nurses and our health clerks can assist our families utilize that system to get immediate access with a physician as needed. If this pilot goes well, then our goal would be to expand this to all schools the following year after that.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Fingers crossed on that. So there's a lot of information about COVID-19 on social media, on TV news, and pretty much everywhere we turn. I don't necessarily want to spend time talking about widely available information that listeners can find elsewhere. But that brings me my next question, which is, what are the most reliable sources of information about COVID-19 if someone wants to know something like, What are the symptoms or how does COVID-19 spread?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

That's a great question. Reliable is really the key word that we want to focus on. A lot of misinformation is out there. The CDC and the California Department of Public Health are excellent resources.

Brian Murphy, Coordinator, Student Services :

Yes, those are excellent resources, Jenn In fact, the easiest thing for families to do would be to go to the Ceres Unified webpage. We have a COVID-19 webpage with links to various resources, just like the CDC website and the CDPH websites that you just mentioned. In addition to that, we also have the links to the Stanislaus County Health Service Agency, and one of the other things on there that has been really helpful is a Coronavirus factsheet. It's right there on that COVID-19 webpage. It's also full of excellent information for families to access.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Thank you. While we have our District Nurse in the room, let's try to answer some of the COVID-19 questions listeners may have that are specific to our community.

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

Yes, per our county officials, we have done a very good job. It is important though to continue recommendations from Public Health to slow the spread, such as handwashing, 6-foot distance between people, no gathering with people outside of your household, to stay home and call your doctor if you're feeling sick. And I do recognize that we've been on these stay-at-home orders now for quite some time – I think we're going into something like our ninth week of being closed at school and I know that a lot of people are getting very anxious, but it is still very important to recognize that COVID-19 is an illness that can be spread between person to person. So, using these strategies that Public Health has recommended are very important.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

That sounds consistent with something I heard from the public health officer of the county that most of the spread in our county has been from person-to-person contact in close situations. So staying 6 feet apart and avoiding close contact with people who are not part of your immediate family is probably a great idea. Which brings me to my next question which is about testing. If someone's experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19? How can they know whether they should get tested and where can they go and what's the process in our area?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

That's another great question, because I know a lot of conversations have been happening recently about testing. The first place that people can go to is their own doctor. They can call their doctor and see if that is an option for them. Also, in the last few weeks Stanislaus County has opened up three additional testing sites. You can check the county website for information about those testing sites. One is in Salida, one is in Keyes, and one is in Patterson. It's also important to know that in addition to people delaying going to their doctor's office, there has been some reports of people delaying going to the hospital, and it's very important that if you are having severe symptoms that you don't delay and you go to the hospital and get treatment if that's something that you feel is needed.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Thank you, Jenn. Brian, it can be difficult when we're sheltering in place to stay active, which is a crucial part of our physical health. On top of that, it can be very confusing to know what's okay to do outdoors and what should we avoid? What advice can you share for staying healthy and in shape, and safe at the same time while we're stuck at home?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

Dr. Siegel, I think it's important to remember some of the things that Nurse Jennifer was talking about with hand washing and social distancing. Recently, our school nurses published a video during Nurses' Week that has been out on social media and our Ceres website on how to stay healthy during this time, and it covers those things that Jenn mentioned with hand washing, and 6-foot distancing, and no gatherings with people outside of the household, and to call your doctor if you're feeling sick. Some of the other things, though, that Dr. Siegel is asking about that is important is continuing to stay physically active during this time, and I know we talked about this during the social-emotional podcast about the importance of keeping some routine and some normalcy, and exercising, getting proper nutrition, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep. I think our mental wellness is just as important as our physical wellness goes, and together it will help us get through this time. I think our listeners can refer to the social-emotional podcast. They can also refer to our Student Services department webpage which involves some great monthly newsletters and other tips about going outside, getting energized with exercise or dance, getting creative by cooking or baking, and doing some things as a family.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

So Brian, and Jenn, along the idea of exercise I have a question about face masks that comes up. When I go jogging I do not wear a face mask, but when I go into Raley's to go grocery shopping, I do wear a face mask. Am I doing that correctly? Or can you maybe tell us about what the benefits are of wearing face masks and when we should do so?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

That is a great question. Face coverings and masks are talked about a lot right now. As Dr. V., our Public Health Officer has mentioned, true face masks such as the N95 and surgical masks really need to be reserved for hospital workers and frontline workers. But there is some recommendation that you may possibly choose to wear cloth face coverings, snd some benefits to that are really not for the person wearing it. It doesn't necessarily provide protection from getting it, but potentially if you have the virus and didn't know it and you were to cough or sneeze a lot of your respiratory droplets would be collected within your face covering, and so you would potentially be protecting the people that you're coming in contact with.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Great I'll keep wearing my cloth face mask that my wife made for me, and do so to help others. And I think it's important that during this time we look out for ourselves and look out for others. And speaking of helping ourselves and helping others I want to talk about vaccinations for just a minute. I recently read an article about some families choosing to delay their children's regular immunizations for the same reason we talked about earlier that maybe they feel now isn't the best time to visit a doctor's office. Nurse Jenn, as a healthcare professional, what are your thoughts about that?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

Yes, I have seen some information about that, too. It is important to keep up with well child visits, including routine immunizations during this time. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have both recently put out an advisement to pediatricians reminding them that immunizations are considered an essential medical service during this time. We don't want to have an outbreak of preventable diseases such as measles, chickenpox, or whooping cough. It's also important to remember that California has not suspended the guidelines for immunizations to be required for school, so when school does reopen students will still have to have all of their required immunizations before they are allowed to attend school.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

On the topic of children, let me address another concern. The world can feel pretty frightening and out of control right now, especially for kids. People are wearing masks on their faces; social media and the news are full of negative and scary reports; and we're largely cut off from the social circles that are our usual support system. What do our children need to know about Coronavirus, and how can families have age-appropriate conversations that reassure kids while reinforcing the need for preventative measures such as handwashing, wearing a mask, and maintaining a comfortable distance away from people?

Brian Murphy, Coordinator, Student Services :

First and foremost, Dr. Siegel, I think keeping the news on is probably not a good idea as you're right, there is a lot of scary information out there that kids just don't need to hear all day long. I would say as parents it's important that we are open and honest with our children but age-appropriate. We need to reassure them that everything is going to be okay. I'm reminded that we do have a great resource on the COVID-19 webpage on the Ceres website. It's an easy-to-use presentation for parents, that's been put together by the National Association of School Psychologists, that you can open up and use and share with your children. It helps answer questions and provide updates and things that you can know as a family.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Thank you, Brian. I also remember you talking earlier about the Student Support Services website that can be accessed through the homepage, and I know that there's great COVID information there as well. Before we finish, is there anything else you'd like our listeners to know on this episode on health and wellbeing while schools are closed?

Jennifer Given, District Nurse :

I would like to mention, I know a lot of people have questions about when schools do reopen. At this point, there are still a lot of unknowns, but I wanted to reassure listeners that our district and our school nurses are going to be working very closely and making sure that we're following guidelines of both national and state agencies such as the CDC, the National Association of School Nurses, as well as the California School Nurses Organization, our California Department of Education and Public Health. And we will make sure that when schools do reopen, that it is a safe place for both our students and our staff. Also, I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that our school nurses, and our health clerks, and our LVNs are all still working and are available during this time. If needed, you can call your school's office to get a message to your school nurse. That's probably the easiest way to get in touch with us. Also on our web page, each nurse is listed and our email addresses available from that site. During this time while we're closed, the health clerks and the nurses are continuing some of our normal activities such as reviewing immunization compliance, reaching out to families that have students with medical needs, and drafting healthcare plans, doing education, doing TB screenings for our staff. They look a little different now, via Zoom usually. So, even though we are reaching out to certain families, if you feel that you do have a need and you have a question, want to talk to a member of the health staff, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are more than willing to communicate with you and answer any questions that you may have.

Scott Siegel, Superintendent :

Thank you, Nurse Jenn and thank you, Brian for sharing that information that will help us promote health and wellbeing during this unsettling time, and thank you to our listeners for tuning in. Please remember to send your podcast questions to [email protected], and join us Thursday, May 28, for Episode 7, which is all about our Class of 2020, with my guests, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Dr. Amy Peterman, and high school Learning Directors Daisy Salinas and Jennifer Meisner. Transcribed by https://otter.ai