November 5 email from Principal Sepich – “COVID Message from Principal Sepich”

November 5, 2020

Hello all,

As positive cases continue to rise in Douglas County and in the surrounding counties, we continue to monitor all things related to COVID-19 and its impact on the health and safety of our school community. We also want to continue to do our part to communicate with you about how you can help us here at SPSL.

SPSL is doing everything we can within our school to keep our students safe. We heard from so many of you last spring about the importance of in-person learning. We agree wholeheartedly. But we need your help. As you consider out of school activities and gatherings that your student may participate in, please ask yourself – is it worth it? Could the sleepover, party, or other activity compromise the health and well-being of your student or others? Could it result in your child not being able to continue learning in-person at school? Unless we all make (very hard and sometimes uncomfortable) decisions to protect our students, we face the very real possibility of virtual learning.

I am sharing with you an analogy forwarded on to me by one of my contacts at the Douglas County Health Department from a medical doctor and scientist named Nicholas Christakis. I hope this may help our families understand the non-pharmaceutical interventions we all should take to prevent the spread of COVID19. It is called “The Swiss Cheese Model.”

“The Swiss Cheese Model”:

Contact reduction interventions involve shutting down schools, lockdowns and night curfews while transmission reduction interventions include washing hands, wearing masks, faster and sensitive testing. These are referred to as non-pharmaceutical interventions since they don’t involve vaccines or medicines.

According to the model, each intervention represents a slice of Swiss cheese. Like slices of Swiss cheese have holes in them, no intervention is foolproof alone. However, when a set of them like physical distancing, ventilation, masks, hygiene, fast sensitive testing, contact tracing and surface cleaning are implemented together, they are effective in bringing the outbreak under control.

Thus, multiple layers of intervention can be successful in making up for each intervention’s individual deficiencies.

Christakis further wrote, “In order to stop the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 and substantially reduce the risk of the Covid-19 epidemic in a family, firm or nation, one just needs enough layers of Swiss cheese, but not necessarily all of them.”

Here at SPSL, we are trying to do as many layers as possible at school to have as many layers of interventions as possible. If these layers are also applied by our families when away from school, it can reduce the amount of failings or holes and thus the chance of spread both at SPSL and in our community. Thank you for doing your very best to add as many layers as possible in our community wide efforts to be safe and healthy at SPSL.

Principal Cory Sepich