December 9, 2015Dear Loma and CT Parents:
Thoughts From Tuesday Night
I have actually been thinking about two things today worthy of mention here: Fall Leaves and Fire Recovery. First an update. We have made progress with the Department of the State Architect (DSA) and the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) in the past week. We are on target to meet our goal of opening the new temporary school classrooms after break and be back in the gym by early June. I know it is hard for many to fathom why it takes so long. I was right there with you in 2005 and the process of re-opening CT English Middle School had dragged on in various forms since the quake of ’89. Please believe me when I say working with state agencies involved with school construction is not easy.
For those of you interested, read on. It has a good outcome. Last week we heard that the DSA rejected our plan for the temporary school due to a new determination that we were in a “Wildfire Refuge Area” so would be held to a higher standard. We lit up the phones, readied an entourage to head to Sacramento, talked to local fire marshals, fire chiefs, and reached out to lobbyists and more. I even had a conversation with a Superintendent who lost a school in the Valley Fire in Lake County about how they got their plans approved. We had to laugh because she discovered they were held to a new “flood zone” designation and had to garner a similar strategy. It’s never easy!
The good news is that, in a decision I am told is rare, the DSA actually reversed their decision and found an exception that they could utilize on our behalf. We now have an approved plan set for the temporary structures to be installed over the December Recess. All contracts are in place to begin this work immediately. Please pardon our dust next week as we may have construction disruptions. We are hoping to limit the noise and traffic as much as possible during school hours, but please be advised that we are planning on significant staging to begin next week with construction work to be in high gear during winter break. I don’t think I have ever been excited by the anticipation of construction noise. We will keep you posted as best we can with updates to our website regarding construction impacts.
Our other plan sets for the demolition of the burned area and restoration of the gym are in “bin time” at the DSA awaiting approval. Our North Campus renovation plan for the other side of the street is also waiting for DSA approval. All the newly required geological reports for that project and the shade structures was completed and reports submitted to Sacramento. In the meantime, I did hear back from the Office of Public School Construction with good news about the “possibility” of emergency funds for the fire project. Of course, insurance coverage is the front line of funding, but the official from the OPSC was both apologetic for the delay in responding as well as upbeat about our chances of qualifying for any “available funding.” The term “available” is always relative, but at least the answer wasn’t no.
I will take small victories. For those of you who might have occasion over the break to test out new bikes or drones, please note that access to the campus may be limited at times. The more big trucks on campus the better! Which brings me to the Fall Leaves. I love our kids. Today, a group of 8th graders came upon a windswept collection of leaves just outside my office. "Tree confetti" I often call it as I see it blow across the blacktop and settle in a "wind eddy” for those of you who know rivers. The kids delight was contagious and I found myself drawn to their engaging play. At first the blanket of leaves became autumn “snow angels." Then of course the pile grew into a run through, kickable pile. The kids looked at me as the recess bell rang. Silently, they asked for permission to let loose. "Go for it!” Sometimes a kid just needs to be a kid. I was glad they said I could take a couple of pictures. I thought you might enjoy them too.
Mrs. Carino’s News
The Current Case of the Creepy Crud
It is officially “Flu Season” and a nasty bug has most certainly made a stop at Loma which means it is likely to be on its way to C.T. Well, those of us at Loma are trying to make a difference. We are trying to prevent the spread of this most recent outbreak of stomach grunge. In the process, we are finding out some interesting things.
The “Creepy Crud” arrived at Loma upon our return from the Thanksgiving break. Both teachers and students have been hit quick and hard. Raquel was even out and that almost never happens. This particular strain of bug is particularly virulent, aka contagious. So, we are going into full combat mode to prevent the spread.
Here is what we’ve discovered:
Some health care professionals suspect that we may have encountered a norovirus.
The CDC website indicates that a norovirus illness is technically not related to the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.
There are numerous strains of norovirus and they are fairly common. Strains of norovirus are around all year, but are passed more readily in the winter when people spend more time indoors.
The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up. Definitely matches what we have recently witnessed. Yuck!
Most common symptoms: stomach pain, nausea, throwing up and diarrhea
Other symptoms: fever, headache, body aches
A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.
If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.
Transmission: Norovirus can spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships
People become infected with the norovirus by: eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus then putting your fingers in your mouth, or; by having contact with someone who is infected with norovirus (for example, caring for or sharing food or eating utensils with someone with norovirus illness
Prevention: What are we doing to prevent the spread?
We are diligently reinforcing hand washing and sanitizing measures. Students and teachers are being very careful to wash and/or sanitize hands after using the toilet; before eating; and after coming in from the play yard.
Cleaning and disinfecting potentially contaminated surfaces: We are immediately cleaning up any contacted areas with disinfectant. We are constantly taking precautions to wipe down potentially contaminated surfaces such as tables and doorknobs.
Not sharing food with each other
What you can do at home:
· Follow the same precautions that we are following at school
· Do err on the side of caution. Keep sick students home. Be particularly vigilant if your child complains of a stomachache.
· In the case of the norovirus, it is wise to keep students home for 48 hours after the last vomit. Those infected with the norovirus are most contagious when they are sick with norovirus illness, and during the first few days after they recover from norovirus illness.
Thanks for your help in our fight to prevent further spread of this nasty virus
Loma HSC News
Coats/Blankets/Sleeping Bags Drive – We are collecting these items for the homeless. Bins are set up in front of the Loma Office and will be collected 12/17 at the morning drop-off. If you have any new or used items that you’ll like to donate, please gather them up for this great cause!
Lost and Found
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, come take a look at the Lost and Found rack in front of the Loma Office. If items are not picked up by December 18th, they will be donated.
Loma’s Upcoming Events
12/11 SoW Assembly 8:30a
12/18 Minimum Day, dismissal at 12:30p
12/21-1/3 Holiday Break – NO SCHOOL
1/4/16 School Resumes