Nurse urges families to stay home for holiday

Enjoy+your+Thanksgiving+break%2C+but+don%E2%80%99t+forget+the+health+and+safety+of+others.+Illustration+by+Brenda+San+Elias.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving break, but don’t forget the health and safety of others. Illustration by Brenda San Elias.

Jameson Oates, News Editor

District registered nurse Kristina Smith is strongly encouraging families to cancel their holiday plans and stay home amid the largest national spike in COVID-19 cases.

“A lot of these numbers are being driven by familial gatherings,” Smith said. “People are pushing boundaries when they get together, and I’m not sure that now’s the best time to be doing that.”

Before heading into the holidays, Smith encourages everyone to read up on the state’s travel guidelines. The California Department of Public Health recommends avoiding all non-essential travel, including travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

“People get upset when things close down, but the reason for this is because people aren’t considering others,” Smith said. “We need to care for each other. I mean that in the truest sense.” 

Many are concerned over how Orange County will handle the rise in COVID cases from holiday travelers. Orange County re-entered the most restrictive Purple Tier this week, forcing many in-door businesses to close again.

As of Nov. 25, there had been three confirmed current COVID cases among FUHS staff and five confirmed current cases among students. The district has conducted required contact tracing and students and staff who are in danger of having been exposed to the virus are staying home. Parents, students and staff can view the District COVID Dashboard for updates on the number of infections district wide.

English teacher Gia Hanley’s mother died from COVID on Oct. 22. Hanley said that doctors told her that her 73-year-old mom contracted the disease twice, once at the end of June and again in August.

“It was a much more severe case in August, and it was heartbreaking to watch her suffering and struggling to breathe the last six weeks of her life,” Hanley said. “There is so much misinformation out there about this disease, so I think it’s important for everyone to understand that it is possible to contract this virus more than once, and it is important to wear masks.”

According to a letter sent this week by Superintendent Scott Scambray, schools that have already resumed in-person instruction can remain open with necessary precautions already in place, meaning the hybrid schedule is here to stay. For now. 

“It is important to keep in mind that this guidance is subject to change based on future state directives,” Scambray said in his recent communication regarding COVID-19. “We will, of course, promptly communicate any changes.”

Assistant principal Steve Garcia says that despite the school’s smooth transition into hybrid learning, all students should remain vigilant and safe.

“We want to make sure that we remind students that we are not out of the woods when it comes to COVID,” he said. “The policies of social distancing, wearing masks, and washing/sanitizing our hands and what we come in contact with are not going away in the near future. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve our students, but every measure we have put in place is to keep everyone healthy and safe so that we can remain open.” 

As our community battles this most recent wave of COVID cases, health experts across the nation are urging everyone to not let their guard down. A safe and vigilant holiday season will mean an even safer rest of the year. 

This story has been updated to reflect newly reported COVID cases.