School Board Meeting 8 Feb 2022 Agenda Item 8.4

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Justin Scott

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Feb 6, 2022, 4:48:31 PM2/6/22
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Item 8.4 of the agenda for the 8 February 2022 School Board Meeting reads, “*Discuss the covid response team and responsibilities as outlined by the PED covid19 toolkit. 

I would like to request that the response team consider how to transition to a more normal posture once the omicron surge in cases/day comes down. This includes allowing kids to eat inside during the winter, allowing activities (e.g., prom), and other measures to get back to normal. Eventually, this may include removing masking requirements.

Initially, COVID was much more deadly than the flu, but that is no longer the case for those that are vaccinated and boosted. Using the CDC published death rates versus various vaccinated statuses (Boosted, Vaccinated Fully, and No Vaccination) for the weekly 4 Dec 2021 data (latest), if everyone were boosted, we could expect fewer COVID deaths per year than the average number of flu deaths per year (from 2010-2020 yearly flu deaths averaged 35,900/year). I’ll attach the calculations and sources. I welcome corrections if I have misinterpreted the data.

Given how effective the vaccinations are at reducing the risk of death, it seems worth allowing schools and community life to return to something closer to normal. There will never be a time where we can live without all risk. Now that we have the tools to bring COVID risk back to similar levels of risk that we dealt with before (e.g., flu) we should celebrate the progress and take advantage of it. There may be a time when some of the more restrictive measures are needed again (e.g., a highly contagious variant that the vaccines do not work against). If we do not allow a reprieve when the risk is low, we will make it less likely that tough measures will be accepted in future should they be needed again. The measures should reflect the actual risk status.

We are fortunate that vaccines and boosters are easily available in our community, making it so that most people can be in the low risk category.

The number of omicron cases/day is still high, but is starting to abate. As we wait for the surge to go down, I would like to request that the COVID response team consider the risk of COVID relative to other risks in our lives in deciding on school policy. 

I know that there are not easy answers to these questions and that reasonable people can still disagree on the most prudent course of action. Comparing the risk to flu helped me understand how our present risk compares to risks we have dealt with historically. 

I am thankful that the board and task force have decided to prioritize keeping schools in person for most of the surge. Given that the omicron surge is reducing and vaccines are working, now is not the time to transition to more restrictive rules. 

Thank you for considering these comments and thank you for serving on the board.

Regards,

Justin Scott

Covid to Flu Comparison Jan 2022.xlsx
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