As Waunakee families prepare to send their children back to school next week, district administrators, along with school board and community members, are doing all they can to prepare.

As the Tribune has reported, a medical-advisory committee, composed of physicians and other health professionals, met last week to review the district’s safety protocols during this pandemic.

The intent is to protect teachers, staff, students and their families while providing in-person learning. Administrators and the pediatric nurse on staff noted that varying degrees of personal protective equipment will be available for all staff, even for those who will interact with students showing symptoms.

Education about PPE, hand washing, sanitizing and remaining physically distant will be part of young students’ curriculum for the first two weeks.

All of this seems somewhat unnerving, but the health professionals did have words of assurance: the PPE and hygiene practices work. One doctor reported that as his clinic has been open to patients these past couple of months, not one staffer there has gotten the virus. Another said the masks give us all a sense of control.

Early on, perhaps in May, a friend of mine offered me the same assurance. At that point, we were more informed of the risks. We had found the virus was less easily spread on packages, and many of us had stopped washing all the items we bought at grocery stores.

And so, she said, we know the risk factors — close contact with others and the spray of respiratory droplets. We can control those factors by wearing face masks and remaining physically distant.

The other clear message from these health professionals was that circumstances around the virus are constantly changing. The metrics change, how we respond changes as experts learn more about the virus and work on a vaccine, and new developments in testing are in the works. Easier access to testing will give us all even more control.

As humans, we are adaptable, and we will continue to adapt as we live with this virus and learn more about it. More than likely, that will be at least through the winter, probably even longer. The Waunakee community is fortunate to have health professionals to help us along during this time. And the school district is fortunate for its school board members who have actively sought out these experts.

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