Guidance and requests for holiday travel from our fabulous health team
Hello Free Union families,
We know that many of you are thinking about how to travel and gather for the holiday season, and we would like to share with you some thoughts and information. Please take the time to read this over and consider with care. Your candid thoughts regarding your holiday plans will help us plan for how we gather together as a school at their conclusion.
First, anytime you do have plans to travel and visit with others, please email with your plans (where, with whom, and how you are traveling), so that we may be aware and communicate and prepare accordingly. It will be especially helpful for us to know what precautionary measures related to masking, physical distancing and gathering (indoors vs outdoors) that you will be able to employ while with family or friends. We ask that you take the time now to proactively think about what your gathering will look like and how or if you want to increase your contacts considerably. More people raises the chance of transmission of any virus: even up to 5 new people in a gathering space creates an exponential increase in risk transmission when you take into account all of the contacts each of them might have had. Please also bear in mind that up to 50% of COVID-19 infections occur without symptoms, so it is impossible to always know if you are gathering with someone who may be infected. Unfortunately, there are many cases where a person is infected but asymptomatic, and while in this asymptomatic state, transmits the virus to someone at higher risk.
We ask that you, as part of our interdependent FUCS community, take those considerations to heart in your travels, as decisions you make during school breaks could end up having impacts on your children’s entire pod or even the whole school community. Health promotion behaviors such as mask wearing, distancing, and hand washing are essential and must be adhered to even within the natural comfort of a family gathering. Communicating with loved ones ahead of time about precautions you'll need to take and why will help reduce awkwardness and increase cooperation. Likewise, proper ventilation, group size, local community transmission rates and community spread in the areas from where your guests travel are all factors that have implications on the risk of transmission for you and your family.
Here are some resources if you would like to spend some more time thinking about best practices for travel:
- CDC Holiday Travel
- New York Times COVID map and case count (updated daily) - link is to VA page, but you can find any county/state.
- Virginia Department of Health travel guidance and considerations
We sincerely wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season and are very grateful for the precautions you have been taking and will take to keep yourselves and our school community healthy.
And don't forget to get your flu shots!
Allison, Hope, and Afshan
Free Union’s Health Care Team