What You Need to Know-Week of July 20th

The most important weekly updates for you to keep your community healthy


In this Update:
1. COVID-19 and Kids: 2020-2021 School Year
2. Information you Need: Where are we at with a vaccine?
3. Information you Need: Staying Social While Staying Distant


1. COVID-19 and Kids: 2020-2021 School Year


On June 29th, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that the start date for the 2020-2021 school year will be delayed until August 17th for all in-person learning. Some schools and districts may decide to transition into online learning, let parents decide their preferred mode of learning, or delay reopening dates further. To find out information about your specific school district’s reopening plan, visit this link. 

Many parents, teachers, and school personnel have expressed concerns about reopening safely and how schools can implement, follow, and enforce CDC COVID-19 guidelines, such as physical distancing and wearing masks, in the classroom. Therefore, making the decision between in-person, online, or a hybrid version of learning for your child is a very difficult one. Here are some actions parents can take and things to consider while making this choice:

✓ HAVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT COVID-19
These are uncertain times for everyone, so it is important to discuss COVID-19 in the home. Your child may have questions and discussing these topics may help to alleviate some stress, confusion, and help to prepare your child for what they should expect after returning to school.

Visit this link to view a toolkit for parents and teachers on how to communicate to children about COVID-19 developed by researchers at the University of Arizona.
Having inclusive discussions as a family may make this decision easier. Parents should remember that children may experience peer pressure around choosing a specific learning mode.

✓ TALK ABOUT AND PRACTICE PRECAUTIONS AT HOME
It is important to regularly discuss the importance of your family and your child taking daily precautions to prevent COVID-19. Discussing the importance of proper hand hygiene, mask wearing, and physical distancing will increase the likelihood that your child will follow these guidelines while at school.

 It is also important to emphasize that your child should not share items with other children whenever possible, such as school supplies or food and beverages.

Practice wearing a cloth face covering, hand hygiene, and physical distancing around the home prior to the start of school. This will help your child be more prepared once they return to the classroom.

Practice scenarios at home to prepare your child for the possibility of peer pressure to not wear a mask or physically distance. Many of the lessons learned from other anti-substance use campaigns or anti-bullying campaigns can be useful. Here are a few you may consider using to help your child stand up to possible peer pressure

✓ CONSIDER WHICH MODE OF LEARNING BEST FITS YOUR CHILD AND FAMILY’S NEEDS
What your school is doing to implement CDC protocols and guidelines for in person learning should be factored into your decision. If you feel that your child’s school cannot meet the needs of your child and family, consider an online approach.

Some things to look for in the school’s planning. Tailored information on 1) how mask wearing will be handled, 2) density of hand sanitizer and frequency of hand-washing, 3) minimizing number of people gathered (i.e. no school assemblies, etc.), 4) distancing and spacing in the classroom, 5) ventilation and circulation of fresh air into the classrooms. The recent National Academy of Science Report provides some excellent summaries of prevention strategies that should be in place. 

You should also consider whether or not your child falls into a high risk group (with conditions such as genetic, nervous system, or metabolic conditions; congenital heart disease; or immunocompromise).
You should also consider the alternative. What type of support does your child have at home for online education, 

Finally, understand the learning choices for your child. This will help you determine what the differences are between online and in person, which may be minimal. As an example, the Tucson Unified School District plans to have schools open for in-person but they will be doing the same online curriculum with laptops in the classroom with some of the teachers working from home. 

✓ ENSURE YOUR CHILD HAS RECEIVED THEIR MMR AND FLU SHOT 
There is increasing evidence that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) shot can help prevent severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Flu season will likely overlap with the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore it is important that all members of the home receive the flu shot when it becomes available. Influenza is a significant threat to child health and high transmission of influenza could further overwhelm hospital systems. In addition, there is currently little known about how co-infections with influenza and SARS-CoV-2 virus may impact children.

✓ BEGIN PLANNING NOW FOR DOCTORS APPOINTMENTS AND TAKE YOUR CHILD TO REGULARLY SCHEDULED WELL CHECK-UPS
Keeping up with regular doctor appointments is especially important, just remember to wear a cloth face covering, practice hand hygiene, and maintain physical distancing while at the doctor’s office. 
It might be difficult to get an appointment, so it is best to schedule far in advance.

✓ BE SENSITIVE TO OTHER PARENTS AND FAMILIES CHOSEN SCHOOLING APPROACH
This is a difficult time for everyone, and parents are faced with a very challenging decision regarding their child’s learning. Therefore, it is important to be understanding of whatever method of learning parents and families choose for their children, even if this differs from your family’s choice.
For more guidance and resources for parents and students, visit this link.


2. Information You Need: Where are we at with a vaccine?




As of June, there are over 150 vaccine candidates undergoing research for their ability to prevent COVID-19. However, the timeline for completion is still unknown at this point. On average, typical vaccine development takes a decade; however, with the pressing need for a prevention option and an influx of available funding, there is hope that a vaccine will be available sooner rather than later. Experts are optimistic that there will be a front running vaccine candidate by the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021. 


To reach the public, vaccines must go through four phases of clinical trials in humans:

  • Phase I: a small group of healthy people receive the vaccine, dosage is usually determined during this phase.
  • Phase II: a few hundred healthy people receive the vaccine, side effects are more thoroughly studied during this phase.
  • Phase III: hundreds to thousands of healthy people receive the vaccine, and these people are compared to those who take a placebo version.
  • Phase IV: Long term effects are monitored.

Out of the many vaccines in development, roughly 13 have moved on to human, clinical trials.

These include:

CompanyVaccinePhase
Moderna“mRNA-1273”The company will begin phase III of clinical trials later this summer.
University of Oxford (England)“ChAdOx1 nCov-19”Volunteers are enrolled for phase I and II.
CanSino Biologics“Ad5-nCoV”Currently in phase I and II of clinical trials.
Inovio“INO-4800”Phase I and II began in early June.
Sinopharm“Inactivated Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia vaccine”There are two vaccines in development: One is the first to reach phase III and the other is currently in phase I and II.
Pfizer“BNT162”Entered phase I and II clinical trials.
Sinovac Biotech“CoronaVac”Currently in phase I and II of clinical trials.
Novavax“NVX-CoV2373”Entered phase I and II trials in May.
Imperial College (London)“LNP-nCoVsaRNA”Began phase I clinical trial in late June.
CureVacmRNA vaccineEntered phase I in June.
Institute of Medical Biology (China)“NCT04412538”Phase II has begun.
Gamaleya Research Institute (Russia)“Gam-COVID-Vac Lyo”Currently in phase I.


These vaccines use a variety of technologies, which we will be discussed in future topics. It is also important to note that all vaccines that are licensed MUST go through these safety steps to be licensed. That means they are likely to be pretty safe when they become available. When rolling out to the general public, however, there is still a chance for some adverse reactions because trial participants are always young healthy adults. That is why Phase IV monitoring at the large scale is critical. 

3. Information You Need: Staying Social While Staying Distant


After months of staying home and physically distancing, feeling restless and missing your usual social activities is understandable. Staying home is the most effective way of reducing the spread of COVID-19; however, physical distancing can make it more difficult to stay socially connected. The safest way to stay in contact with friends and family is to communicate via:

  • Phone calls
  • Texting
  • Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or other video conferencing platform
  • Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Online gaming websites or platforms


If you intend on socializing in person, here are some ideas to reduce your risk of COVID-19:

 STAY HOME IF YOU ARE FEELING ILL
Avoid any social gathering if you, or anyone in your group is feeling ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This includes people in your household being ill as asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission occur regularly. You may be infected and not know it. If someone in your household was diagnosed with COVID-19, then stay home to protect others as much as possible, and wear a face covering and distance for any essential activities. 

✓  OPT FOR PHYSICALLY-DISTANCED, OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES SUCH AS…
Outdoor movie / drive-up movie (with a sheet and projector, or bringing your TV or tablet outdoors)

Outdoor, take-out dinner

Socializing in a park, frontyard, or backyard

Going for a walk

Exercising outdoors

Socializing in separate cars by parking 6 feet away from one another and opening your windows.

Temperatures in certain areas around Arizona are very high, so remember to prepare accordingly: plan your activities after the sun goes down (if possible), bring plenty of water, and always wear sun protection. When applicable, use swamp coolers, fans, or misters to make outdoor get-togethers more comfortable.

✓ MAINTAIN PHYSICAL DISTANCING AND AVOID CROWDED AREAS
Make sure that everyone stays at least 6 feet apart from one another. You can space chairs or towels out by 6 feet. 

Avoid crowded public areas.

✓ WEAR A CLOTH FACE COVERING
If physical distancing is not always possible, wear a cloth face covering even if you feel healthy!

✓ DO NOT SHARE FOOD OR DRINKS
It is best to: bring your own food and drink items, have individually pre-packaged food and drinks, or get takeout from a restaurant. 

✓ KEEP YOUR GROUP SIZE TO A MINIMUM 
Keep your gathering under 10 people–the smaller the better.
If you must be indoors for your visit, remember to:
Wear a cloth face covering at all times

Stay a minimum of 6 feet apart

Ensure that the room or area has proper ventilation (working swamp cooler or AC unit, fans, and/or open windows)

Keep your indoor visits brief to reduce the risk of exposure

View the risk of COVID-19 for these different activities:


The next update will cover depression. If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete next week’s AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

View Updates from Past Weeks:
Update from week of July 6th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 29th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 22nd (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 15th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 8th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of June 1st (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 25th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 17th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 11th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of May 4th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of April 27th (English | Spanish)
Update from week of April 20th (English | Spanish)

 


 

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