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One step forward, two steps back

Started: 2021-03-14 11:07:43

Submitted: 2021-03-14 13:29:56

Visibility: World-readable

Still trapped in an endless cycle of re-open and re-close

Friday morning, on Julian's second day of in-person kindergarten, the school office called us to tell us that Julian had been exposed to "close contact" with a COVID-19 case and needed to be picked up early. They wanted us to quarantine him for ten days and get a COVID-19 test on the sixth day.

I was not happy.

Eventually we learned that Julian's teacher had tested positive during surveillance testing. She had the test on Tuesday, and the results came back Friday morning. The teacher said she was scheduled to get her second vaccine shot on Saturday, so it's likely that she was minimally infectious; unless there was a major breakdown in masking and distancing, it's unlikely that any of the kids in here class will test positive at all. (Though it's plausible that, if a major breakdown in masking and distancing were to take place, it would be during the first three days of in-person school.)

The school considers this a qualified victory because they only had to quarantine one class, not multiple classes or the entire school. I find this cold comfort because it's my kid who's now supposed to quarantine. This is our first confirmed COVID exposure, a year into the pandemic, and it happened in the first week when school was trying to open again.

Julian's coronavirus model
Julian's coronavirus model

While Julian is supposed to quarantine, it's not clear how paranoid we ought to be. Given the factors around his potential exposure, the risk of him being infectious are very low, but not technically zero risk. It's not obvious to me that this is actually higher risk than anything else we've been potentially exposed to over the last year, or that going outside (masked and distanced) is really more dangerous now than it was a week ago.

I guess we all have a compelling excuse to get COVID-19 tests now, and one extra incentive to get the vaccine when we're eligible.

When aiming for the lowest common denominator,
be prepared for the occasional division by
zero.