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Valley school’s quarantine shouldn’t panic you – unless that’s your hobby

(Facebook Photo/Chaparral High School SUSD)

More than 200 Chaparral High School students in Scottsdale have been sent home to … quarantine!!

Aaaah!! Doesn’t this mean kids from all across the Valley will soon be in the same boat — back in their homes, back learning on a computer?

Uh, no.

While I can’t predict the future — and as entertaining as watching hysteria is for some people — there is no need for a frenzy of fear (at least not yet). To that end, I thought we could review some facts to help tamp down the dread.

First, we are talking about 10 students on campus last week who tested positive for COVID-19. The 200-or-so quarantining students simply got within 6 feet (or less) of one or more of those 10 students for 10 minutes or more.

Scottsdale Unified School District (Chaparral High’s district) says students and staff have been “substantially compliant” with wearing masks — so that lowers the risk that these quarantined students will end up sick. However, the district is still having the exposed students quarantined and monitored for symptoms for 14 days.

That’s not scary — that’s sensible — because that reduces the possibility of the virus spreading beyond the boundaries of Chaparral’s campus.

Which brings us to our next non-panic-inducing point: None of the identified Chaparral High School cases came from an in-school transmission of the coronavirus. Instead, those cases all resulted from off-campus activities like trips and large gatherings during fall break.

I’m not going to go as far as suggesting that means it’s safer to have kids on campus than off (but some may). Besides, teenagers can’t live at school — although that would be a dream for some parents.

To combat more of those off-campus cases from coming on campus, Chaparral’s district is encouraging off-campus behavior that includes wearing masks, physically distancing, hand sanitizing and staying home when someone feels sick.

My mom was known for worrying too much about everything. All of us Sharpe kids would give her a hard time about it. My dad? Well, he would just smile and say, “Hey, everybody needs a hobby.”

We are living through a pandemic, so a little worrying is warranted. But I wouldn’t let Chaparral High School’s situation get you too worked up.

Unless woodworking or needlepoint aren’t cutting it anymore as good pastimes.

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