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Staying healthy during Winter Break in a post-COVID world

MUKILTEO, Wash., December 16, 2022—Despite the recent recommendation from the Snohomish Health District to mask up indoors, many of Kamiak High School’s students and faculty have made that transition into a post-COVID world of masks, hygiene and self-isolation. Diane Bradford, Director of Communication and Public Relations for the Mukilteo School District, confirmed that there are no plans currently requiring masks when students return from Winter Break.

“We will share general health reminders and encourage masks, especially as we return from Winter Break, but we do not have plans to require masks,” wrote Bradford in a statement to the Lynnwood Times.

The district has yet to officially announce a new masking policy for 2023.

“Although COVID remains an active virus that can still make us sick of course, the state emergency order has been lifted and mandatory precautions continue to ease,” Nurse Brittany Armstrong of Kamiak High School said in a statement to the Lynnwood Times. “In the past year post-pandemic, it’s been nice to resume all the activities at school, like school-wide pep-assemblies and our highest-attended Homecoming dance ever. We continue to move forward, but we also take the lessons we have learned… I also hope we continue to appreciate our good health, when we have it.”

Weekly COVID-19 Cases in Snohomish County (As of December 15th, 2022)

Following the significant decrease in weekly COVID-19 cases in Snohomish County from a peak of roughly 15,500 back in mid-January of this year to a current low of roughly 700, many activities at Kamiak, such as its sports and performing arts, have seemingly made a full comeback post-COVID. However, with the increase in viral respiratory illnesses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, as described by the Snohomish Health District, some are making the decision to mask up once again to make it through the winter fit and healthy.

According to the Washington State Department of Health,  a period of heightened influenza risk is between the months of December and March — especially as students and their families travel for the holidays. According to the CDC, some precautions you can take to avoid getting sick are: 

  • Getting a yearly flu vaccination
  • Eating healthy and staying active
  • Washing one’s hands

Nurse Armstrong additionally shared the efforts she and many others of Kamiak High School took to keep its students safe and healthy. She described how, by relying on her nurse colleagues and working with Kamiak’s administration team, they were able to respond to the ever-changing COVID policies. 

“I am so grateful for the support I received from my school: the teachers, staff, coaches, directors, and even the families of students during the hardest times,” Nurse Armstrong said.

Ultimately, the best way for us to make it through the winter is to get through it together. Once again, Nurse Armstrong summarizes it best: “I hope we always remember the ways COVID actually brought us together — despite the painful phases that kept us 6-feet apart.”

Editor’s Note: Article written by Kamiak High School student reporter Esaw Adhana, courtesy of the Mukilteo Community Grant Program

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