Monday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 46. Sunrise is 7:17 AM and sunset 4:21 PM for 9h 03m 32s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 73.8% of its visible disk illuminated.
On this day in 1962, NASA launches Relay 1, the first active repeater communications satellite in orbit.
For Christina Newman and her 6-year-old son Forrest, early December now means an unwelcome tradition — he was quarantined for a possible COVID-19 exposure last week, just like he was this time last year.
To get him back in school, he had to be asymptomatic and get a negative test in a health care setting — not an at-home rapid self-test, like the BinaxNOW tests that come in two-packs at local pharmacies — on day six or seven of his quarantine.
Like most children and adults, he’s no fan of the nasal swab tests. But Newman and her husband developed a strategy to make it easier.
“We pretty much discovered at home that if you either let him hold the swab, or you hold it with him and like coax him into sticking it up his nostrils, you can get him to do it, and he does a pretty good job,” she said. “He almost needs to have that autonomy to do it, because he doesn’t struggle as much.”
Newman was one of the parents who responded to WPR’s WHYsconsin asking how parents and caretakers are handling testing their children for COVID-19.
Forrest just got his second vaccine dose, which will cut down drastically on the amount of time he has to quarantine after a possible exposure — a welcome relief for Newman, whose family room has a giant blanket fort taking up the floor space and whose work can be frequently interrupted during the times Forrest has to stay home.
Greg DeMuri is a pediatric epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has also been advising the Madison Metropolitan School District on its testing program. He said it took some time to get the program up and running, but it’s starting to work well.
“It is very, very useful,” he said. “They are seeing cases there, and detecting cases, and they’re able to keep (sick) kids out of school because of it, so it’s a big asset to the schools and to the community.”
And so, and so — why would most, but not all, schools be part of this program of testing?
And look, and look — if there’s no reliable testing regimen, then there’s no reliable data on school spread, and if there’s no reliable data on school spread, then a superintendent here or there can simply (although incredibly) declare ‘there is no school spread.’
If a superintendent will wish away a pandemic, then what other risks or problems will he or she wish away?
That’s a question that should, and will, linger long after the pandemic.