Hard work is child’s play

School Health Update: Amending Our Doctor’s Note Policy

September 1, 2021

Dear Parents,

I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer as we start to fully enter the rhythms and patterns of the school year. In my last letter to you, I promised you that I would share Covid updates as often as necessary, and that is why I am writing to you today. 

Since Escuela del Sol reopened in June 2020, we have had a policy in place requiring a doctor’s note to return to school if a child has been demonstrating symptoms of illness. This requirement was put into place to do everything in our power to protect the safety of our entire community and allow us to remain open; this is, I believe, one of the reasons why we were able to remain open last year without any closures. This policy also protects our staff from having to make decisions about children’s medical status, leaving that to medical experts.

However, in the intervening weeks since the school year began, it has become increasingly clear that the landscape has changed. This year, many families are having much greater difficulties securing doctor’s notes to return to school, even with a negative Covid test and zero symptoms. This is not because of concerns for the child’s health or of transmitting Covid, but simply because many doctors’ offices are unwilling or unable to provide prompt authorizations to return to school. The resulting unforeseen consequence is that, while some students have been able to return to school easily, others are being made to spend much more time away from school than they would have in similar situations last year. While it is our highest priority to keep our students, families, and community safe, we also have the priority of enabling children to be at school. We know, and research has proven, that having children at school is the best option for their educational and social-emotional wellbeing. 

Given this, and given the fact that you, our Escuela families, have established deep trust by demonstrating diligence and caution, being transparent and open in your communication with us, and acting as equal partners in keeping the entire community as safe as possible, we have decided to amend our policy for students returning to school after illness or demonstrated symptoms. Students who have been kept home may now return to school if they are displaying zero symptoms and provide a negative PCR (not rapid) Covid test, or a note from a medical professional. It is important to note that this policy change still keeps us in compliance with the requirements of NMPED and ECECD’s policies and procedures. We also ask that, whenever possible, you continue to consult a medical professional, but understand that in some cases this is providing an undue hardship on our students and families. 

I must stress that the biggest factor in keeping our community safe and healthy is that you, our Escuela families, continue to keep your children home when there have been any symptoms or even the possibility that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid. My hope is that this change in policy will make it easier for you to continue to do your part, as we continue to do ours. I want to thank you, our families, for your ongoing commitment to the community and our safety.

Kate Chavez
Executive Director