TPES PTA Meeting Minutes: September 2021


Monday, September 13, 2021


Zoom copy:


–       Chris Campbell welcomed everyone and shared instructions for Spanish room interpretation and reviewed agenda

–       Welcome and Introductions by TPES and PBES PTA Presidents Margaret McDonnell and Jaslynn Laurence (5 minutes)

o   Margaret – has 3 kids, runs a malaria prevention campaign; loves this community and acknowledges the various issues facing our community; PTA sees these challenges and many working tirelessly around the clock and doing so in an equitable way as possible; Many have stepped up to help: Shout out to last year’s PTA – amazing role the PTA played by providing food access; major shout out to Dr. Gadsden for all her hard work; Introduced the Executive Committee

o   Jaslynn – has a 3rd grader; excited for the school year – worked as a school teacher and now at the Dept of Ed; excited to give back to the community and encourages people to volunteer and join the PTA; Introduced the Exec Committee

– Quick overview of PTA and how to “Build an Effective Family and School Partnership”- Jaslynn Laurence and Joyce McDonough (10 minutes)

–       Purpose of the PTA: Connect students and teachers and advocate on behalf of children and educators

–       Why do we need PTA – to engage families in student success and improvement, partner with other orgs and fundraising efforts

–       Support PTA – join and volunteer; invest in your child’s education; donations to support the school.

–       Contact the school: first line is the teacher when needed

o   Reach out to room parent

o   Guidance counselor

o   Principal

o   Can always write your email in your preferred language and it will be translated for you

o   In case of absence, email your teacher

o   If Covid, then email Principal (If showing any symptoms, please keep your child at home)


– Presentation and Q&A with Dr Kawsar Talaat, a Takoma Park parent, PBES PTA Executive Committee member and Infectious Disease and International Health specialist about the latest science on COVID-19, the delta variant, and the approval process/timeline for vaccine approval for kids under 12 (20-25 minutes)


–       Working on Pfizer vaccine at Johns Hopkins

–       Covid virus has the spike protein and that’s what attacks our cells

–       How the virus is changing – it changes over time due to mutations; antibodies to bind to it and can sometimes more transmissible like Delta but there are other variants

–       Viruses constantly mutate and evolve

–       Need to vaccinate as many people as possible to slow mutations

–       Delta is more transmissible than previous; one person can infect 5-8 others; It’s potential more severe than previous strains

–       A lot more hospitalizations

–       Pfizer: Full licensure for 16+; under EUA 12-15; Moderna MRNA 18+; applied for 12-17 but not authorized; J&J 18+

–       Vaccinating adults protects children; lucky to live in MoCo – high vaccination rate

–       Why we don’t have vaccine for kids: the fact that we have vaccines is miraculous!

–       Do things differently for kids; first make sure its safe then move down in age;

–       Covid didn’t target kids initially;

–       Hopefully Pfizer data will go to the FDA soon

–       First, it will be an Emergency Use Authorization – it’s not full licensure; FDA has certain criteria – benefits/costs, at least 2 month of follow up data; FDA to authorize and CDC recommend

–       Pfizer may submit data 5-11 sometime in September; FDA will put all hands on deck; will review expeditiously as possible;

–       Might have vaccine for kindergarteners by Halloween!

–       Pfizer will get 1/3 of the dose

–       Multilayer swiss cheese strategies work

–       Vaccines for under 5 will take a little longer


– Principals Dr Gadsden and Ms Oberdorf to share and answer questions re COVID-19 protocols and otherwise (20 minutes)


–       Dr Gadsden – TP has not had a Covid case since opened; Received rapid test

–       Eat outside whenever possible; more distance in cafeteria

–       Not combining classes; making sure students wear the masks

–       Seeing regular childhood illnesses/allergies


–       Ms. Oberdorf – PBES has had 1 case so far; ready to administer rapid Covid tests; Eating outside; masks available