By: Rafael Pelayo, MD
I hope all of you are in full swing enjoying the 2022 summer. It has been strange for many of us to start interacting again with each other in person. For those of us in the healthcare field, we are in a hybrid situation of keeping the strict COVID rules in place while at work, including of course wearing masks when interacting with patients, yet when we step outside of our clinic’s doors, we are almost back to pre-pandemic mode of interacting. Perhaps because of this dichotomy, I tested positive for COVID at the end of June. I was feeling fine but was told by a family member that I had been in close contact and that they had tested positive. To my surprise, I was positive too on a rapid antigen test despite my lack of symptoms. My four rounds of immunizations may have been the reason I was asymptomatic. I began a self-isolation protocol and confirmed the results with a PCR COVID test. I also informed my co-workers and clinic administration. It was odd for me after all we went through at the start of this horrible pandemic, especially in the sleep field with so many colleagues and friends being gravely ill or unable to work due to sleep labs shutting down to just simply have to stay home for a few days. I caught up on some TV shows and gradually emptied out the fridge. I know I am fortunate and it could have gone at lot worse. You may recall our first virtual California Sleep Society meeting with Dr. Jerry Kram describing his harrowing experience with COVID.
This summer also marks the implementation of SB 328, the California law to protect the sleep health of adolescents. The law was signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2019 and gave public schools a three-year window to prepare for the new school schedules. In brief, the law calls for public middle schools to start no earlier than 8:00 am and high schools starting no earlier than 8:30 am. Schools in rural areas are exempt from the new law to accommodate transportation concerns in those communities. Students have the option of taking earlier elective classes, but public high schools in California should no longer be able to force students to take classes earlier than the new start times. Millions of children and their families should now be able benefit from these healthier sleep schedules. Due to the implementation of the new law, there has been heighten media interest in this issue. I was fortunate to have been invited to discuss the new law on NPR KQED’s Forum along with Lisa Lewis. Lisa recently published a book about this topic and I got to write the foreword. Here is a link to our Forum interview, hope you enjoy it: https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101889884/california-tackles-teen-sleep-deprivation-as-new-school-start-times-take-effect
Our annual meeting is fast approaching. It will be September 30-October 1 in Sacramento for the first time. I sent an invite to Governor’s Office to attend, but have not heard back yet. He will miss what should be a great meeting. The agenda is focused on having cutting edge talks showcasing our California sleep expertise. Please register now and tell all of your colleagues to attend too.