Monday, May 30, 2022

COVID-19 Testing through the 2021-22 School year

My name is Sean Claes. 

I am a high school teacher in Texas.

I teach at a district that required masks for the 2021-22 school year.

Beginning in August 2021, I decided I would take a COVID-19 test each week and write about it.

This is much more than a weekly test, it's something to help me cope with the things I see and experience as being in the world surrounded by the pandemic. 

It is a diary. 

It is a mission.

It is a historical document.

It is a first-person report from my perspective of what I see, experience and have loved ones experience dealing with COVID-19 on a daily basis.

My blog is called "Love Moves First"

I believe if one leads with love, they are moving forward with the intent to help not harm.

This is where I'll keep the links to the different weeks.

My Journey:

Week 1 - link
Week 2 - link
Week 3 - link
Week 4 - link
Week 5 - link
Week 6 - link
Week 7 - link
Week 8 - link
Week 9 - link
Week 10 - link
Week 11 - link
Week 12 - link
Week 13 - link
Week 14 - link
Week 15- link
Week 16 - link
Week 17 - link
Week 18 - link
Week 19 - link
Week 20 - link Week 21 - link
Week 22 - link
Week 23 - link
Week 24 - link
Week 25 - link  
Week 26 - link
Week 27 and 28 - link
Week 29 - link
Week 30 - Missed
Week 31 - link
Week 32 - link
Week 33 and 34 - link
Week 35 and 36 - link
Week 37 - link

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Week 37. 35th COVID-19 Test

 Week 37 of school

35th COVID-19 test. 

Down to the last week of school. It’s been a journey.

About half the student population and staff is still masking while indoors. I’m averaging 1 student out of about 150 in my classes being out with COVID-19 each week. 

The Community Level (from the CDC) is low this past week for both Travis County (2266 new cases) and Hays County (325 new cases).

I was talking to a coworker who went to a movie last weekend and as they walked out of the theatre (wearing their mask) someone said to them “Haven’t you ladies heard? COVID is over.”

There are 4 people in ICU in Travis County right now that would disagree with that I’ll-informed statement. 

 There is a family grieving a loved one who died from COVID-19 last week in Hays County. 

It’s not over. 

I work in an environment where me wearing a mask is to protect those around me. I have the ability to take precautions in order to limit the chances of being infected myself and/or infecting others and for my loved ones, my students and coworkers and their loved ones I will continue to take that step. 

And… I’m going to continue wearing a mask indoors and while in large crowds where I don’t feel I can properly distance.

I won’t consider removing my mask in the classroom until every one of the students who enter the class feel comfortable to be without a mask. I will be the last to unmask. 

Yeah, I’m making a statement.

I love you. 

I will do all I can to assure I cause you no harm.


Monday, May 16, 2022

Week 35-36 of school (33 and 34th COVID-19 test)

 The United States is nearing 1 million people who have died from COVID-19.

For every 100,000 residents, 303 people have died from COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. 

1/3 of those deaths are of people who got sick and passed away AFTER the vaccine was available and they were not vaccinated. That means many those deaths were likely preventable if people would not have politicized taking preventative measures... and those who weren't able to take the vaccine because of medical reasons could have had a much greater chance at being here today.

I tested last week and the week before. 

Week 35-36 of school.

My 33 and 34th COVID-19 Test.

I was negative both times.

I continue to mask.

My family and I are now one of the last in the room masking.

I continue masking in crowds.

There have been 3,015 cases in Travis County in the last 2 weeks.

There have been 414 cases in Hays County.

I wear a mask so if I come into contact with someone who is sick, I don't carry it on to my loved ones, you or your loved ones.

I do it because I love you.


2 more weeks of school left. I will wrap up my "COVID-19 testing through the school year" weekly posts. Thank you for reading these. I hope they have informed, educated and perhaps helped you feel seen and heard.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Global United Methodist Church Launches


By Sean Claes

Today launched the “Global Methodist Church.”

I am saddened and pray for those who feel the need to leave a United Methodist Church because of the church’s discussion about the love, acceptance and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community… 

Those who are unwilling to be fully accepting and affirming (or at least open to the conversation) are the folks who removed the “United” from their name and added “Global.”

I pray those who have a place at the table for the next gathering of the United Methodist church make the Christian decision and fully affirm and accept LGBTQIA+ people who wish to marry the person they love and/or are called by God to serve the church. 

I pray for those who have left Christianity and/or organized religion because of individuals who hate in the name of God. 

I pray for those who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. I pray they know that they are loved by Christians who lead by love. they are fully accepted by those who follow Jesus’ example. 

I look forward to a fully accepting, affirming and loving United Methodist Church. I pray this can be a reality. Then the Church can fully live up to their slogan: Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors. 

Anything less is incompatible with Christian teaching.

Love moves first.


Saturday, April 30, 2022

Week 33 & 34 of school - 32nd COVID-19 Test

 Week 33 & 34 of school.
32 COVID-19 test. 

I’m posting this late and again I missed a week of testing. I did test this past Monday at the school testing site. I was negative. 

What to say about weeks 33 & 34?

More and more people are getting comfortable being in the world without masks. I’d say about 40% of the folks at school are unmasked. For the first time this year, I am not feeling pensive when someone walks in a room without a mask. I think it’s because the folks who are choosing to unmask at this point aren’t doing it to prove some sociopolitical point and aren’t being jerks about it. 

Of course… with this also comes the news that one of my close teacher friends who’s family has been careful about masking ended up testing positive last week after his wife (also a teacher) got it. Thankfully they both had a mild case, but he was pretty fatigued this week. 

I have been stepping back out and attending in person meetings and events again. 

It’s a slow process and I’m much more aware of my surroundings and the people I associate with than I was before March 2022. There are a few people who have said and done things to show their true character and heart in the last 2 years. I simply don’t have the desire to surround myself with anyone who doesn’t lead with love and grace... and as I integrate back into the world, I’m being careful to avoid them. 

That said. I still mask indoors and in crowds, and as long as there is one person in the room with a health condition or someone wearing a mask I will continue to do so. 

Yes.… I’m doing it to prove a point. And that point is, I love you. I care about your health and safety. I care about my family and your families well being. 

Because #lovemovesfirst 

Imagine how awesome it would be if we all lead with and responded with love?

I’m take my 35 week test today and update you early next week. 

Love you. 

(The photo is from #MustacheMonday at school.)

Monday, April 11, 2022

Week 32 of school / 31st COVID-19 Test

Week 32 of school.
31st COVID-19 test 

I was approached at a meeting this week by a person in their 70s. She thanked me for wearing my mask inside as she was feeling like she wouldn’t because none of her friends were wearing theirs and my wearing mine gave her the courage to put hers on. 

How sad is that? Someone who is at risk wasn’t wearing a mask because she thought someone would point her out and make a comment. 

I’ve had that experience too. Comments (In a sarcastic tone) like “Oh, you don’t HAVE to wear a mask in here.” “You can take that thing off in here.” Or “Oh, you’re still doing that?”

I calmly explain that I’m a high school teacher and I am just taking extra precautions to do my best to protect the students and their loved ones as well as my own family who are immunocompromised. At this point, you do what makes you comfortable, and I will do the same.

I will continue to choose to attend or not attend meetings and events based on the protocols in place and my general feeling of safety. When I do, I will be masked inside and while in crowds. 

I do it because I love you. 

I do it because you should not feel pressured to “unmask” before you’re comfortable.

I do it because your health and safety is more important than me being slightly uncomfortable with foggy glasses. 

I do it because I am getting back out into the world and want to make sure I don’t get anyone else sick.

I do it because #LoveMovesFirst
I tested last Saturday. I was negative.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Week 31 - 30th COVID-19 Test

Week 31 of school.
30th COVID-19 Test.

Yup.. it finally happened. Life got so busy that I didn’t take time to get tested last week. I could have… there’s rapid tests at school. But between getting the yearbook finalized, coming off Spring Break, the kids doing UIL and (insert other excuses here) I didn’t. After testing every week, I missed one. I’m sorry.

There was just 15 new documented cases in Kyle last week, 2 hospitalizations and, unfortunately, one death.

Nationally (as of April 3 averages) there are 30,898 new cases a day and 658 deaths a day. If you’re a stats person, that’s a really good sign. If you’re a loved one of someone who contracted COVID-19 because they didn’t believe it was real or they didn’t get the vaccine or take precautions because of some political belief… and they died… it’s heartbreaking… and I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m still masking indoors and when outside in crowds. For me, I’m more comfortable that way. I can take the snide comments from “friends” who feel they have to point it out… I’m masking for their safety as well.

Still trying to lead with love and walk away from those who choose mockery and/or return love with hate.

Love y’all.