When and how should we open schools?

MacMadame

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Since the discussion of re-opening schools seems to be taking over all the threads, I thought I'd start this new one to try to contain it a bit.

Reposting these from other threads to keep the discussion going:

Here is a study that suggests schools are not a hot bed of C19 transmission translated:

And the original:

Some ideas for how to re-open schools safely but they require money:

 

MacMadame

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So according to Governor Newsom at today's press briefing, the reason a lot of CA school districts are announcing that schools will be online to start the Fall is because of the guidelines that the state has released. And a spike in cases has caused other schools in other parts of the country to do the same:


Except for Orange county which, if you ask me (and I know no one did), are nuts. Not only re-opening schools but no masks or social distancing. WTF?

NY, on the other hand, is farther along in responding to the crisis with an infection rate of around 1% so NYC may actually be able to pull this off:
 

Hedwig

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There are some counties who are not very infectee in the US, right? Are there any among them who enforce social distancing and could therefore safely open or are they a disaster in waiting?
 

Miezekatze

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The German study is certainly encouraging generally when you are in a solid state of reopening, but I'd like to point out that they were conducted in Saxony, a German state with very little infections even for Germany. This state was lightly affected even during the height of the ********* here in Germany and now and during the study afaik there were very little new infections in general.

So I think what one can take from the study is certainly that it's not necessarily problematic to open schools when the curve is very flat and there's very little infected people (during the last 7 days there were 0,4 positive infection rseults per 100000 inhabitants in Saxony which would be like 0,0004 %.

So I wouldn't try to draw conclusions from such studies for countries that might be in completely different situations at the moment. I think the goal of such state-wide studies here really is to find out how safe it is to open schools in that particular state (my state did a similar study after the schools reopened here).

I'd guess if the ***** load everywhere is too big there certainly wouldn't be any decelerating effect from children anymore, if there really is any...
 

once_upon

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I think school districts within counties, and counties within a state is like state to state, it's hard to close borders. The same is true for school districts. The school districts in my area allows opt in from other school districts.

Maybe I'm not imaginative, but I dont see how you can stop ********* from spreading if counties have different standards.
 

PrincessLeppard

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The small town where I teach hasn't had very many cases. However, a lot of our students come from larger towns nearby and many of them play on sports leagues all over Omaha. And I would say only about half of the teachers actually live in the town.

So at the moment, it's probably okay to open. But it would've been nice if some of that business bail out money had gone to schools to help them buy equipment to make the schools safer.
 

manhn

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There are some counties who are not very infectee in the US, right? Are there any among them who enforce social distancing and could therefore safely open or are they a disaster in waiting?
What is Hawaii doing?

In British Columbia, we resumed school back in May. K-7 went back twice per week, older students once per week. It was entirely voluntary. About 15-20% of students returned. No kids were sick, although two teachers were sick (one private, one public--neither were exposed to the kids). The Province is intending to bring back K-7 5 days per week, no details yet though. Not sure about high school kids.
 

Sylvia

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Most public schools in Hawaii will offer a combination of on-campus and online education starting next month, but some plan to resume daily in-person instruction for all their students.
Principals selected different learning models in consultation with their staff and communities, campus by campus, for the new academic year. About 14% of the state’s elementary schools chose full-time, face-to-face instruction, with the rest opting for blended or hybrid approaches.
Almost all secondary schools opted for either a “blended rotation” of in-person and distance learning or the “hybrid” model where vulnerable students receive face-to-face instruction daily while others do the blended rotation. School is scheduled to start Aug. 4.
 

once_upon

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My DIL just responded to one of her friends on Facebook when they were discussing what the district will do, that my son is seriously considering keeping the kids home the upcoming year. They are hoping for an online learning options.
 

Sylvia

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NEWS RELEASE: Joint Statement from San Diego Unified, Los Angeles Unified School Districts Regarding Online Start to School Year: https://www.sandiegounified.org/newscenter/node/2285

NPR article:
Los Angeles Unified School District did not detail when, or under what conditions, schools might be able to open for in-person learning, even on a part-time or staggered schedule. San Diego Unified School District promised a "public assessment" by Aug. 10 of how soon they might return to physical classes.
The Los Angeles system is the nation's second-largest school district, and the decisions together affect more than 700,000 students and their families. They come amid pressure from the federal government to open and from local teacher unions to stay remote. On Thursday, United Teachers Los Angeles called for keeping schools closed. The union noted the disparate impact the ***** has on Black, brown and Indigenous communities, and that the district employs over 60,000 people. The statement said: "When politicians exhort educators and other workers to 'reignite the economy,' UTLA educators ask: who are you planning to use as kindling?"
ETA this article that summarizes the USA situation:
New York City will be allowed to open schools if positive test rates remain below 5%.
Chicago let high school athletes return to practice last week, but hasn't decided whether to have classes in person.
Miami-Dade is asking parents to vote on their preference of online, hybrid or in-person, but this only applies if the state goes to the next phase of re-opening.
Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools released its draft plan this weekend to start September with online-only classes. In-person classes would then be phased in, and blocked off by different periods and grades, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.
Las Vegas will have a hybrid system with the potential for alterations.
Atlanta's school board is voting today on whether to start the first nine weeks online.
In Seattle, students are "likely to go to school in person only once or twice a week" in the plan under consideration as of July 8, per the N.Y. Times.
 
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ballettmaus

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The German study is certainly encouraging generally when you are in a solid state of reopening, but I'd like to point out that they were conducted in Saxony, a German state with very little infections even for Germany. This state was lightly affected even during the height of the ********* here in Germany and now and during the study afaik there were very little new infections in general.
Plus, it's a conclusion they reached based on anti-body tests and they even mention that anti-bodies may disappear quickly, so that in itself sounds unreliable.

I think Denmark's school opening went well, too, but Israel and Hong Kong, I believe, said something different about schools. From all that I've read, I think whether or not schools can be opened successfully depends on how it's done. It seems that the countries that opened schools with precautions are doing well and the countries that just opened them up are not doing well.

Texas is reporting that cases in day care centers are rising. https://tinyurl.com/ya773qte

On Thursday, Texas reported 550 cases in children 9 and younger. https://tinyurl.com/ybcdj8rm

It looks like the study in Saxony doesn't give us in the US much of an indication about schools - other than that we need to wear masks and comply with all the safety measures!

ETA: One of the things that I find so concerning is the ignorance of longterm effects. There are people out there (talking generally here, not specifically/about politicians) who mention that children are often asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms and that's why we can open up schools because it's not big deal should children get it and they completely ignore that we don't know what the disease might do to the child over time. We already know about the Kawasaki syndrome-like illness that some children get, we also know that the disease can basically affect most everything inside the body of an adult. So, it's possible that children who had it are more likely to have kidney failure at one point in the near future or be at an increased risk of stroke or heart attack or blood clods or something else we don't know yet. Yes, it's entirely possible that children don't suffer any longterm effects but the point is, we don't know yet and considering what this disease can do to a body, I think our first priority should be to avoid getting it and to keep as many of our fellow people from getting it as well regardless of how ill they may or may not get right now.
 
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missing

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Orange County California schools announce recommending plans for reopening.

The Orange County Board of Education on Monday approved a proposal recommending that schools reopen in the fall without a requirement for masks or physical distancing.

The Board of Education can make recommendations for schools in Orange County, but those recommendations approved in a 4-1 vote are not binding for schools districts to follow, according to Ian Hannigan, the spokesman for the Orange County Department of Education.

The reopening guidance came out of a meeting last month with health and policy experts. Some of the board's guidance recommends physical distancing can be considered but is not mandatory for school-age children. Also, requiring children to wear masks may be too difficult and even harmful. They also say that participation and schools reopening should be voluntary.
 

clairecloutier

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Just got out of a virtual meeting in regard to my kids' new school, which they'll be starting in the fall.

Not much new information; there is no word from the state yet as to what model of teaching will be in place in Sept (in-person, remote, hybrid).

They did reveal that the school's share of federal ********* relief funds so far is $81,000. Which works out to about $172/kid. It doesn't seem like very much, considering all they're having to do in terms of ordering new PPE, possibly renting more space, reevaluating staffing needs, etc.
 

Sylvia

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Excerpt:
Hong Kong offers a cautionary tale of how difficult these decisions can be.
Schoolchildren were sent home at the end of January as the first wave of the outbreak began, originating from visitors from mainland China. Schools stayed closed through a second wave, sparked largely by European and North American travelers.
When Hong Kong appeared to be winning its war against *********-19, schools started to reopen. That was the end of May.
Things looked promising: From June 13 to July 5 there were no locally transmitted cases in Hong Kong.
But the city is now fighting a third wave of infections, and the education bureau announced that the school year would end on Friday — about a week before the scheduled last day in mid-July.
The decision comes despite the fact that, as the Secretary of Education Kevin Yeung remarked, "there has not been any confirmed cases of infection at schools, which reflects the good work of our schools." Nevertheless, because of a sharp increase in infections in the last week [in Hong Kong], the government concluded that it'd be unsafe for classes to continue.
 

MacMadame

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They did reveal that the school's share of federal ********* relief funds so far is $81,000. Which works out to about $172/kid. It doesn't seem like very much, considering all they're having to do in terms of ordering new PPE, possibly renting more space, reevaluating staffing needs, etc.
This is why when Betsy DeVille and President Dumbo said that schools who didn't re-open wouldn't get federal money, I just :rolleyes:. It's really not enough money to sway the decision one way or another and that's even assuming they have the ability to stop all federal money to schools.
 

Dobre

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Just read a facebook post from a friend that says we are starting out with online learning in her district in rural Oregon.

I've also read that the current "plan" in the Portland area is to start with online learning for two weeks--AKA wait a couple weeks and see what happens in other school districts that choose to open live classes at the start of the school year. Since two weeks hasn't been enough time to get decent data on the results of any other phase of reopening, I don't know why it would be now. But of course, a lot of timelines have been extended.

I don't know if similar thinking is part of the plan in this friend's rural county or not. Her county has new cases every day and in small communities. I don't see how they can open schools as long as new cases are showing up in these small towns, honestly. The county has over a 10% positivity rate.
 

Theatregirl1122

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In Connecticut, every district is required to submit 3 plans: full opening (5 days a week with masks and social distancing, students can opt for distance learning), hybrid, and full distance learning. Once the plans are approved, the state intends to have full control over what model is in effect at any given time.
 

Dobre

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Susan1

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They've mentioned several local districts' plans on the news. Most have been either all in classroom or all at home. Parents have to decide. And stick to it for the first semester. One was 50% of students in school 2 days and the other 50% in 2 days. I think that was a more rural school. They have more trouble with internet connectivity.

There's a meme on FB that says something like they are planning the GOP convention outside because it is too dangerous to be inside, but they are insisting kids go back to school INSIDE. Yup.
 

MsZem

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Reportedly there's a new plan for the upcoming school year: early childhood education classes will be split in two; likewise, grades 1-4. They will have school every day. All other grades will get a combination of classroom teaching (in smaller groups) and distance learning, with at least part of the week spent in school. The Ministry of Education will have to recruit and train new teachers and assistants to make this possible.

This sounds like a very reasonable plan. I hope it happens.
 
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clairecloutier

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So here's something that I hesitate to bring up, but I think is a concern ....

I've already seen several comments from parents on my Facebook suggesting that, if schools aren't going to provide in-person instruction in 2020-21, then maybe the school year should just be canceled altogether, or maybe they will consider opting of the school system entirely rather than doing the school-sponsored remote learning next year.

It's obviously a minority view right now, but just something to be aware of. I do wonder how destabilizing it will be to the education system, in the long term, if schools do not open their doors at all during the 2020-21 school year.
 

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