When and how should we open schools?

rfisher

Let the skating begin
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62,648
We had to notify the university which of our classes were 100% FTF, hybrid or 100% virtual today. With about three exceptions all of ours are either FTF or hybrid. We cannot do virtual labs or clinical requirements. We're either in or we're out. If we're told we have to virtual, than the only alternative is to delay the incoming class to next fall, push the juniors and seniors a year behind to graduate or teach the fall classes in the spring and the spring over the summer. My faculty is used to being off from June through August so I'm pretty sure they aren't going to be happy about the summer option. But, it's better than no pay for the entire fall term.
 

once_upon

New condo owner
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the was a news article about a private school who intends to do full time classroom education. Citing small classes and newer buildings as a plus. How enrollment is booming. This begs the question: if their advantage is smaller classes what happens when all these new kids are enrolled?
 

Dobre

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I guess we have been very fortunate here then. The ESD has been offering classes on about everything they could think of related to virtual learning all summer long. Up to four different classes a day at least three days a week from mid-June until mid-August. Not just for the schools associated with that ESD but for the whole region. At least 4 counties. I don't think one can expect teachers to have spent their whole summer taking classes, but teachers can pick & choose. The courses are also recorded so teachers can watch them later on their own schedules. I have a feeling a few more people might do that now that it's clear at least two local counties will be starting off the year virtual--unless a miracle happens with their case numbers or positivity rating in August. (If Trump wants more kids in school, then he needs to fund more testing so counties can afford to test people without symptoms & those positivity rates have a better chance of going down).
 

missing

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Fortune Magazine has an article reporting on another article about the ***** load of young children.

In a study of children under five who show mild to moderate symptoms of *********-19, those kids were found to contain higher concentrations of the ***** compared to older children, teens and adults, according to researchers at a Chicago pediatric hospital and Northwestern University...

"One of the things that’s come up in the whole school reopening discussion, is: since kids are less sick, is it because they have less of the *****?," said Taylor Heald-Sargent, the lead author and a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"And our data does not support that,” she told Fortune. As a result, "we can't assume that kids aren't able to spread the *****."


Here's the NBC News article on the same study but with a somewhat different take.
 
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concorde

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My nephew is trying to figure out which one of his kids will get to go to school if/when that’s an option. They go to different schools in different parts of the city and have to use the subway. The thought of both of them bringing home whatever crud is out there is just too much. As of yesterday, the high schooler will go and the middle schooler will be online. It might be a different decision next week.
I would advise your nephew to do the opposite.here is what we decided and why but I realize that each family (and child) has a different dynamic.

We have a rising 10th grade daughter and a rising 7th grade son. Our daughter was not happy with going virtual but she had the independence and friends network to get through the semester without any issues. For my son, the distance learning was a disaster - I wrote about them earlier.

For the new school year, my daughter will continue with her public school and we are not greatly worried about how classes are offered. Last year proved she did well regardless and we expect the same.

My son hopefully will be going private. His interview is tomorrow. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed because none of us can repeated what happened last spring.
 

Prancer

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A parent who’s on one of the official parent/school confirmed that it’s a boxed solution, not a program that will be run by our teachers.
Nononononononononno! Good lord. Way back when online learning first started, everyone believed that this would be great--they could just post stuff and have online testing and students everywhere could get a world-class education without having to provide things like teachers and campuses.

Does no one remember how this crashed and burned in rather spectacular fashion? And that was education targeted at adults, not kids.

I think you are right about DESE, as this flies in the face of so much research.
 

hoptoad

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1,589
My district (CT) is doing a hybrid approach with the expectation that we may have to move between 3 modes: full capacity FTF, half-capacity FTF/half remote (students attend in person two days a week) and fully remote. We expect at least some students to be remote all the time, between families choosing fully remote and those who are temporarily sick or quarantined.

Parents will have the option to choose remote learning from the beginning and will be able to switch in and out of remote learning as they see fit. (Caveat that the schools may have difficulty accommodating frequent switches back and forth, but parents are not stuck with what they chose for the whole year.)

This is possible because teachers will be doing both remote and FTF (at half or full capacity) simultaneously. Technology is not a big problem for the district. High school students already have chromebooks issued and support was given for those who needed internet access in the spring. Teachers will have seven days of PD on how to do classes for hybrid FTF and remote learning.

This is not going to be 'video the class' but something like: video the direct instruction, have FTF and remote students interact in breakout rooms, and then bring everyone together and maybe record closing discussion. I hope the PD will be sufficient to help us figure this out! This will be challenging, but not as bad as trying to do separate FTF and remote classes.

Elementary and middle schools will be cohorted; high school will not due to programming and scheduling needs.

As a high school teacher, I'm wary of the steep learning curve with the technology, but I do see the benefits of students keeping the same teachers and schedule all year. I'm fuzzy on some of the details, especially at the lower levels, but after about 4 hours of Q/A with parents and with teachers, I don't think there was anything mentioned on this thread that wasn't brought up by somebody. Of course there was a lot of 'we don't know yet' and 'subject to change' but i get the feeling that the school board and administration are really doing the best they can, knowing they can't please everyone.

As others have brought up, there is no hard-line requirement for distancing from the state, just a 'do the best you can.' The schools are increasing ventilation rates in buildings and upgrading filters where they can. Masks are required with mask breaks taking place outside. Possibly they will put up festival style tents to enable some outdoor time during inclement weather.

I found it interesting that according to the plan submitted to the state, the superintendent or his designee will decide what phase the school is in (full/half/remote) based on local conditions. He did clarify that although he can decide for the district that conditions are not safe to do full or half FTF at a particular time, the state decides in the end how many school days are required and whether or not remote learning will count. They expect that schools will at least be given the go ahead to count remote learning for what would have been snow days. I guess the thought is that if the district feels things are getting bad, they don't have to wait on the state to switch to remote learning.

Sorry for the novel, lol. I'm sure things will continue to change. I also realize that my district has certain options and favorable conditions that many don't. I am afraid that things are going to get worse in New England again, but I really want the in-person time to connect with students, especially at the beginning of the year. The thought of being in my classroom with 20-27 students and all of us breathing on each other for an hour straight makes me very nervous, but 10 at a time doesn't sound nearly as bad.
 

once_upon

New condo owner
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My middle grandchildren messenger called me this afternoon. They told me they are doing remote learning this school year. They have the room in their house to dedicate to a "school room", my son and dil are ordering school desks for them. According to the kids their previous nanny's cousin will come to the house at times to help them.

My son talks about the difficulties in making the decision, acknowledged they have the privilege to be able to do this, and the inequalities inherent in our current socioeconomic environment. How his friends who are teachers have little to no say on the school districts options for students and their own employment.

Given some of the things I've read that parents are expected to do - taking their child's temperature before sending them to school, etc. I'm skeptical those will be followed.
 

Aceon6

Isolating from mean people
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@concorde Appreciate the response, but my nephew’s oldest would commute on a train that serves mostly middle class areas, while the youngest’s commute is through some very densely populated areas that have higher prevalence of crud. In their case, it’s looking to be safer for the older one. And don’t suggest driving them... the kids attend school in different boroughs of NYC.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
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22,601
For those interested ... Here’s the actual slide from our district’s presentation about remote learning:


If our district goes with a hybrid or in-person model, parents can select remote-only learning. However, “the remote learning experience will be standalone, with content and instruction through the platform.” A parent who’s on one of the official parent/school confirmed that it’s a boxed solution, not a program that will be run by our teachers. Further, DESE (the state department of education), not the district, is choosing the platform. So the district’s involvement is minimal.

Personally I interpret this as a pressure move by DESE to get kids back into school in-person.
That makes sense, honestly. We're trying to figure out how it would be humanly possible for our teachers to do both online teaching and in person teaching at the same time. It's incredibly difficult. I don't think boxed learning is a great idea, but I don't know how teachers are supposed to manage both without working ourselves to death.
 
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MacMadame

Staying at home
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35,352
One of my nieces did an online school for a lot of HS way back when they were living in another country. From what she said, it was a lot like those "Free Online Public School" programs and there were teachers to help. Hopefully, the Pre-Canned program will have live people as part of the package.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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If we just flat out started with remote and planned to do the whole semester that way, we would not use the boxed program; we'd teach online. And the plan now is that if we eventually do hit red (red: YOU'RE ALL GOING TO DIE) on our scale, and everyone stays home, we would convert to all online teaching EXCEPT the kids who started on the boxed program. They would stay with it, as that curriculum doesn't line up (in terms of pacing) with the in-person class.

I was telling @Prancer that I think we are going to start with hybrid (3/2) as it is, because my county, which was doing very well, had a huge spike last week and we are very close to moving from yellow (caution) to orange (uh, warning? here be dragons? germs running amok?), which is our signal for hybrid. Arg.
This is all so fcked up!
 

clairecloutier

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That makes sense, honestly. We're trying to figure out how it would be humanly possible for our teachers to do both online teaching and in person teaching at the same time. It's incredibly difficult. I don't think boxed learning is a great idea, but I don't know how teachers are supposed to manage both without working ourselves to death.

I think my issue is that this approach allocates all of the valuable resource of teachers’ time to the kids doing in-person. Thus the kids doing in-person will clearly be getting a superior education than the kids studying at home. And, we’re all paying the same tax dollars.

The state has been telling us all along that parents would have the option of doing all-remote learning. They didn’t tell us that it would be a second-rate offering with little or no teacher contact. I guess I might’ve surmised that myself. However, until recently, I was still thinking the federal gov’t would step in at some point to provide enough money to feasibly do both to some extent.
 

missing

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The state of Tennessee won't collect data on CV19 cases in its schools.

A day after a top official in Gov. Bill Lee's administration said Tennessee plans to withhold the number of *********-19 cases in schools from the public, a spokesperson said the information will not even be collected by the state.

When Lee announced guidance for school reopenings on Tuesday, state Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said Tennessee had no plans to provide the public with data on the number of ******** cases and deaths at schools as many return to in-person classes.


You now have 3 guesses as to Gov. Bill Lee's political affiliation.

Ooh- you guessed it on the first try.
 

Dobre

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million$momma

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Ontario is sending elementary school students back to the classroom full time after Labour Day (social distancing in place, mandatory masks grade 4+, kids stay bubbled in their classroom). Small secondary schools will go back full time too. Larger secondary schools will be 50/50.
 

AxelAnnie

Graceful men lift lovely girls in white!
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I think my issue is that this approach allocates all of the valuable resource of teachers’ time to the kids doing in-person. Thus the kids doing in-person will clearly be getting a superior education than the kids studying at home. And, we’re all paying the same tax dollars.

The state has been telling us all along that parents would have the option of doing all-remote learning. They didn’t tell us that it would be a second-rate offering with little or no teacher contact. I guess I might’ve surmised that myself. However, until recently, I was still thinking the federal gov’t would step in at some point to provide enough money to feasibly do both to some extent.
Why would the on line learning be sub par?
Could be better.
I read a couple of books a week in my kindle. People say...oh I wound miss the feel of a book. But the thing is I can look up words i know the meaning of...but not really. I can look at locations and see a picture...totally great.
Why would online learning be that great? The kids then can go off on a tangent about something they are curious about?
In person learning is not necessarily what it us supposed to be. There are some teachers who are extraordinary and many teachers who are not. Especially in California were the teachers get promoted
According to longevity rather than merit.
 
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Dobre

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Safety concerns for parents, teachers returning to school as *********-19 ravages Florida


What the 15 biggest US school districts are planning for reopening
 

Prancer

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That makes sense, honestly. We're trying to figure out how it would be humanly possible for our teachers to do both online teaching and in person teaching at the same time. It's incredibly difficult. I don't think boxed learning is a great idea, but I don't know how teachers are supposed to manage both without working ourselves to death.
I get that. But if a school is going to split the students into different groups, then it seems to me the school cannot reasonably do that without hiring more teachers.

We can't have everything.

I think my issue is that this approach allocates all of the valuable resource of teachers’ time to the kids doing in-person.
And the in-person students will already have the learning advantage of in-person instruction.

Why would the on line learning be sub par?
Because there is quite a bit of research showing that for online education to be successful, there must be an actively engaged teacher in charge of the class--and that is for adults who have self-selected their courses.

I read a couple of books a week in my kindle. People say...oh I wound miss the feel of a book. But the thing is I can look up words i know the meaning of...but not really. I can look at locations and see a picture...totally great.
And do you read voluntarily, because it's something you enjoy? Do you really think that's a good analogy for kids taking classes online?

Have you ever taken any online classes? Have you taken online classes in subjects you have no interest in or in classes that are challenging for you?

Try it for yourself--as an adult, no less, with self-discipline AND motivation--and see how well you do. There are a lot of MOOCs around--pick one in a subject you find both boring and hard and see how you do.
 

Louis

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I'm in agreement with @Prancer on this.

Teaching in-person and online simultaneously would require some serious technology investments - like an in-person camera operator and maybe individual screens where the virtual children would appear. I've never been to a mixed in-person and remote workshop that was successful. I've worked in a lot of mixed and virtual environments, and two hours is the absolute max people can sustain. And those are adults.

It's entirely unrealistic to expect teachers to instruct both in-person and virtually at the same time, to the same class. I'll picket with the teachers' unions on this one. :lol:

I understand that people don't like the idea of "outsourcing" virtual education, but what are schools supposed to do? They likely need every single teacher they have for in-person classes (and I imagine some, who are high risk, may not be able to teach?). Should they hire long-term subs (and would the quality be any better?), and then do an even split between in-person and virtual? You'd still end up with winners and losers, but maybe people would feel better because the winners and losers would be determined by random chance rather than choice.

Education funded by property tax is inherently unfair. Plenty of children have to deal with "the district," "the state," and all of these other awful entities that are now taking over your high-income suburbs. Maybe this will be the dose of equality that people will need to get behind real school reform - at minimum, pooled school tax at a state level so that wealthy areas cannot subsidize luxurious, private-equivalent schools for the upper middle and rich, while poor students a few miles away are lucky to have textbooks from this millennium.
 

clairecloutier

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I agree that education funded by property tax is inherently unfair & I’d love to see changes in that system.

As to the last few statements in the above post, “the district” and “the state” have always had an influence on suburban schools, as it’s “the state” setting the curriculum and standardized tests that organize much of the school year for every student, and it’s “the district” that governs every school system. Not sure where the idea came in that these “awful entities” just suddenly appeared in our lives, they’ve been there all along.

Also I’m not sure if there’s an illusion that I’m in a “high-income suburb,” but just to clarify, median family income in my district was $55k in the last census, and enough of our district qualifies for Federal reduced-price lunch that the entire district qualifies.
 
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million$momma

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We have some 'teachers on special assignment' that normally travel with in a family of schools. They offer extra technology, math and literacy support/instruction to teachers. Because they want to eliminate the travel between schools, our board seems to be considering using these teachers to man the online learning programs that they are offering. At this point we don't know how many families will choose the online learning option, but this allows for about 1 extra teacher per school. Instead of being a part of their 'regular' classroom, students would be grouped with other children in the board in their grade.
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
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62,648
I agree that education funded by property tax is inherently unfair & I’d love to see changes in that system.

As to the last few statements in the above post, “the district” and “the state” have always had an influence on suburban schools, as it’s “the state” setting the curriculum and standardized tests that organize much of the school year for every student, and it’s “the district” that governs every school system. Not sure where the idea came in that these “awful entities” just suddenly appeared in our lives, they’ve been there all along.

Also I’m not sure if there’s an illusion that I’m in a “high-income suburb,” but just to clarify, median family income in my district was $55k in the last census, and enough of our district qualifies for Federal reduced-price lunch that the entire district qualifies.
But Trump says you're living the Suburban Dream! And, he's going to keep those low income people out so your property values stay high.
 

missing

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The New York Times has a map showing every county in the US and the likelihood in each county of how many students or staff might arrive first week of school already infected.

Based on current infection rates, more than 80 percent of Americans live in a county where at least one infected person would be expected to show up to a school of 500 students and staff in the first week, if school started today.

In the highest-risk areas — including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Nashville and Las Vegas — at least five students or staff would be expected to show up infected with the ***** at a school of 500 people.
 

PrincessLeppard

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Especially in California were the teachers get promoted
According to longevity rather than merit.
Nebraska does this, too. And it's fine. Because there's no way to equitably decide "merit." Test scores? Sometimes you just get a bad class. Does the teacher who teaches only honors classes deserve a higher raise than the ones who work with struggling kids? For the most part, bad teachers don't last that long. (I'm not saying they never last. I'm saying, for the most part, they weed themselves out.)
 

once_upon

New condo owner
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15,042
I agree that education funded by property tax is inherently unfair & I’d love to see changes in that system.

As to the last few statements in the above post, “the district” and “the state” have always had an influence on suburban schools, as it’s “the state” setting the curriculum and standardized tests that organize much of the school year for every student, and it’s “the district” that governs every school system. Not sure where the idea came in that these “awful entities” just suddenly appeared in our lives, they’ve been there all along.

Also I’m not sure if there’s an illusion that I’m in a “high-income suburb,” but just to clarify, median family income in my district was $55k in the last census, and enough of our district qualifies for Federal reduced-price lunch that the entire district qualifies.
I guess when I talk about my grandchildren differences and refer to low income vs affluent communities i make more of an assessment of general incomes/tax base.

One family lives in an area where minimum wage, each adult in household working two or more jobs, is the norm. Not to say there aren't families who make more. This community has many essential workers or more impacted by jobs that no longer exist (entertainment like DJ in bars, concessions stands in arenas, wait staff etc). This school district has a grant that all children get school lunch. This school district also has a grant to provide every child a chrome book.

One family lives in an area where work from home is common (even pre-*********), where essential workers are doctors, police, etc. There may be two income but also some where this is a stay at home parent. Of course there are some families that are making a little above minimum wage that live there too. Some families qualify for school lunch, but there is not the grant for all kids. The tax base income is much higher.

The ability to actually choose a method is the second family. It will always be that.
 

GarrAargHrumph

I can kill you with my brain
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I mean, that's fine for California. How are we gonna have class outside in New England?
If I was in California, Florida, Hawaii, etc., I would consider tutoring outside--maybe on a porch with a covered roof--throughout the year. In Eastern Oregon, the wind becomes frigid in October and outdoor learning isn't generally feasible again until late March.
Outdoor teaching just seems like a nonstarter in the Northeast. It doesn’t regularly get above 60F until May and temperatures dip below 60F again by mid-October. Not to mention the rain, which averages over 3 inches a month.
We used to have classes outdoors in New England and elsewhere in the winter. NYC, Providence, RI, and Boston had outdoor classes during winter back in the early 1900s, as a way to prevent the spread of TB and, later on, flu. They also had indoor classrooms with windows and doors to the buildings/classes wide open. This article in the NY Times explains how they did it, and asks why it isn't being more seriously considered today (they aren't the only article I've seen asking the same questions.) It also discusses how it might be done in NYC today. The article contains photos, and the photos are awesome, so definitely check it out.

Similarly, this is an article on how they'd moved some classes outdoors in Chicago in the early 1900s, including winter.

Outdoor classrooms were even more common in northern Europe during this time period, as a way to prevent spread of illness. They went out of fashion when we got antibiotics.
 
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