When and how should we open schools?

MacMadame

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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.
Internet School companies (like Connections Academy and K-12.com) have been advertising like crazy on my tv. I would not be surprised, with the kind of chaos that we are seeing around these discussions if parents aren't signing their kids up for these schools in much higher numbers than normal. What you get is a school curriculum and teachers that are proven and experienced and a lot less chaos. Plus these are technically public school so they don't cost you anything.

Some school districts already have a number of independent learning options. Our school district has at least one and it's open to everyone in the county regardless of their school district. I bet they double their enrollment next year.

Finally, I suspect families where one parent stays home will be looking at true homeschooling as well.

Mr. Mac and I talked about it last night. We agreed that if our kids were school-aged, we would not be sending them back to in-person school. I'm not planning to go back to the office until at least the end of the year so why would I send my kids back to school?
 

Prancer

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Internet School companies (like Connections Academy and K-12.com) have been advertising like crazy on my tv. I would not be surprised, with the kind of chaos that we are seeing around these discussions if parents aren't signing their kids up for these schools in much higher numbers than normal. What you get is a school curriculum and teachers that are proven and experienced and a lot less chaos. Plus these are technically public school so they don't cost you anything.

I see those ads and raise a cynical eyebrow. IME, online schools like that are pretty terrible.

I also think that most people who try actual homeschooling will be first in line to get their kids back in school.
 

canbelto

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So NYC has guidelines where teachers can apply to work remotely from him if they fall under some high risk categories. One is "smoking" and another is "BMI over 30." Some teachers on FB are seriously saying they plan to stuff themselves from now till August so they qualify.
 

Sylvia

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Re-posting here from the News thread:
The New York Times this evening has an article on large school districts and their ability to reopen.

The basic formula seems to be for the district's average daily infection rate to be no higher than 5% on tests. Anything above that is too dangerous.

But of the nation’s 10 largest school districts, only New York City and Chicago appear to have achieved that public health goal, according to a New York Times analysis of city and county-level data.

Some of the biggest districts, like Miami-Dade County in Florida and Clark County, Nev., which includes Las Vegas, are in counties that have recently reported positive test rates more than four times greater than the 5 percent threshold, the data shows.
 

once_upon

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My son and dil are trying to determine what they will do about school. I dont think their district has announced their plan for the school year, but he is seriously thinking of keeping them home.
I dont know what to say to them
 

SkateSand

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The largest high school district in the county just announced fall classes will be in person, five days a week, and all teachers and students to wear masks at all times on campus and to be social distancing. For parents who do not wish their students to return to in person classes, the school district will offer independent study programs.
 

ballettmaus

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The article also mentions that Manassas schools will do online learning and there was a link to an article that Prince George County will also do remote learning until January. https://tinyurl.com/y8q2z2j5

The San Francisco school district will also do remote learning. https://tinyurl.com/y7xbs3n8


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.

Our neighbor wants to do home schooling because she doesn't want to risk having the kids back in school only to have schools shut down again a couple of weeks later. Her kids are also very creative and one of her daughters especially was struggling with the way the school is set up and she did a lot better at home.
Her concern goes hand in hand with what my mom read in a link that had been forwarded to her by a colleague. In it, an expert mentioned that it would be much worse for a child's mentality if schools opened and had to close again than having schools closed and remote learning from the start.

Another friend is thinking about home schooling because she doesn't want her kids to have to deal with possible restrictions. The problem that I see there is that she and other parents were talking about maybe joining forces and forming study groups/teaching kids together and/or going on field trips together. The point of the restrictions and/or school closures is to keep everyone apart... (But then again, there's a reason case numbers in that part of Virginia are rising :shuffle: )
 

Viktoria

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Our district is full day/full week for K-5, middle and high school split to A/B groups, each going two days in school, three days remote/synchronous learning. There is an option for all online/synchronous learning. There's also a protocol in place for school closings based on how many students/teachers/staff test positive, everything from 72-hours out with deep cleaning and contact tracing to full 14-days out, all while switching to online learning so no gaps. It looks promising. Our school had a bout of flu run through it last fall and some classes were down by 1/3. Even though kids were in school, there was little to no new instruction because so many kids were out.

Local colleges are mixed. Some are doing all online learning except for lab/studio classes; others are starting in class with smaller classes, after Thanksgiving, all online (can't have kids running all over the country, then coming back).
 

MacMadame

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Another friend is thinking about home schooling because she doesn't want her kids to have to deal with possible restrictions. The problem that I see there is that she and other parents were talking about maybe joining forces and forming study groups/teaching kids together and/or going on field trips together. The point of the restrictions and/or school closures is to keep everyone apart... (But then again, there's a reason case numbers in that part of Virginia are rising :shuffle: )
I think this could work. A lot of the reason that schools are going online is that they can't make reasonable social bubbles from the outside. There was lots of talk of having 12 kids who did everything together with 1 teacher and how that just wasn't practical for a school to do. But I think it is practical for people to form their own social bubbles. If there are 2-4 families who all school and socialize together and one of them gets sick, it's a much smaller number of people effected than if a teacher gets sick at school.
 

ballettmaus

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I think this could work. A lot of the reason that schools are going online is that they can't make reasonable social bubbles from the outside. There was lots of talk of having 12 kids who did everything together with 1 teacher and how that just wasn't practical for a school to do. But I think it is practical for people to form their own social bubbles. If there are 2-4 families who all school and socialize together and one of them gets sick, it's a much smaller number of people effected than if a teacher gets sick at school.

From that point of view, you're right.
With regards to her specially, she's not the best informed persons in the world, so I'm not sure she'd stick to that one group and wouldn't (unintentionally) spread YKW to others outside that bubble. Based on what I've read, she seems to be one of those people who was okay with the SIP orders but thinks YKW is all but gone now.
 

myhoneyhoney

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The future of school has my family a bit stressed. My daughter will be a sophomore and is scheduled for pre-cal and a bunch of honors classes. How will online only classes teach her all this? How will colleges view her transcript, specially since the district used credit/no credit for her 2nd freshman semester? Does that ruin her 4.0? She was also so proud of making the volleyball team and varsity softball. What now?

My 2nd son will be a Junior in college. He's in the Biological Sciences program and aims to be a pediatrician. His college is a huge c-crap testing site so all classes will be online including labs. Can online labs really compare to hands on on campus lab work? How will that affect entry into medical school? Aaaaarrgghhhhh!!!!
 

Dobre

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I think colleges are going to be thrilled to have kids when this is all over.



(Hawaii had 29 cases today. If there is a state that looks like it may have managed to plateau after reopening with case numbers low enough to reopen schools, I would guess that Hawaii is it. There's a comment in this article that says outdoor learning is being discussed as an option in Hawaii as well, and of course, Hawaii has the climate to make that a much more feasible option than a lot of states. The big question mark for Hawaii is tourists. The state pushed back the timeline on them another month, but letting in tourists would/will/could potentially change the state's status regarding the ***** & therefore, schools).

Lots of articles about schools in Texas & South Carolina today, but both sound like maybe a work in progress as teachers/governors/cities aren't currently on the same page.
 

Viktoria

Active Member
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The future of school has my family a bit stressed. My daughter will be a sophomore and is scheduled for pre-cal and a bunch of honors classes. How will online only classes teach her all this? How will colleges view her transcript, specially since the district used credit/no credit for her 2nd freshman semester? Does that ruin her 4.0? She was also so proud of making the volleyball team and varsity softball. What now?

My 2nd son will be a Junior in college. He's in the Biological Sciences program and aims to be a pediatrician. His college is a huge c-crap testing site so all classes will be online including labs. Can online labs really compare to hands on on campus lab work? How will that affect entry into medical school? Aaaaarrgghhhhh!!!!

I agree with @Dobre and @MacMadame . I know it's hard to not stress when people tell you to "not stress," but all these kids are going to be in the same boat when it comes to college applications and colleges will absolutely be thrilled to have kids back.

I do think, hope, that starting off with more restrictions (all online) will bode well for eventually bringing labs and studio classes back to in-person. It's easier to start off strict and then loosen up as people show responsibility in "behaving themselves" ;) than it is to rein in things later. Also, psychologically, it will be easier to start strict and then loosen up than the opposite.

As for online labs, yes, one of my kids had an online bio lab in March and it was...uninspiring. My other kid offered to find some dead frogs and worms for them to dissect at home, but it wasn't received well. I will say that our living room is now an ersatz art studio, music room with tons of oil paints and clay and I'm just trying to settle in to our new bohemian living arrangements. It will all work out. I don't know how, but it will.
 

Susan1

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So many other schools have released their plans. This is what is still on Miamisburg's site, as of July 2. (I'm glad I don't have a kid in school that is supposed to start a month from now.)

Return To School Plan (Options) - 2020-21 School Year

We continue to plan for the reopening of Miamisburg City Schools for the 2020-2021 school year. The start date for the first day of school for students will be August 17. The opening of school is all dependent on the direction we receive from the Governor's Office, the Ohio Department of Education, as well as the state and local health departments.There are task forces working to formulate plans for the reset/restart. These task forces are listed below and are made-up of central office administrators, building administrators, supervisors, teachers, classified/support staff, and Board of Education members. These task forces are:
  • District Task Force – All task forces report to the District Task Force
  • Financial Task Force
  • Academic Task Force
  • Technology Task Force
  • Social-Emotional Learning Task Force
  • Preschool Task Force
  • Operations Task Force
  • Athletics Task Force
We have not sent out a formal restart plan yet as we wait for more guidance from the Governor’s office, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio Department of Education, as well as direction from the Montgomery County Educational Service Center and the county health department. We would like to have our plan be as accurate as possible when we release it to faculty, staff, families and students.

Our intent is to use the guidance and directives we receive from those people and/or organizations listed above and the recommendations from our task forces to make the decisions about how the school year will look like to begin 2020-2021. We have focused on a few options:

A. Full return with safety protocols in place, which will be shared with everyone when those are provided to us by the various governing entities.

B. Blended or hybrid learning which would entail some instruction in the classroom and some online on an alternating basis. If this plan is implemented, the details of how that will unfold will be shared with everyone. It is possible that we need to go to Plan B should we start the year with Plan A and circumstances arise which obligate us to revise our approach.

C. Full remote learning for extended closure periods, which could be imposed on the schools at any time as we move forward.

Whatever decision is made has an impact on all operations of the school including, but not limited to, transportation, food service, classroom organization, scheduling, teaching and learning, recess, class changes, common areas for staff and students, and arrival/dismissal times. This makes it critical for us to take all guidance and feedback from parents, staff and students into consideration when making decisions.

We appreciate everyone being patient and flexible as we work through this current situation and strive to meet our students’ needs while promoting safety and wellness for everyone.

As we receive updates and mandates, the plan which is ultimately devised might be changed at any given time based upon new developments in the city, county, or state.
 

Prancer

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I do think, hope, that starting off with more restrictions (all online) will bode well for eventually bringing labs and studio classes back to in-person.

Many colleges are doing this--lectures online, labs and applied classes on campus. Some of the colleges that announced earlier this summer that they were going to have all the students back on campus this fall have now switched to this model, even though they expect to have residential students back on campus.

No one wants to switch midstream again.

As for online labs, yes, one of my kids had an online bio lab in March and it was...uninspiring.

Online labs are not the best, but every school should be offering better online labs this fall than what were on offer in the spring. There are good all-online programs that have established online labs, so it can be done. But it's a challenge and not something that can be done well on the fly. Most teachers in the spring assumed that online courses were basically temporary stopgaps and acted accordingly; that's not going to be the approach for fall (at least one hope's not).[/QUOTE]
 

MacMadame

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the plan which is ultimately devised
They are going back to school in a month. And are talking about the plan that they will devise instead of the plan that they should already have by now. I really, really, really hope that they are working diligently on said plan and that it's ready enough that they are just putting finishing touches on it now and they just haven't updated the website.
 

once_upon

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My son's very good friends from high schools work in intercity schools in the area. One is a band teacher and he probably cant do much in online classes.

The other stated very emphatically she does not want to be an experiment in how you can do classroom teaching in a *********. And that we are fooling ourselves to think classroom education is equal for all students.

Let's just do an optimistic view of bathroom breaks for elementary classroom. IIRC the bathrooms in an elementary school have 8-10 stalls and maybe 4 sinks. My guess to maintain social distance and appropriate use of sinks a group of 4 students at a time will be in the bathroom at any time. Most classes in this area have 32 students (8 groups), some nursing research studies I've seen have indicated average time of 90 seconds for males and 180 seconds for females for bathroom activities, so let's go with 120 seconds x 8 groups, recommendations for 20 seconds hand washing with 5-10 seconds for drying for each group and probably another 15 seconds for change of the groups total 1,320. If I did the math right that's about 22 minutes. Now you have the line up time and return to 6 ft distancing. I dont know the typical bathroom break time now, but this is about 30 minute break probably twice a day.

If you have 3 classrooms for each of the 7 grade levels (K-6) that's 42 bathroom breaks to schedule during a 6 or 7 hour school day. Schedling nightmare for principals.

That's just bathroom breaks
 
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Prancer

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They are going back to school in a month. And are talking about the plan that they will devise instead of the plan that they should already have by now. I really, really, really hope that they are working diligently on said plan and that it's ready enough that they are just putting finishing touches on it now and they just haven't updated the website.

Given that five days ago, the Board of Ed president for that district said that the situation is fluid and changes every day and that the plan Susan1 cited was posted July 2, I'm betting that what you see is what you get there.

There may be a lot of things going on behind the scenes that I don't know about (this is usually the case with schools), but I'd say this is pretty typical of the local school systems. Parent surveys keep coming back with statistically even percentages equally favoring in-person classes, hybrid classes and online classes, so there is no direction coming from the community. No matter what the schools decide to do, two thirds of the parents will be unhappy.
 

Theatregirl1122

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My son and dil are trying to determine what they will do about school. I dont think their district has announced their plan for the school year, but he is seriously thinking of keeping them home.
I dont know what to say to them

One thing they may need to know is what will really be offered to families who choose distance learning when in person learning is being offered. It seems like the distance learning will be better if we have to go full distance learning, but if we are going in person, some states may not require that the families who choose not to attend in person be offered much.
 

PrincessLeppard

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Our school is giving the option of distance learning or in person.

Two concerns: if they pick distance learning, they need to stay with that the whole semester. I don't want kids jumping back and forth.

If a kid is taking my class from home, can they Zoom into the class so I don't have to record a separate lecture? (and then one of the other teachers was like, "but I'm not comfortable with Zoom being on in the classroom." Uh. Okay?)
 

Prancer

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If a kid is taking my class from home, can they Zoom into the class so I don't have to record a separate lecture? (and then one of the other teachers was like, "but I'm not comfortable with Zoom being on in the classroom." Uh. Okay?)

Having a record of everything can work for or against you; I can see why some people might not want to do that. But broadcasting your class allows the kids at home to be part of class discussion, which is important. Zoom is not the best format for that, but I've taught satellite classes where I have a class in one room and it's broadcast to groups in other rooms and everyone gets to ask questions and talk. It's not ideal, but at least you can have participation that way.

I would not want to do this all day long, however :shuffle: But then, I wouldn't want to have to teach a class in the classroom AND teach kids at home at the same time, either. That sounds exhausting.
 

missing

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Time Magazine asks if universities will be the next CV19 tinderbox.

Some universities are hoping that a pre-semester quarantine period, an honor code that encourages students to self-report symptoms and adopt masks and distancing, and campus-wide contact tracing will help avert catastrophe. But a recent study led by Dr Sherry Pagoto at the University of Connecticut—a survey of 2,698 students who will be returning to campus in a few weeks, and in-depth interviews with a further 35 students—suggests that many obstacles lie ahead, especially if students are not meaningfully engaged in the reopening planning process. (Dr Pagoto has shared the initial findings on social media.)

Every student said quarantine is not realistic and will fail. They also said that if they develop mild *********-19 symptoms, they may not report them. If they become infected, they’d be reluctant to tell the university about their contacts, especially those at bars. They were pessimistic about the safety of social events, suggesting mask use would not be universal. The fact that 117 students at University of Washington fraternities have tested positive since late June suggests that such fears are well founded. The overarching message seems to be that just telling students not to do things and leaving it at that is not a reliable policy.


 

once_upon

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My middle grandchildren had zoom classes March to May. They had some socialization because the first 10 minutes or so was like a show and tell. Everyone saying hi to each other, learning about each other's pets, etc. So kind of like the playground experiences before school - just built into the day. They are fortunate to have the means to do online learning and I'm 99% certain that my son will keep them home. If their district doesn't offers online learning options, I am betting that he will enroll them in a private online school

My ex-dil does not have the same resources. I think she is hoping for classroom school as my grandson doesn't have structure or motivation to do 5th grade school work. I don't think he had anything more than weekly packets to complete. He has a half sister who will be in preschool and truly needs structure, but the teachers will have a difficult time with this child especially trying to do all the hygiene and distancing.
 

Theatregirl1122

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Having a record of everything can work for or against you; I can see why some people might not want to do that. But broadcasting your class allows the kids at home to be part of class discussion, which is important. Zoom is not the best format for that, but I've taught satellite classes where I have a class in one room and it's broadcast to groups in other rooms and everyone gets to ask questions and talk. It's not ideal, but at least you can have participation that way.

I would not want to do this all day long, however :shuffle: But then, I wouldn't want to have to teach a class in the classroom AND teach kids at home at the same time, either. That sounds exhausting.

There are issues with this because we can’t guarantee the kids in the room won’t be recorded. Including private identifying info being shared like which children are pulled for services. Many unions are objecting to this because recording a K-12 class is not like recording a college class. You may have routine classroom management result in complaining from parents.

It’s clearly the most straightforward way to do it, but it might not be a possibility for K-12
 

Prancer

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Well Kayleigh McEnnany said in today's presser that schools should open "in full," with no hybrid/remote learning. Also said "the science should not stand in the way of this."


I watched her entire statement and clearly what she is saying is that the science supports opening the schools, not that the science says schools shouldn't open and they are ignoring it.

They are just ignoring the caveats in the science.

There are issues with this because we can’t guarantee the kids in the room won’t be recorded. Including private identifying info being shared like which children are pulled for services. Many unions are objecting to this because recording a K-12 class is not like recording a college class. You may have routine classroom management result in complaining from parents.

It’s clearly the most straightforward way to do it, but it might not be a possibility for K-12

I don't know that we would be allowed to do it, either, as privacy is an issue for college students as well. This is particularly a problem in something like freshman comp where some students are dual-credit high school students; at one time, they were treated as college students but now they aren't and the rules are somewhat different.

I'm glad I don't have to deal with it. Much respect to those of you who do.
 

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