When and how should we open schools?

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
Messages
22,735
So maybe it won't work that way for you. In my classes, independent work is reading and writing and I don't have students do a lot of either in class. Either I lecture or they do group work of some kind or there's a mix of both. But IME so far, the students get less out of a lecture on Zoom than they do out of a lecture in person, which I attribute to the fact that Zoom is rather deadly for participation, so I have to add more to my online material to review what I cover in lecture in addition to the material I already had in place. If I were having in-person meetings, I don't think I would need the review material.
Ah. I didn't really lecture much over zoom and I don't plan to this time, either. I don't know quite what to do on zoom if I have kids required to be there. Maybe do examples? But yeah, they super don't participate very well. What I did last time and what I plan to continue if we go full virtual is create lecture videos with examples for the kids to watch by themselves. This year I've also learned that there are web platforms that let you see who has watched and insert questions for them as they watch the video, so I will probably do that to make sure they are watching.

For hybrid, I've thought about flipping my class so I'm never actually trying to lecture on the livestream. So all kids do the videos at home and they should be spending the time in class (either at home or in person) working on activities/concept discovery or working on classwork based on what we've just done so if they get stuck, they can get help from me. It seems like, if they are only getting me in person for either the notes or the part where they get to try it themselves, it would be better for me to be there in person for the part where they try it themselves.

It's honestly really hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my kids won't really be able to work in groups. I feel like this is going to hold them back so much. Especially in AP, I have them do a lot of group and partner work and ask them to work together to try to get through their struggles before they come to me. I feel like this is so much more of a hit to their success and learning than people are thinking and even than I am really thinking.

Note: This week's emails do not address how things will work for the "in person" post October 5. We assume it will be hybrid. Previously we were told that hybrid would be based on the student's last name. A-L would go Monday-Tuesday, M-Z would go Thursday-Friday, with Wednesday as a deep clean day. Virtual instruction would be provided on the 3 days the students were not meeting in person.
This is the same model my district and many other districts will be using. I think it's probably the best of the hybrid models out there? I'm not sure I get what your problem with it is?

My question involved the streaming for "specials" (i.e., foreign languages). How would that work (which assumes some students actually return to the class) since some students will be in the class and others will be virtual?
I'm not sure what the difference is between foreign languages and other "specials" is here as opposed to anything else? They're saying that they might not be able to offer all of the same courses, but presumably they were be offered in the same way.

How this will work will depend on the teacher and the student and the district platform. If the school is livestreaming, some students will be watching on video, others will be there in person. In most cases the students in person will probably do more of the direct interaction with the teacher, but hopefully the learning management platform will allow students to post questions/comments in a chat that teachers can check. If schools are really trying, they may be able to set it up for teachers so that they can also hear questions from students via livestream, but that would require training and technology, so that may be less likely.

I don't think this will be any different for electives than for core classes except that your school is saying that the teachers who are available online will determine the electives offered.
 

Prancer

Needs More Sleep
Staff member
Messages
50,298
Ah. I didn't really lecture much over zoom and I don't plan to this time, either. I don't know quite what to do on zoom if I have kids required to be there. Maybe do examples? But yeah, they super don't participate very well. What I did last time and what I plan to continue if we go full virtual is create lecture videos with examples for the kids to watch by themselves. This year I've also learned that there are web platforms that let you see who has watched and insert questions for them as they watch the video, so I will probably do that to make sure they are watching.
Ah, well, I am required to do synchronous delivery of at least one class meeting per week in a hybrid course. Regular online classes have no lectures at all and essentially run themselves in terms of content, but admin is really insistent that we actually meet with class in the hybrid classes.

I see pros and cons for synchronous and asynchronous delivery, so I am okay with either system, but so far, anyway, I have found that the online content requirements are quite different between the two.

Live and learn and learn some more.
 

MsZem

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,395
What resonated for me in the article was:
1) Your kids aren't going to be socializing with safe in-person schooling. The safety precautions I have seen in places where they are trying to be safe will severely limit socialization.

2) Kids don't really get how school will be different (I've seen that when they are interviewed, but also the younger they are the more the necessary parts of their brain to have this sort of understanding haven't developed yet. Adults are having enough trouble with this. It's not possible for your 7 year old.)

So, yes, they want to go back to school, but no they won't be happy once they get there.
This is not something that requires conjecture, because many countries reopened schools with such measures in place in the spring. Were children in Germany, Denmark, France etc. unhappy going back to school because of distancing and other practices? Or is there something unique to the US that makes this more likely (e.g. longer school days = more hours wearing masks)?

This is anecdotal, but here's one mother's experience - the family lives in Berlin, and the kids had limited in-person schooling in May and June:
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
36,443
It's honestly really hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my kids won't really be able to work in groups. I feel like this is going to hold them back so much. Especially in AP, I have them do a lot of group and partner work and ask them to work together to try to get through their struggles before they come to me. I feel like this is so much more of a hit to their success and learning than people are thinking and even than I am really thinking.
Does your online software let you have breakout groups? I've done some meetings and even a "party" where we had breakout groups where everyone in the big meeting was put into smaller groups to interact just with each other.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
Messages
22,735
Does your online software let you have breakout groups? I've done some meetings and even a "party" where we had breakout groups where everyone in the big meeting was put into smaller groups to interact just with each other.
Not that I’m aware of? Although maybe it does? We use Microsoft Teams. But I’m thinking of in person learning. As of right now, we are still 5 days a week, although I think my BOE may make the call for hybrid Tuesday.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
36,443
I've only done it in Zoom but Google says MS Teams can do it too:


In case people need it.

I read the article about Germany and I have to say that it is reassuring but it's an anecdote, not data and only an anecdote for very little kids. Also, it sounds way more organized than what is going on in the US.

So I think whether or not students do better in whatever the US comes up with for in-person learning is still an open question.
 

MsZem

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,395
I read the article about Germany and I have to say that it is reassuring but it's an anecdote, not data and only an anecdote for very little kids. Also, it sounds way more organized than what is going on in the US.

So I think whether or not students do better in whatever the US comes up with for in-person learning is still an open question.
I did note that it's an anecdote, but I don't think I've seen anything about kids Europe being generally miserable with distancing and other measures in schools this past spring. My friends in Israel who have school-aged kids didn't report any issues either.

But indeed, it comes down to whether the US can learn from other countries' experience.
 

ballettmaus

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,671
So, she's a very hard worker, and an even bigger worrier. I think you're right, she'll be fine. I am not a science student, but how do the labs get done, does everything fall into place somehow?
Could labs be done if students went back to school with all the safety measures in place?
 

Orm Irian

Well-Known Member
Messages
770
For hybrid, I've thought about flipping my class so I'm never actually trying to lecture on the livestream.
I never taught online classes myself (I did do my Masters in Editing completely online though, so I have a student perspective on it), but my former colleagues who do say that the flipped classroom is a great model for online teaching. Short video'd lectures (between 5 and 10 minutes - they all say that longer loses the students) for the students to engage with first (with a workalong task or electronic quiz connected to it, due before the first online/in person class of the week, so that they do have to engage) followed by activities, group work and questions in the online classroom sessions is a format that's worked well for them.

My Masters lecturer did not do this, but combined lecture slides and question periods when we did have to have online lectures (mostly our 'lectures' were readings), but what works for an adult university class wouldn't necessarily be so good for high school students or undergrads.

It's honestly really hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my kids won't really be able to work in groups.
Can you look into breakout rooms on Zoom as part of your online class time? They work quite well. And group chats in Messenger or suchlike have also worked for some of my colleagues.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
510
This is the same model my district and many other districts will be using. I think it's probably the best of the hybrid models out there? I'm not sure I get what your problem with it is?
I never had an issue with this model per se.
My question was how live streaming will work when you have both in person students and @home students.
What did teachers think? Your answer
How this will work will depend on the teacher and the student and the district platform. If the school is livestreaming, some students will be watching on video, others will be there in person. In most cases the students in person will probably do more of the direct interaction with the teacher, but hopefully the learning management platform will allow students to post questions/comments in a chat that teachers can check. If schools are really trying, they may be able to set it up for teachers so that they can also hear questions from students via livestream, but that would require training and technology, so that may be less likely.
Moving on to my next question which is similar in nature to the earlier question about science labs.

I'm not sure what the difference is between foreign languages and other "specials" is here as opposed to anything else? They're saying that they might not be able to offer all of the same courses, but presumably they were be offered in the same way.
Foreign language are one of the many "specials" being offered. I just think that foreign languages are really hard to learn. Not only do you have the grammar, you also have the pronunciation as well as the accents that need to addressed.

As you indicted (and I understood), all specials will be offered via streaming to the kids @home. At some point during the year, theoretically teachers could have both live students and @home students. Added to that, upper level foreign language teachers have typically have multiple levels during one class period. My daughter's class last year really had 3 separate classes within it - French 3H, French 4, and IB French.

I fully understand "why" the district is proposing this approach but I question how effective it will be. Curious if there a foreign language teacher can comment on this.
 

Miezekatze

Well-Known Member
Messages
15,109
The German state of Bavaria has presented some sort of concept for schools after the summer holidays.

Depending on the number of new infections per 100000 inhabitants within 7 days in the schools district there would be different forms of schooling:

up to 20/100.000: "regular classes" (all students come to school) with hygiene rules, masks everywhere, except during class when seated, frequent opening of windows, all students in fixed classes, no mixing of classes
between 20 - 35/100000 - masks need to be worn during classes too
35 - 50/100000 - classes will be split in half and switch between remote learning and presence
over 50/100000 - completely remote learning

(Germany usually has no air conditioning in schools, so open windows are the only form of ventilation)

At least it sounds like a structured idea.
 

Theatregirl1122

Needs a nap
Messages
22,735
Short video'd lectures (between 5 and 10 minutes - they all say that longer loses the students) for the students to engage with first (with a workalong task or electronic quiz connected to it, due before the first online/in person class of the week, so that they do have to engage) followed by activities, group work and questions in the online classroom sessions is a format that's worked well for them.
My concern is how would I ever cover the content if I only had 5-10 minute video lessons? With math, there's a lot of material that has to be covered.


Can you look into breakout rooms on Zoom as part of your online class time? They work quite well. And group chats in Messenger or suchlike have also worked for some of my colleagues.
As I said to Prancer, I'm thinking more in person than at home as far as not being able to do group work. As of right now, we are not distance learning, although we may be switched to hybrid tomorrow.
 

clairecloutier

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,749
Here are 2 articles, which, looked at together, to me just illustrate how much we don't know about the current school situation.

In article #1, a Massachusetts psychologist argues that school this fall is going to be very different than school usually is, and therefore, may actually be more stressful/difficult for kids. And therefore, that opening schools may not be the best thing right now.

In article #2, the chief of pediatric medicine at an L.A. hospital argues that the loss of school is leading to serious health, psychological, and educational issues for kids that could haunt them for the rest of their lives, and that it's urgent that schools be reopened soon. Realistically or not, this doctor wants a $300+ billion investment from the federal gov't (she points out that businesses got this amount in the Cares Act) in order to retrofit and/or build new school buildings and hire more teaching staff.

Who's right?? Based on my own experience, I'm more with the pediatric medicine chief. But who can know for sure?
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
36,443
But indeed, it comes down to whether the US can learn from other countries' experience.
Well I think it's clear that we don't and therefore won't. :cry:

All this chaos can't be good for kids. I think that's why a lot of parents are throwing up their hands and picking something not public school-sponsored for their kids. Like signing them up for an online school or creating their own schools in their backyards. It's better to have it all settled with something less than optimal than all the back and forth.

In terms of socialization, if someone decided to do homeschooling and then the C19 situation improves dramatically, their kids can socialize with their friends outside of school. So I think parents who can provide these sorts of experiences for their kids (pods, homeschooling, etc) are smart to do so.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
510
Here are 2 articles, which, looked at together, to me just illustrate how much we don't know about the current school situation.

In article #1, a Massachusetts psychologist argues that school this fall is going to be very different than school usually is, and therefore, may actually be more stressful/difficult for kids. And therefore, that opening schools may not be the best thing right now.

In article #2, the chief of pediatric medicine at an L.A. hospital argues that the loss of school is leading to serious health, psychological, and educational issues for kids that could haunt them for the rest of their lives, and that it's urgent that schools be reopened soon. Realistically or not, this doctor wants a $300+ billion investment from the federal gov't (she points out that businesses got this amount in the Cares Act) in order to retrofit and/or build new school buildings and hire more teaching staff.

Who's right?? Based on my own experience, I'm more with the pediatric medicine chief. But who can know for sure?
My 10th grader told me that a not too close friend is back in rehab for the 3rd time since lockdown. When I pressed my daughter for more details, the issue is depression. Dad found the suicide note because the girl slit her wrists.
 

CassAgain

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,024
ETA: I'm in urban Arkansas.

My younger son is going into 7th grade at his Catholic elementary school. He's going back in-person, full-time next Monday, August 17th. There are some students who have opted for virtual, and anyone who has been out of state in the last two weeks must quarantine for two weeks but attend classes virtually. Students at home must wear their uniforms, sit at a desk or table, and be present for a four-hour session in the morning and a two-hour session in the afternoon.

My daughter is going to be a senior at an all-girls Catholic high school. They start back August 24. As an A-Ker, she will be going to school in-person Monday and Tuesday, and be virtual Wednesday (with the whole school) and Thursday and Friday while the L-Zers are in person. Anyone can opt into all-virtual. Again, they have to be present for class, wear their uniform, and sit at a desk or table. They have a block schedule, and they are doing Monday and Thursday as permanent A days, Tuesday and Friday as B days, and Wednesday as C day, in which they attend all classes for a shorter time.

Middle school and high school are practicing for the cross country season, but we have no idea if it will happen. There will be no musical for high school, and they are doing on-line forensics tournaments. (Those are the activities that affect us--don't know about others.)

I had my first virtual meeting this morning for my new job teaching English at a public middle school. They hardly mentioned BB. I'm sure I will learn more this week--we start in-person meetings tomorrow, and we start with in-person students on August 24.
 
Last edited:

Dobre

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,789
Here is a list of *********-related communication with parents about students & staff testing positive in one Georgia county this past week.

https://tinyurl.com/yxnz325t

Who's right?
When it comes to my physical health, I tend to trust my physician. When it comes to my mental health, I tend to trust a mental health specialist. When it comes to a child's education, I tend to trust teachers.

Teachers, I think, would say that if kids have a sound family support system and someone at home that values education, the odds are very high that the kids will do well.

Newspapers, on the other hand . . . when was the last time a major newspaper reported on how amazing & successful public education is in our country?
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
36,443
This is just a suggestion: I think now that we have people talking about their experiences all over the country and in other countries, it would be helpful when you say what is happening where you are if you remind us where you are. :D

It will give context to what is happening.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
36,443
So I read both those articles and I think they are both wrong.

The one that says to re-open schools (for the children!) is full of GOP talking points and acts like schools will be mostly normal. The other one exaggerates some of the issues IMO.
 

Matryeshka

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,342
I am a teacher at a private school in the South. We opened for students starting last Thursday. Teacher already possibly down with it; wife is in urgent care and about to be hospitalized. He was one of the leads on retreat and while he was careful and masked, many of the kids were not because many at our school hear "six feet OR masked" not "six feet AND masked" or "it's absolutely OK just as long as you're outside!" :rolleyes:

The football coach is an anti-masker and told his "boys" it's a hoax and they don't have to wear it. Now, in our school's defense, he's new and was hired last December to start this August before all this, and the athletic director ripped him a new one , but the damage was already done. I just lit into a group of junior boys--all football players--for not wearing their masks. They didn't have them on AT ALL, not just not wearing them incorrectly. In the South, the football coach is practically deified. It's like a damn stereotype. And it only takes ONE idiot. The academic dean told a student "oh, it's going to depend on the teacher..." way to throw us under the bus, champ. The procedures are very clear: MASKED AT ALL TIME INSIDE.

It's not going to work. Our kids are good kids who want to follow the rules and do well--I'm lucky that way--but they're still kids. For example, we are doing our opening "fire v. language" as the more important invention, and the kiddies were really into it in one of my classes. They wanted to push down the mask to talk faster/better, and I think many of them were doing it without realizing it. It's not going to be the idiots as those are easy to watch out for an know who they are--it's going to be the masses of good kids who are going to make mistakes because they're kids.
 

Matryeshka

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,342
I also want to call out myself in being a good teacher who is masked and trying to distance. For example, little freshman girl gets out of school to the big bad high school. She has books, purse, glasses, mask flying everywhere. Without thinking, I went up to her and opened her booksack, helping her organize before I was like NOPE, DANGER, NO NO NOOOO, CAN'T DO, SHOULDN'T DO, BACK AWAY because it's ingrained into me that 1. I should help the student because the student needs help and 2. the longer she stands in carline, the more backed up it gets and the angrier the Mad Moms in Minivans get.

Teachers and students make a thousand small gestures a day, many we do subconsciously as a result of being in that position for so long. A student this am asked if he could borrow a pen and unthinkingly I said sure. Then I told them he could keep it after I realized that's a safety no-no. I have a repeat student who has all sorts of ticks and personality quirks who can often be brought back with a pat on the shoulder or tap on the desk. I had to GRAB MY HAND from going up to him today because I could feel myself reaching out BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I DO.
 

once_upon

Voter
Messages
15,686
My 10th grader told me that a not too close friend is back in rehab for the 3rd time since lockdown. When I pressed my daughter for more details, the issue is depression. Dad found the suicide note because the girl slit her wrists.
Rehab or inpatient care? I think its a big difference.

If it's rehab for drug and/or alcohol that's different from a depressive disorder.

I'm not sure returning to in person classroom schooling will help address those issues.

Its not cause and effect. I feel sad/bad for her. But I think saying it is all because there wasn't school last spring is a big leap.
 

concorde

Well-Known Member
Messages
510
Rehab or inpatient care? I think its a big difference.

If it's rehab for drug and/or alcohol that's different from a depressive disorder.

I'm not sure returning to in person classroom schooling will help address those issues.

Its not cause and effect. I feel sad/bad for her. But I think saying it is all because there wasn't school last spring is a big leap.
Agreed there is a difference between rehab vs inpatient. What I used was my 10th graders terminology for the situation.

My impression from talking with my daughter was she was showing signs of depression prior to the shutdown. The lockdown was what pushed her over.
 

Dobre

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,789
Eleven of the schools in my region are in communities with the top two worst rates of new cases in the state. :cry:

The number of new cases each day is finally going down in Umatilla County now that they are at Stay at Home status, but the county still has four cities among the top ten for new cases in the state. And one of the towns in Morrow County has moved up to the worst, with multiple food processing plants now with outbreaks. Hopefully they will test everyone at them, but I've not heard anything about them doing so. These are the major employers in the town so I'm afraid a huge percentage of the population has been exposed.
 

once_upon

Voter
Messages
15,686
Given that she was experiencing depression before school closure, and that it is difficult to treat depression and we don't know when or if medications were added before or after shutdown I don't think we can do cause and effect.

If your daughter is using rehab as the description, I imagine she is repeating what someone else said. I would guess, but am not certain, that drugs and/or alcohol treatment is being addressed too. People often self medicate with those substances.

Adding new medications can actually increase suicidal actions. As explained to me, your depression can be severe that you are thinking of suicide but do not have the "energy" to follow through. Once medications are started the most dangerous time for increase in suicide attempts is 6-8 weeks. That's why doctors/psychologists have someone write a safety plan.
 

CantALoop

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,596
If you have been in a classroom with someone who is positive for 80+ minutes, I would think you should quarantine regardless of how close you were sitting to them. My sense in general has been that the 6 feet of social distancing was for short periods of time, not for long term sharing the same closed air.
I think the reason the whole class should quarantine is that they are sitting in a closed room with ventilation that moves the air around farther than 6 ft.
I'm a university professor in Hawaiʻi. I totally agree with @Theatregirl1122 & @MacMadame. I'm pretty lucky because our administration allowed departments to choose whether their classes would be in-person/hybrid/online.

As much as I vastly prefer teaching in person, I moved all my classes online. Initially, I thought I would only have students come in for exams. However, my course is late in the day, and I realized that the students and I would be breathing in the air of anybody who was in the lecture hall since the last cleaning. That's also assuming the janitorial staff is ventilating the room and using an aerosol disinfectant, but I'm pretty sure they're just disinfecting surfaces daily. Given the increasing evidence viral load is associated with CV19 severity, I decided exams are not worth anybody getting CV19.

I also moved the labs online. The building where the lab classrooms and my office are has a mold problem. If mold particles are passing through the HEPA filters and circulating through the HVAC central air, there's no way they're catching the CV.
Online demonstrations and simulations are a relatively poor substitute for a hands-on experience with some of these labs and techniques, but none of the labs are worth my TAs or students getting the CV.
I'm also wondering if it's even safe to show up in the office if the air quality was already bad to begin with...and I can't ventilate by opening my windows because they're sealed shut.
 
Last edited:

sk8pics

Well-Known Member
Messages
7,279
This year my daughter is signed up for chemistry and since we are starting virtually, I am really curious how labs will be handled. Someone told me that are software package that simulate experiments but I really don't think that will be close to the same experience.
For high school chemistry the software simulation of experiments would probably be good enough. I don’t think I learned all that many lab skills in high school chemistry, though I know we spent some time in labs. I worry more about college students who might be planning to go to grad school in chemistry or a related field. Because we did learn a lot of useful hands on skills in college, and also doing independent research for one of the professors. So there may be some gaps in their skills that they’ll have to work through once they get to grad school.
It's honors chemistry. If the labs don't get done, they don't get done. They watch demos and they learn the concepts. I honestly don't think it's that big a deal. It's not like it's AP where there is a number of lab hours required to sit for the tests. Chemistry is mostly math. Getting to do labs in person is the best case scenario, of course, but online demos will be fine.
:drama: I know what you mean and I agree with your point, but I died a little at the comment that chemistry is mostly math. :drama: It is a lot of math, but still :drama:
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 3)

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information