When and how should we open schools?

Dobre

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GHSA reports 866 *********-19 cases
866 high school athletes in Georgia have tested positive.

Ga. School District Quarantines Hundreds Of Students Over Fears Of *********-19 Exposure

Another update on the Cherokee School District, which now has 925 students & staff quarantined. (Another article--from 7 minutes ago--says there are now over 1,000 quarantined).

"Cherokee County School District Superintendent Brian Hightower said in a statement Tuesday that there had been 59 positive *********-19 tests among students and staff since the Aug. 3 reopening."

"He said Etowah High School would be closed to in-person learning effective at the end of classes on Tuesday. At the end of Monday, about 300 of the school's 2,400 students, or 12.5%, were under quarantine, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

DeKalb Schools: 80 students, employees recently test positive for *********-19
-School has not opened to live classes in this district. They pushed back the start date & are starting virtually. But they have a bunch of staff & student athletes that have tested postive.



FYI, the governor of Georgia thinks the first week of school went well. :rolleyes:
 

Prancer

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The issue of study skills and especially writing skills is striking; it really is the basis for so much later on, and many students are lacking in this. I am forever grateful to my freshman year English teacher for helping me improve my own writing. But I was loved to read growing up, and I know most of my students are not big readers.
I attribute most academic problems (not all) to poor reading skills. A few years ago, my department asked faculty what assignment(s) students struggled with most and the most common answer was summarizing. We all attribute this to poor reading.

I teach University 101 (college survival skills) sometimes and take classes myself, and I am consistently amazed at how little students read and take notes. I had thought it was just my class, but no--I am usually the only person taking notes in any class and it's apparent that I am also often the only student in class who has read the textbook.

Readers have always had major advantages in college, but there seem to be fewer of them.

She made all the students take a "diagnostic" quiz (like this) that helped convince some students not to take the online course.
Pre-crud, students who wanted to take online classes at my college had to have a B average and pass an online skills test (which included reading and following a set of instructions). Faculty who wanted to teach online had to do a semester-long class in teaching online, too.

We had a very successful online program. I don't know what it will look like this year.

Of course, it's all moot when there's no choice. I wish I could provide an in-person option for those students, but it's just not safe for them or me. I'll try my best to engage them and create a community, but that also relies on them being willing to reach back online.
This is one thing change I am trying to do for fall--more student engagement and community building.

Learning that really opened my eyes to see that unlike most of my friends at my university, many students weren't capable of studying by themselves. I imagine it's still the case at my university today.
Yes, I took independent study courses from time to time, but I don't think that's on offer much any more. I do remember people failing those classes even when I was taking them, though.
 

Dobre

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Emerging clusters at U.S. schools raise concerns about wider community spread.

Scroll down past the first article until you find the title in bold font above.

"Phil Phillips, the coach of the high school football team in Oneonta, Ala., told a local television station, WBMA, that he was not sure how his five players had caught the ***** but was concerned about it spreading further. Players were tested after showing symptoms or having a family member test positive.

'I looked my wife in the eyes Monday night before I went to bed and said, I sure hope we didn’t kill anybody’s grandmother today by having a football practice,' Mr. Phillips told the news station last week. 'You’re torn, because these kids want to play so bad.'"
 

MacMadame

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'I looked my wife in the eyes Monday night before I went to bed and said, I sure hope we didn’t kill anybody’s grandmother today by having a football practice,' Mr. Phillips told the news station last week. 'You’re torn, because these kids want to play so bad.'"
Yes the kids want to play. But the adults are adults and need to start acting like it. They should do what is right for the kids. Which is not letting them kill their grandparents and also not getting sick to the point that their athletic career is over.

ETA forgot to add my link. This is how a school that some of my friends from HS and college work at is doing in-person learning:

 

MacMadame

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Some articles on ventilation and one on how that relates to schools re-opening:


 

Dobre

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More than 150 school employees have tested positive for *********-19 in Central Texas

Among the stats for various school districts is this quote:

"In July, the KVUE Defenders independently confirmed 51 employees at Austin ISD have tested positive for *********-19, while 698 have quarantined. The district has not provided updated information since then, despite numerous requests."

I think the obvious answer to this question is :bribe:. The quotes I've read for new school ventilation systems varied dramatically, but none were affordable. Here is another article. (I haven't given them my info for full access, but in the first couple paragraphs it says that 41% of schools need updated ventilation systems).
 

Japanfan

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I attribute most academic problems (not all) to poor reading skills. A few years ago, my department asked faculty what assignment(s) students struggled with most and the most common answer was summarizing. We all attribute this to poor reading.

I teach University 101 (college survival skills) sometimes and take classes myself, and I am consistently amazed at how little students read and take notes. I had thought it was just my class, but no--I am usually the only person taking notes in any class and it's apparent that I am also often the only student in class who has read the textbook.

Readers have always had major advantages in college, but there seem to be fewer of them.
I think that at least in part, this is because of phones and computers. I've heard that attentions spans have been reduced by the use of these gadgets.

A friend of mine (an older mom, now over 50) has tried so hard to encourage her child to read, but it's been a struggle.

In my experience as a student and editor, Chinese students are often better at summarizing than native speakers - though of course my sample is small. Sometimes I think the Chinese learn better writing skills than native speakers, though again I could well be wrong as my sample is so small. Good readers/writers generally don't seek my services.

I worked with a high school student a few months ago, and when her father asked me how she could improve her writing, I suggested grammar drills. Though who would want to do grammar drills these days, other than word nerds like myself.

In general, it seems to me that writing was taught better back in the 60s/70s when I was in school.

I worked with an Indigenous student who had attended residential school and been taught by nuns, and I was very impressed by her impeccable grammar.
 

MacMadame

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In my experience as a student and editor, Chinese students are often better at summarizing than native speakers - though of course my sample is small. Sometimes I think the Chinese learn better writing skills than native speakers, though again I could well be wrong as my sample is so small. Good readers/writers generally don't seek my services.
That hasn't been my experience in the workforce.

I worked with a high school student a few months ago, and when her father asked me how she could improve her writing, I suggested grammar drills.
The secret to good writing is to write, write, write. It is completely possible to have impeccable grammar and still be a poor writer due to not being able to get your point across, being repetitive, committing logical fallacies, or otherwise being too tedious to read.
 

SkateSand

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I worked with an Indigenous student who had attended residential school and been taught by nuns, and I was very impressed by her impeccable grammar.
I learned to read in kindergarten in Africa, and when my mother and I moved to Mexico when I was six, I attended a Catholic convent school even though neither of us was Catholic. She had asked around and had been informed it was the best school. It was. When we moved to California several years later and I attended a regular public elementary school, I felt like I was at least a year ahead of everyone else, and while I had worked my little tail off to keep the very stern nuns happy, I felt regular public school was easy-peasy.
 

Susan1

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I don't have any kids or grandkids in school, just some interesting notes. The numbers from the map as of Aug. 6 were outdated the next day. One local school was going to be a hybrid and has switched to all remote. Another school that was already hybrid is shortening classes to make a free period at the end of the day to deal with remote students.

I had the numbers for my city where 49.2% chose in-class. There was a survey of Ohio teachers (only about 1/10 responded though). Only 8% want in-class, 36% want remote only until cases decline significantly, 29.98% want remote for the fall semester, then see how it's going.

And on the news they talked about Ohio Connections Academy. I've seen commercials for it before "now" -
 

MacMadame

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And on the news they talked about Ohio Connections Academy. I've seen commercials for it before "now" -
Tuition-Free Online Public School in Ohio | OH Connections Academy
I mentioned seeing a lot of ads about this earlier. (Back when I was seeing them constantly, they seem to have died down since then.) I was curious how it worked and if they really were free. It seems they register in states that let them be a charter school. So it really is public school, funded by public school money, but online.

It gets very mixed reviews, btw.
 

Prancer

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That hasn't been my experience in the workforce.
Mine, either. Sometimes international students have excellent English skills, particularly the ones who are multilingual, but most of the time they don't. This is not a reflection on them, it's just the reality of trying to write in an unfamiliar language.

The secret to good writing is to write, write, write.
I think the secret to good writing is to feel driven to write well. Good writers are nearly always compulsive writers who are mercilessly critical of their own work.

The best writing advice I have ever heard is to write long letters to other people. There are many reasons this is good advice, but alas. People are more inclined to read than they are to write letters.
 

Dobre

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I am not sending my kids back to school

A very thorough explanation of how Dr. Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, and his family made this tough decision. It points out that the kids really wanted to return to school. Demonstrates how the family did their research. Describes the local school as being very well prepared. And looks at the science + the scenario in their particular region. One thing that I thought some of you might appreciate here is that, while the Gupta family is not sending the kids to face-to-face school, they are allowing the kids to have a socially distanced meeting with their teachers face-to-face prior to starting virtual schooling.
 

concorde

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I attribute most academic problems (not all) to poor reading skills. A few years ago, my department asked faculty what assignment(s) students struggled with most and the most common answer was summarizing. We all attribute this to poor reading.
Maybe its the kids have not found what they like to read.

As a kid, I hated to read and being read to. When I was in 8th grade, I was still "reading" picture books. My sophomore year of high school I opted to take Honors English and the summer reading list was horrible: Old Man and the Sea; For Whom the Bell Tolls; As I Lay Dying; and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I called it the summer of death and even my mother (who always read our summer reading books) thought those selections were too much for a high school kid. By Senior years, I opted to go back to regular English.

I never enjoyed the "classics." If I don't enjoy a book, I can read it cover to cover and not remember anything about it.

I have enjoyed reading my daughter's summer reading books. Last year it was "The Other Wes Moore" which I had read and really enjoyed before it was assigned to her. This year it is the "Hunger Games." These may not be the classics but if a kid can read and enjoy a book, then I am for the books.
 

concorde

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One thing that I thought some of you might appreciate here is that, while the Gupta family is not sending the kids to face-to-face school, they are allowing the kids to have a socially distanced meeting with their teachers face-to-face prior to starting virtual schooling.
That is one of my daughter's biggest concerns about going virtual - How will the teacher know who she is?!
We have not yet heard how our school system plans to address this. Public schools here are going virtual until at least October 5.
 

MacMadame

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The Atlantic has a series of articles about college. I think most parents here have younger kids but we do have some college professors.

Cancel College:

Colleges are not considering staff:
 

once_upon

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Well, it's only Wednesday and two different elementary schools in two different districts have had someone(s?) in the schools test positive. Deep cleaning and some people (students, staff not reported which) with contact with patients are to quarantine.

Wow a whole three days
 

Prancer

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These may not be the classics but if a kid can read and enjoy a book, then I am for the books.
There are a number of reasons that certain books are assigned in literature courses, but that's another issue. I am talking about students reading nonfiction material for their courses, like their textbooks. Or instructions.

Textbooks are deadly; I don't use one in class because I can't stand them myself. But if I have to read one for a class, I do it and I understand it because that's what I have to do. That's now how it works for a lot of students.

For example, in one class I have students read an opinion piece and summarize it for one assignment. They can choose from 20 pieces; the pieces are always current (sometimes I add them right up to the day before the assignment is given) and topical--also pretty easy to read (general newspaper level). Most of them find at least one of the pieces interesting. But they still often struggle to identify the main idea and major supporting points and sometimes miss the meaning of the writing entirely.

In another example, I took a class in the geography of the Middle East a few years ago and one day, I said in class that I had noticed that our textbook was a third edition and I wondered if the past two editions had actually been worse, as it was the most poorly written and edited textbook I had ever seen. The professor agreed with me and said it was terrible, but there were very few textbooks to choose from and this one was the best of the lot. The rest of the class was confused by this because none of them had noticed anything wrong with the text. I am not talking about things like poor grammar or the occasional typo. Sentences ended in the middle. Paragraphs did not make sense. Sections of the book would be talking about one thing--say, Shias in Saudi Arabia--and for no apparent reason would have paragraphs in the middle of the section talking about something else entirely, like the frankincense trade in Oman.

All the tests in the class were taken from material in the book, so we HAD to read it and try to follow it. I couldn't believe no one had noticed this, but when I talked to some of the students about studying, I found out (again) that none of them were reading the book. They would skim a chapter or two the night before the test, looking for highlighted vocabulary words. And yes, grades were terrible in that class.

I sometimes teach University 101, which is an all-purpose college survival skills class, and that's what I have found a lot of students do in that class as well--they skim everything very quickly, usually once, and they call it studying. Many of them are taught to do this in middle and high school. Many of them also confess to reading only the first couple of paragraphs of any reading assignment or to reading the first and last paragraphs only. Academically strong students can get away with skimming material this way because they know how to identify main points (and BS--academically strong students know how to pile it high and deeper when they haven't studied enough and usually have excellent synthesizing ability), but the ones who aren't academically strong can't.

College is reading dependent; you have to read a lot and read well, whether you enjoy it or not, to succeed in almost any subject.

That is one of my daughter's biggest concerns about going virtual - How will the teacher know who she is?!
We have not yet heard how our school system plans to address this. Public schools here are going virtual until at least October 5.
I know who my online students are. I have them email me and I have them introduce themselves to the class in a discussion post first thing; often I do this with a video post so we can all see each other. Most of them, I "know" right away because they say or post something about themselves that I can remember. The ones who are hard to identify after the first week or two are the ones who say "hello" in the email and almost nothing in their introductory post. But after a couple of assignments, I "know" all of them.

This is pretty common in online classes--introductions, ice-breakers, group activities, etc. Even online, you are supposed to try to build a classroom community.
 

clairecloutier

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Our school district just announced that they are reversing their decision to start grades K-3 in-person due to an increase in cases in our city over the last 2-week period :eek: .... No word yet from our kids' charter school. The start of the school year is still a month away for us.
 

clairecloutier

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Sorry for the double post, but I just wanted to chime in for a moment on the reading discussion.


For example, in one class I have students read an opinion piece and summarize it for one assignment. They can choose from 20 pieces; the pieces are always current (sometimes I add them right up to the day before the assignment is given) and topical--also pretty easy to read (general newspaper level). Most of them find at least one of the pieces interesting. But they still often struggle to identify the main idea and major supporting points and sometimes miss the meaning of the writing entirely.

So here's what I find interesting about this ... In Massachusetts, they are actively trying to teach these exact skills of how to read nonfiction texts, identify main idea/supporting points, and summarize the piece, as early as 3rd grade. My kids have been working on these kinds of exercises, and have had those skills assessed on standardized tests, since they were 8 years old.

And you know what? Despite several years of plugging away at it, it's still a struggle for them. I actually really question why kids need to learn these skills at 8, 9, or 10 years old. I don't remember doing this kind of stuff at that age! And I don't think I would have been ready for it, if I had. I'm good with these types of skills now, as an adult. But at age 8 or 10, I think I would have just been confused.

I really wonder if schools would actually be more successful with inculcating these specific skills if they waited until kids were older, say in 8th or 9th grade. I'd honestly be very curious to hear what teachers on FSU think about this issue.


In another example, I took a class in the geography of the Middle East a few years ago and one day, I said in class that I had noticed that our textbook was a third edition and I wondered if the past two editions had actually been worse, as it was the most poorly written and edited textbook I had ever seen. The professor agreed with me and said it was terrible, but there were very few textbooks to choose from and this one was the best of the lot. The rest of the class was confused by this because none of them had noticed anything wrong with the text. I am not talking about things like poor grammar or the occasional typo. Sentences ended in the middle. Paragraphs did not make sense.

Last week, my kids started a short virtual summer English session at their new school, and I happened to peek into one of the online vocabulary tools they were using. The kids were told to work on a 32-word vocabulary lesson. Imagine my dismay when I realized that at least 3 of the 32 words were misspelled in the program!! The program was literally pinging the kids for giving wrong answers if they actually spelled the words correctly!! But, honestly, as someone who used to work in publishing ... so much is dependent on the teams working on these learning tools, and if they're not very good, or if they are forced into skipping advisable steps in the process (not uncommon today, unfortunately, in publishing), well, that's when you get crap like this. :eek:
 

once_upon

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There are a number of reasons that certain books are assigned in literature courses, but that's another issue. I am talking about students reading nonfiction material for their courses, like their textbooks. Or instructions.

Textbooks are deadly; I don't use one in class because I can't stand them myself. But if I have to read one for a class, I do it and I understand it because that's what I have to do. That's now how it works for a lot of students.

For example, in one class I have students read an opinion piece and summarize it for one assignment. They can choose from 20 pieces; the pieces are always current (sometimes I add them right up to the day before the assignment is given) and topical--also pretty easy to read (general newspaper level). Most of them find at least one of the pieces interesting. But they still often struggle to identify the main idea and major supporting points and sometimes miss the meaning of the writing entirely.

In another example, I took a class in the geography of the Middle East a few years ago and one day, I said in class that I had noticed that our textbook was a third edition and I wondered if the past two editions had actually been worse, as it was the most poorly written and edited textbook I had ever seen. The professor agreed with me and said it was terrible, but there were very few textbooks to choose from and this one was the best of the lot. The rest of the class was confused by this because none of them had noticed anything wrong with the text. I am not talking about things like poor grammar or the occasional typo. Sentences ended in the middle. Paragraphs did not make sense. Sections of the book would be talking about one thing--say, Shias in Saudi Arabia--and for no apparent reason would have paragraphs in the middle of the section talking about something else entirely, like the frankincense trade in Oman.

All the tests in the class were taken from material in the book, so we HAD to read it and try to follow it. I couldn't believe no one had noticed this, but when I talked to some of the students about studying, I found out (again) that none of them were reading the book. They would skim a chapter or two the night before the test, looking for highlighted vocabulary words. And yes, grades were terrible in that class.

I sometimes teach University 101, which is an all-purpose college survival skills class, and that's what I have found a lot of students do in that class as well--they skim everything very quickly, usually once, and they call it studying. Many of them are taught to do this in middle and high school. Many of them also confess to reading only the first couple of paragraphs of any reading assignment or to reading the first and last paragraphs only. Academically strong students can get away with skimming material this way because they know how to identify main points (and BS--academically strong students know how to pile it high and deeper when they haven't studied enough and usually have excellent synthesizing ability), but the ones who aren't academically strong can't.

College is reading dependent; you have to read a lot and read well, whether you enjoy it or not, to succeed in almost any subject.



I know who my online students are. I have them email me and I have them introduce themselves to the class in a discussion post first thing; often I do this with a video post so we can all see each other. Most of them, I "know" right away because they say or post something about themselves that I can remember. The ones who are hard to identify after the first week or two are the ones who say "hello" in the email and almost nothing in their introductory post. But after a couple of assignments, I "know" all of them.

This is pretty common in online classes--introductions, ice-breakers, group activities, etc. Even online, you are supposed to try to build a classroom community.
My 7th grade core teacher - I think she taught English and History - was probably the best teacher in terms of teaching reading comprehension. In History, we had what everyone thought was a stupid assignment. We were to write out the key sentence in a paragraph. Many of my classmates chose the shortest sentence, not the one with the key point.

I can't tell you how valuable that was. I'm a rapid reader because I can find that key thing easily.

When I took my first Master's program course, the weekly "required" reading for each class overwhelmed me. I tried to read all the journal articles and textbooks sometimes upto 25 journal articles and 3 chapters per class period . I soon discovered that it was best to find the most current 3-5 articles and read those.
 

Dobre

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*********-19 cases emerge in North Georgia schools as Hamilton County students set to return


Some different counties in Georgia. There is a quote at the end here that strikes me as classic:

"Rhequia Walker, a 14-year-old sophomore at Chattooga High School, is one of those students. Rhequia is now on waiting list for the district's virtual program, because she initially signed up for in-person instruction. Her mom, Natasha Wells-Walker, hopes that doesn't interfere with her finishing the year on time.

"I told Rhequia when school started, 'You have a 6-foot bubble. Nobody goes in yours, you don't go in anyone else's,'" Wells-Walker said. "She came home after two days and told me nobody was wearing masks, kids weren't following the rules in the hallways. Everyone was carrying on as usual."

Hosmer told reporters the day after the first day of school that students and staff did a "pretty good job" wearing masks and would stress the importance of social distancing in hallways in-between classes and after school.

After the first weekend of the new semester, two students tested positive for *********-19.

"Immediately, I pulled rank," Wells-Walker said. "[The district] knew it was inevitable for these kids. There's no way for them to stay 6 feet away from each other. When you go shopping at Walmart, they make you wear a mask. Why aren't public schools doing the same thing?"



So here we have a parent who seems like she is trying to do the right thing. Prepared her child to try to be safe. Her child respected her mother enough to tell her how things were working. And ultimately this parent makes a decision for the safety of her child, based on new information. All good. But here at the end, "The district knew it was inevitable . . ."

Because of course it is the district's fault. It's not like she could have known it was inevitable? I just see this happening time & time again. People trust schools & teachers to be safe, just as kids trust their parents to be safe. Then people ignore when teachers & school staff tell them something isn't safe. And then, when it turns out not to be safe, the same people blame the schools for not being safe.
 
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Japanfan

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23,432
The secret to good writing is to write, write, write. It is completely possible to have impeccable grammar and still be a poor writer due to not being able to get your point across, being repetitive, committing logical fallacies, or otherwise being too tedious to read.
Yes, I neglected to mention that in my post. I always tell clients that writing is a skill that is improved with the practice, and lots of it. And, that reading and writing go together. I tell them to read anything that is of interest to them - it is the reading that matters.

I've had very few clients who ever did improve their writing, I can count them on one hand in a 20 year period. One of them was a brilliant who student who was very good at research and analysis, but not a good writer. Her parents spent a small fortune. The others have been competent writers to start off with.

And then there was one who got a job translating Korean TV into English - her English improved in leaps and bounds.
 

KCC

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For 2-3 weeks, the professor for one of my MBA classes repeated in every class "the first test will cover chapters 1-5 in your textbook", and then he went on to lecture about something completely different. I guess I was the only student that even opened the textbook to discover that the book and lectures covered different material, and so was the only student that read the book and passed the test. The rest of the class was mad at the professor and mad at me for blowing the curve. If you pay over $100 for a textbook and never even open it to check that it aligns with the lecture, then I say that's not the professor's problem. Textbooks these days even come with a website with practice quizzes. These are not college freshmen -- it is a grad program.
 

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