When and how should we open schools?

PrincessLeppard

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Our nurse sent an interesting message today. Our cases of kids with the p!ague has dropped to almost nothing AND there are fewer other illnesses going through the kids. (colds, ailments like that)

She thinks it's the cleaning protocols, (some) social distancing, and masks, even with about 15% of the kids with their noses hanging out. :p

In person school can happen safely, but everyone has to work together.
 

once_upon

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Our nurse sent an interesting message today. Our cases of kids with the p!ague has dropped to almost nothing AND there are fewer other illnesses going through the kids. (colds, ailments like that)

She thinks it's the cleaning protocols, (some) social distancing, and masks, even with about 15% of the kids with their noses hanging out. :p

In person school can happen safely, but everyone has to work together.
Did you see the news story about Atlantic County in Iowa (i think it was Atlantic) where they closed schools until Thursday or Friday? Their % of kids not in school because of illness was significantly higher now compared to normal years? Not saying c-19, but out of caution were closing schools for several days
 

concorde

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Daughter (sophomore in HS) is 100% virtual until mid October. She overall likes the schedule but . . .

She acknowledges that she is not learning as much as pre-*********.

She is also prone to migraines and recently the frequency and intensity has increased. We took her to the doctor and was told this is becoming common -the issue is increased screen time. She has the blue protection on her glasses so I was surprised by this comment.
 

Prancer

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Nephew is doing surprisingly well, and using youtube to do a bunch of self-learning, e.g., how to complete a Rubik's cube.

A side note, but a couple of years ago, our PD focused on Gen Z and one of the things a lot of faculty commented about was the amount of time Gen Z kids spend on YouTube. Much snarking was involved until a couple of us pointed out that there is a great deal of educational content on YouTube. It might not be all academic, but still--YouTube is great for hobbies and self-education. I spend a few hours on YouTube every week myself.

She is also prone to migraines and recently the frequency and intensity has increased. We took her to the doctor and was told this is becoming common -the issue is increased screen time. She has the blue protection on her glasses so I was surprised by this comment.

The blue protection blocks only 10% of the blue light (I think that's what I was told when I got mine, anyway). And it's questionable whether it helps at all.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says you don’t need them and has gone on record as not recommending any kind of special eyewear for computer users. The organization says blue light from digital devices does not lead to eye disease and doesn’t even cause eyestrain. The problems people complain about are simply caused by overuse of digital devices, it says.

“The symptoms of digital eye strain are linked to how we use our digital devices, not the blue light coming out of them,” the AAO says.


The optometrist told me that the key is to have a lot of light in the room; it's looking at screens in low light or darkness that causes the most problems.

I don't have migraines (both my kids do and screen time can definitely be a trigger), but I am having a lot of trouble with my eyes right now and I suspect that at least part of that is too much screen time. My vision tends to blur a lot after long grading sessions and it can last for a few days.
 

MacMadame

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology says you don’t need them and has gone on record as not recommending any kind of special eyewear for computer users. The organization says blue light from digital devices does not lead to eye disease and doesn’t even cause eyestrain. The problems people complain about are simply caused by overuse of digital devices, it says.
I thought the purpose of them was to help you sleep better?
 

ballettmaus

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She acknowledges that she is not learning as much as pre-*********.

It's possible she's learning different things that are not immediately obvious, though. :)


She is also prone to migraines and recently the frequency and intensity has increased. We took her to the doctor and was told this is becoming common -the issue is increased screen time. She has the blue protection on her glasses so I was surprised by this comment.

Could also be muscle tension because she's sitting and staring straight ahead at a screen for so long. It's where my headaches usually come from.
 

Miezekatze

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My first 2 months in home office were pretty sucky, because I only had a small old-ish monitor and some kitchen chair to sit on, my old neck and shoulder muscle problems came back and that can also cause headaches..

Since I got my big monitor and my office chair sent home, I'm feeling great.

Obviously I doubt any school children will have an ergonomic workplace :scream:

But when migraines get worse I'd also take a look to see if maybe the chair/desk situation is not good and can be improved.
 

MacMadame

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There is a big blowup in Palo Alto tonight. The School Board wants to open up with the youngest kids starting Oce 12th (but special ed is already going to school?) but the teachers and parents are saying No. The school board meeting is still going on with no decision.

One of the parents was on my TV saying they were going to file an injunction and start a recall campaign if schools open. These are well-to-do parents who don't want their kids to be guinea pigs. I kind of don't blame them but I kind of do.
 

Prancer

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My first 2 months in home office were pretty sucky, because I only had a small old-ish monitor and some kitchen chair to sit on, my old neck and shoulder muscle problems came back and that can also cause headaches..

Since I got my big monitor and my office chair sent home, I'm feeling great.

I just moved into my office at home and for the first week, I was in a lot of pain. My husband is the ergonimics person where he works, so he came in and watched me work for about 15 minutes. He adjusted my chair, switched out my mouse pad and placed it differently, moved a light and shifted my pen and pencil holder.

Voila! By the next afternoon, all my pain was gone.

Meanwhile, on Zoom, most of my students are either sitting on the floor working on a coffee table or slouching in their beds. But they are young and more flexible than I am.
 
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concorde

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My first 2 months in home office were pretty sucky, because I only had a small old-ish monitor and some kitchen chair to sit on, my old neck and shoulder muscle problems came back and that can also cause headaches..

Since I got my big monitor and my office chair sent home, I'm feeling great.

Obviously I doubt any school children will have an ergonomic workplace :scream:

But when migraines get worse I'd also take a look to see if maybe the chair/desk situation is not good and can be improved.
My daughter has a pretty sweet set up in the TV room (smallest bedroom). We moved an existing desk in it and purchased a new adjustable office chair. She can move between desk/chair setup and a loveseat. The room gets alot of natural light throughout most of the day.

I asked her about getting a seperate monitor for the laptop but I got pushback on that. I think the issue with that would it her ability to move around her "office."

Fyi. She had wanted to do her virtual schooling from her bedroom and I overruled on that. I think working from the bed is a bad idea.
 

MacMadame

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I have a setup with a monitor, @concorde and when I move to the couch, I just unhook it. But for some things I do, the extra monitor is really helpful. Maybe try that and see if she likes it.

Update from the Palo Alto School Board meeting last night:


(They say c19 coverage is free but this particular article may be behind a paywall so I'll put in some excerpts.)

In spite of a large group of unified parents and teachers who deeply oppose the Palo Alto school district’s ******** reopening plan, the school board unanimously decided late Tuesday night to begin a phased reopening process that would start Oct. 12.

The swift board action comes just days after nearly 400 parents and teachers signed a letter urging the school board not to approve the district’s plan over significant concerns about safety and quality of education. Many dozens of district critics tuned into Tuesday’s deliberations and gave public comments condemning what they say is a plan that ignored teacher and parent input.

But despite the mounting backlash among some parents and teachers, the district is now set to bring elementary school students back to campuses starting Oct 12, with two grade levels phased in every week through Nov. 9 and middle and high school students set to return Jan. 7 in similarly staggered schedules.

All parents are being asked to make a commitment to one of the district’s two options: a hybrid online and in-person education complete with teacher interactions at Palo Alto schools, or a continuation of distance learning from home. Many elementary school parents who faced making a decision in less than two weeks objected to the district’s rigid choice standards and urged educators to consider more flexible options.


Since I've been going to school board meetings in my town, I have a sense of how these things go. It's quite possible that these parents are a minority who are organized (thus seeming like a majority) and that's why the school board went ahead with their plans. Given caseloads in the area, I think opening up school two K and 1st graders in two weeks is reasonable. I am not a fan of the hybrid model though. It seems like the worst of both choices. I do understand that telling parents that whatever they pick, they are stuck for the semester is hard and I don't agree with that even though it's obvious why school districts are doing that.
 
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Prancer

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Fyi. She had wanted to do her virtual schooling from her bedroom and I overruled on that. I think working from the bed is a bad idea.

It is, but it's so common that a warning against it is now included in the material the students are supposed to read before they begin remote learning.

Your daughter is lucky. Some of my students are lucky, too, and I see some great setups. Some of them, though--:scream: When they unmute their mics, the chaos in the background is just :yikes:. And then there are their rooms, which are also :yikes:. Many of them are sitting in the dark or near-dark.
 

sk8pics

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I just moved into my office at home and for the first week, I was in a lot of pain. My husband is the ergonimics person where he works, so he came in and watched me work for about 15 minutes. He adjusted my chair, switched out my mouse pad and placed it differently, moved a light and shifted my pen and pencil holder.

Voila! By the next afternoon, all my pain was gone.
I was an ergonomics auditor at work for quite awhile, and it really is impressive how much improvement you can make with a few adjustments. Even after I wasn't officially an auditor any more (they outsourced it) I would still sometimes :rolleyes: at some of the setups and gently steer them in the right direction.
 

sk8nlizard

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We got an email from our school today. For the first quarter 68% of students went in person (our school is about 400 total students). For 2nd quarter they are adding 50 in person students. If I did the math right that will now be about 80% in person come mid October. We have decided to stay remote until the semester and reevaluate. However, our school has had no cases on YNW so far.
 

ballettmaus

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Heard from a friend whose child attends private school in Virginia: they had to pick up their child today because of a stomach ache and needed to get a note from the pediatrician that the child was good to attend tomorrow and in order to see the pediatrician, they needed to get a (rapid) test. Child is negative, though I would have been surprised had it been a different result as the school has a strict mask policy, keeps the children apart in class and even requires them to be around 10ft during outside PE when they're not wearing masks!

But the German school keeps claiming they can't do this and they can't do that. Sounds an awful lot like they don't want to because it requires more work and they may have to defend their decisions in front of parents. (One of the teachers said that he saw several families who he's normally friendly with, as they were waiting to get tested (mandatory for school children before returning in person) and they wouldn't look at him).
 

Dobre

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We have six K-12 schools reporting cases thus far in Oregon. 2 of the 6 are private schools. The vast majority of schools have not met the original health metrics to open face-to-face here. (The metrics have now been changed so other schools will probably be opening, but I don't think this initial number reflects that yet). I think only one of the six schools with cases is in a county that has met the original health metrics to open buildings to more than small groups of super high-priority students. The other five are all either staff members (many schools require staff to work on site) or likely members of those super high-priority student groups.
 

concorde

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Heard from a friend whose child attends private school in Virginia: they had to pick up their child today because of a stomach ache and needed to get a note from the pediatrician that the child was good to attend tomorrow and in order to see the pediatrician, they needed to get a (rapid) test. Child is negative, though I would have been surprised had it been a different result as the school has a strict mask policy, keeps the children apart in class and even requires them to be around 10ft during outside PE when they're not wearing masks!
Son's school has a similar policy to that Virginia school.
One of the kids on my son's class was out sick three days last week and apparently the child had to show a negative test result before he could come back into the classroom.
 

Prancer

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10 facts about school reopenings in the *********-19 *********

1) Almost half of American schools planned to start the year fully in-person
2) Those serving a high percentage of students in poverty are more likely to be fully remote
3) Schools and districts are changing their plans constantly
4) For students who are in school, one analysis found a 0.071 percent infection rate
5) Teachers and staff were infected at a rate of 0.19 percent, more than twice the rate of students
6) Many schools have closed temporarily because of positive cases
7) Hybrid models aren’t necessarily better
8) Most schools are taking precautions — but public schools are taking fewer than private ones
9) It’s not clear yet how much schools are driving overall rates of *********-19 in communities
10) We need more data


All ten are explained in more detail in the article, although some of these are kinda, well, yeah.
 

Dobre

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Arkansas school superintendent dies from *********-19

Arkansas elementary school teacher dies from *********-19
 

Dobre

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Checking on the case count growth in New York now that schools have reopened.

New York City is ‘on the edge of a precipice’ as ******** cases grow, former CDC director says

"******** infection rates in the New York City area continue to soar far above other parts of the state just days after it reopened indoor dining spaces and returned more students to classrooms for in-person learning.

New York is responding to growing clusters of ******** cases in 20 “hotspot” ZIP codes that are reporting positivity rates, or the number of tests coming back positive, as high as 18%, based on a weekly average, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Saturday.

More than half of the hotspot ZIP codes are from Kings and Queens counties, which are located in New York City’s Brooklyn and Queens boroughs. Two other counties slightly north of New York City — Rockland and Orange — make up the remaining hotspot areas.

Although the top 20 ZIP codes are home to 6.7% of the state’s population, they represented 26% of Friday’s new *********-19 cases, Cuomo said. The average positivity rate among them is 5.2% — well above the 1% rate for the remainder of the state."


My understanding was that teachers' unions were promised schools would return to all virtual if the positivity rate went over 3%?
 

Dobre

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Mayor closed down schools in 9 "hot zone" zip codes:

11691, 11219, 11223, 11230, 11204, 11210, 11229, 11415 and 11367.

I want to hit both the "like" icon and the "sad" icon. Really wanted this to work for New York because they have done a lot of things right and sacrificed a lot heading into the fall. And also, once again, it looks like areas that can least afford to have schools closed are also the areas where the ***** hits the hardest. (True in my rural area also).
 

Louis

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Yeah, I guess there's no way around it, but it seems like a "separate but equal" system where largely minority neighborhoods (which I suspect also contain more "essential workers") have closed schools, while wealthier, whiter neighborhoods have in-person school.
 

Prancer

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Yeah, I guess there's no way around it, but it seems like a "separate but equal" system where largely minority neighborhoods (which I suspect also contain more "essential workers") have closed schools, while wealthier, whiter neighborhoods have in-person school.

Absolutely. Parent surveys all along have said that parents of color were far more concerned about the crud than white parents. And there are good reasons for that--not just more essential workers, but also more uninsured people, higher percentages of people with (often untreated) chronic health conditions, fewer resources for the schools, etc.

The disease adds a different dimension but the problems are the same as they've always been.
 

missing

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CNN has an article about the closing of schools and businesses in limited parts of NYC.

Many of the areas have large Orthodox Jewish communities that have seen rising cases and test positivity rates in recent weeks. Several of them were among a series of zip codes that Gov. Andrew Cuomo highlighted last week, pointing to "overlap" with Orthodox Jewish communities.

I doubt anyone with an understanding of Orthodox Jewish communities was caught unawares by the rising of cases this time of year. It will continue through mid-October, since the last significant holiday is Sunday, October 11 (and that's a holiday that pretty much has to be celebrated inside a synagogue).

Basically what's happening in those zip codes is what's going to happen throughout America from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It hit these zip codes first because their religious holidays come earlier on the calendar.
 

MacMadame

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Yeah, I guess there's no way around it, but it seems like a "separate but equal" system where largely minority neighborhoods (which I suspect also contain more "essential workers") have closed schools, while wealthier, whiter neighborhoods have in-person school.
I think it's more mixed than that. Here in the heart of SV, the wealthier parents do not want schools open for in-person teaching. My town is firmly middle class in culture and the School Board is completely unwilling to open schools up even though the county has issued guidance for opening up for the youngest grades. They talk about the county wanting to use their kids are guinea pigs and how horrible that is.

My theory is that wealthier parents are not doing too badly. Many of them work in tech so WFH is possible and/or preferred and/or required (our offices remain closed and many high tech companies have closed offices). Often one parent is a SAH parent already or also has a WFH job. Their kids already all have their own computers. They go for walks and bike rides with their kids. Their kids aren't going stir crazy. So they'd rather play it safe. These are their kids and they aren't going to put them in possible harm's way and they don't feel confident that we really know how safe it is for kids to go to school.

At least in our school district, staff have gone out of their way to reach out to the lower-income kids and make sure they have wifi and Chromebooks and even settings up centers for them to "do school" under adult supervision. I still think they are not following the science on this. K-2 kids should be able to return to school safely in our school district with our low case rate. I know other parts of the country are not in our position with higher case rates and lower compliance with masking and social distancing and I understand how a parent could look at all these other places having schools open up and immediately having to close down and be fearful. But that's not the situation here.

Oh well, it's all theoretical for me. Who knows if I'd feel differently if it was my kids.
 

Prancer

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That might all be true, but nationally, Louis is right. Wealthy, predominantly white schools are more likely to be open while schools in poor, predominantly non-white districts are closed.
 

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