Author Topic: K-12 fall plans  (Read 2748 times)

Caracal

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2020, 07:10:52 AM »
Don't have the link but I saw a CDC report summarized yesterday that said students 10 years old and up spread COVID in the same way adults do.

The Chicago Tribune has a summary of a recent, large-scale study that has the same headline.


The reporting on that study, which seems quite good, has been lacking in much context. It has been pretty obvious that there are big differences between young children and teenagers in terms of transmission, which makes sense. The study also showed that children under ten transmit the virus at half the rate as adults, which is pretty striking and in line with other studies. The other part of this is that transmission is only part of the story. Other studies have shown that children who are in contact with an infected person, are less likely to be infected in the first place. Not clear what the age range on this part is.

The other part of this that was pointed out by Jeniffer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins in the NYT article on the same study was that the study looked at transmission by symptomatic children only. There's a decent amount of evidence that children who get the virus are much more likely to be asymptomatic than adults, so that's an important part of the overall picture.

Kids can obviously get the virus and they can obviously pass it on, but the details really matter in terms of how much school reopening will contribute to community spread. The study also adds to evidence that the risks are lower for younger children, which is good news, since in person learning is probably most important for them and the problems of childcare are most acute. None of this is easy or uncomplicated, however, especially when you have uncontrolled spread all over the country...
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 07:13:58 AM by Caracal »

mythbuster

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2020, 09:41:06 AM »
I live in Cluster F&*# ground zero. It's really nice to hear abut places where people are reasonable and making logical decisions. Please keep telling us about those.

    Our schools are supposedly going back on August 10. Parents have been given some level of "option" for all online if they want it but the default is for at least some face to face. The plan last I heard it, was for K-6, 5 days a week, and 7-12 twice a week. My grad student is also a school teacher and one of the big questions right now is who will buy disinfectants etc for the classroom.  Yes this is one of those districts where the parents are expected to buy the soap and TP for the bathrooms for the year.
   I don't have kids so I'm not directly affected. But around here it's all just so political that ugly things are being said. People really do care, as I heard that last week the school board meeting for Palm Beach Fl. had 70,000 people log in to watch!

fishbrains

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2020, 10:25:33 AM »
I live in Cluster F&*# ground zero. It's really nice to hear abut places where people are reasonable and making logical decisions. Please keep telling us about those.

    Our schools are supposedly going back on August 10. Parents have been given some level of "option" for all online if they want it but the default is for at least some face to face. The plan last I heard it, was for K-6, 5 days a week, and 7-12 twice a week. My grad student is also a school teacher and one of the big questions right now is who will buy disinfectants etc for the classroom.  Yes this is one of those districts where the parents are expected to buy the soap and TP for the bathrooms for the year.
   I don't have kids so I'm not directly affected. But around here it's all just so political that ugly things are being said. People really do care, as I heard that last week the school board meeting for Palm Beach Fl. had 70,000 people log in to watch!

This pretty much describes my area. Silver lining: People no longer ask us why we homeschool our kids.
 
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apl68

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2020, 12:46:54 PM »
My grad student is also a school teacher and one of the big questions right now is who will buy disinfectants etc for the classroom.  Yes this is one of those districts where the parents are expected to buy the soap and TP for the bathrooms for the year.

There are school districts where basic sanitary supplies for school restrooms aren't included in the budget?

polly_mer

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2020, 04:13:55 PM »
My grad student is also a school teacher and one of the big questions right now is who will buy disinfectants etc for the classroom.  Yes this is one of those districts where the parents are expected to buy the soap and TP for the bathrooms for the year.

There are school districts where basic sanitary supplies for school restrooms aren't included in the budget?

Yes, and those districts aren't always the poorest of the poor.

 Many of the media articles recently have mentioned that restrooms didn't have soap, paper towels, or even necessarily enough fixtures with adequate running water in normal conditions.  Skepticism has been voiced about the plans to have increased sanitizing daily regimes without a big influx of money for supplies and additional people.
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kaysixteen

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2020, 07:13:22 PM »
Warren Buffett has noted that he thinks, half seriously, that  we should outlaw private k12 education in this country, in order to force American elites to utilize the public schools, so as to make such elites ensure that these schools are adequately funded (the flaw in this argument concerns the 'Great Sort' in contemporary America, coupled with the largely localized tax funding scheme used to pay for public schools, ensures that it is much more likely that those elites would only adequately fund *their* public schools).  But even the ps system in a place like Boston is notorious for unsanitary restroom conditions, as a recent Boston Globe expose made clear.  Like it or not, even the best-performing states wrt pandemic fighting, have been trying  to do this fighting on the cheap, and not one dime in new taxes has been imposed on anyone, even rich and getting richer by the day corporations like Wallyworld and Amazon (who have benefited greatly from enforced pandemic closures of much of their competition), and one of the aspects of this dereliction of duty is that many public schools will indeed be woefully unprepared for appropriate pandemic alterations in areas of sanitation and many others, this fall.

WRT Slate's teacher poll, many headlines in recent weeks have indeed purported to say what k12 teachers think about reopening, etc.  What has not happened, however, is much of any attempts made by state policy makers, to formally and appreciably solicit teacher opinions.

Economizer

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2020, 08:28:23 AM »
And, if private schools were forced to take a "sojourn[?]" and students were enrolled in public schools, there could be a temporary 15-20% reduction in "professional's" fees!  Cool or what! Oh, but what about transportation..wouldn't work.
So, I tried to straighten everything out and guess what I got for it.  No, really, just guess!

polly_mer

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2020, 04:28:11 PM »
A nurse in The Atlantic wrote that teachers should also accept being like soldiers on the front line in the pandemic: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/im-nurse-teachers-should-do-their-jobs-like-i-did/614902/

A writer sighed heavily and wrote a rebuttal: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/08/dont-blame-teachers-for-schools-closed-by-covid-19.html
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Anselm

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2020, 07:35:41 PM »
Chicago teachers' union is going to vote on a strike soon to protest having face to face classrooms. 

https://chicago.suntimes.com/education/2020/8/4/21354570/chicago-teachers-union-strike-vote-cps-public-schools-pandemic-remote-learning-hybrid
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kaysixteen

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2020, 10:06:33 PM »
I do not necessarily have no sympathy for the general thesis of the Atlantic nurse.   Up to a point.   I would very much like one of these teacher jobs myself now, but of course do not have one.   That said, I have had opportunities in recent weeks to apply for a few positions teaching in places that, ahem, I am unwilling to go during this pandemic.   However, she makes several errors, which, in no particular order of importance, include:

1) ICU nurses, like it or not, explicitly have signed up for a job that at any time can expose them to a frighteningly sick person, and some of these sick people are not heart attack or stroke victims, but rather folks with various dangerous and communicable acute diseases.  This has always been true, long before covid.  As a result, nurses are given access to real PPE, though the early days of our covid era did not always distinguish themselves in this regard.  They are also  trained to use this stuff, and are staffed in hospitals explicitly equipped and trained in disinfecting and germ mitigation procedures.   And one of those procedures, as one of the commenters to the nymag response noted, included not requiring an ICU nurse to be alone in a room with 40 sick 8yos.
2) teachers are not military or law enforcement volunteers, and are not draftees manning the ramparts against the Vikings.  They did not sign up for consistent exposure to deadly pandemics, and indeed, before 30-40 years ago (largely as a result of certain socio-cultural changes in our society), sick children were regularly sent home from school.   But even then, and certainly now, being a teacher is one of the germiest jobs around-- one doc I had a number of years ago, who doubled as the on-call physician for the boarding school whose faculty I had just joined, told me that new teachers were considered in the same class with new health care professionals, in terms of requiring a number of years (he actually said seven) to acclimate themselves to the enormous consistent exposure to germs the teachers and health care workers both regularly get (don't even get me started on the atmosphere at a boarding school, for instance).  He was right-- I got bad colds a couple of times that year, and even years later, working at a different school, and after much teacher experience, you still get whallopped regularly, all the more so because today's parents largely do not care about sending sick Johnnie and Suzie to school.  And the nymag responder is exactly right-- schools in this country are largely just not prepared to fight pandemic germs.  Ventilation and sanitation is often very poor-- heck, many schools outside of the sunbelt do not even have a/c, as though this were 1975.  PPE for teachers is going to just not be there in droves, and in poorer places like Chicago, well...  And, of course, like it or not, no one seriously, really, thinks that schoolchildren will 1) regularly wear masks, and wear them correctly, 2) socially distance 3) not do things that will cause exposure risks 3) honestly answer questions about virus exposure, etc., nor is it really likely that most school admins will be willing, or mostly even able, to do much about it  (try punishing those 8yos for various of this sort of non-compliant behavior).

3) The 'essential worker' analogy is however something the teachers' unions need to grapple with.  Whether additional online school time inconveniences some upper-middle class professional who is able to work from home is not particularly important, but it is inconvenient for many of those lower-middle and working class 'essential workers', who, like it or not, have been actively risking their health for almost 6 months now, for almost no additional compensation in most cases, which is, well...

polly_mer

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2020, 07:05:38 AM »

3) The 'essential worker' analogy is however something the teachers' unions need to grapple with.  Whether additional online school time inconveniences some upper-middle class professional who is able to work from home is not particularly important, but it is inconvenient for many of those lower-middle and working class 'essential workers', who, like it or not, have been actively risking their health for almost 6 months now, for almost no additional compensation in most cases, which is, well...

From a societal utilitarian argument, sending all teachers face to face is a dumb risk of harder-to-replace workers.  I am categorized as an essential worker as are most of my colleagues and the scheduling to reduce our risk to ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) particularly for our very experienced people who are hard, if not impossible, to replace includes assigning people to the overnight shift to have only a couple people in the building at a time.

Better for the needs of the front-line essential workers would be to establish small bubbles/pods of kids of workers at the same employer who need to be supervised and a couple adults who can either supervise online education log ins or play sessions with each bubble reasonably grouped by age.  Accepting the need to do different for this year and then acting on that need would work better to reduce spread than hewing as close to as normal as possible.

Having teachers do the teaching online and leaving direct in-person supervision to other competent adults who need the childcare job would be a way to reduce risk, keep kids adequately supervised, and let adults who must work for our collective good do their jobs.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 07:12:41 AM by polly_mer »
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kaysixteen

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2020, 10:27:03 AM »
Another thing I forgot to mention is that, even were we to play devil's advocate and say, falsely, that prepubescent kids don't get serious covid cases, well, they sure enough can spread it to those who can.  Opening schools full-bore this semester more or less guarantees superspreader events from coast to coast.

spork

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2020, 10:59:10 AM »
The Chicago public school system has given up on its idea of pods attending school twice weekly and will go for fully online instruction instead.

I haven't paid close attention to the epidemiology of Covid-19 in children because I don't have any. I don't have a direct stake in whether K-12 systems re-open for in-person instruction. But it seems to me that much of the "teachers should just suck it up and teach because that's their job" mentality is simply another manifestation of the lack of economic value placed on what has traditionally been women's work -- child-rearing, elder care, nursing, teaching, food service work, house cleaning, etc. I refer to it as the God tax: the attitude of "your job is so beneficial to society that you should be willing to do it for next to nothing, regardless of risk and opportunity cost."



« Last Edit: August 05, 2020, 11:02:16 AM by spork »

mamselle

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2020, 11:47:17 AM »
Another thing I forgot to mention is that, even were we to play devil's advocate and say, falsely, that prepubescent kids don't get serious covid cases, well, they sure enough can spread it to those who can.  Opening schools full-bore this semester more or less guarantees superspreader events from coast to coast.

I have always said that little kids are just 2-legged germ vectors....

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Stockmann

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Re: K-12 fall plans
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2020, 12:49:04 PM »
@spork: Yep, although to me it looks more like what some link shared on a thread here (can't remember which thread, though) said - the more socially valuable a job is, the more likely it is to have low pay and, conversely, the highly paid jobs tend to be "BS jobs" - jobs that are neither that necessary to society as a whole nor fulfilling for the worker, and this is not true only in the US. Surgeons are a rare counterexample. Schoolteachers in the US very much fit the pattern though - it can't be a cushy job when it has such high turnover, and now some folks are asking schoolteachers, who unlike nurses and doctors didn't sign up to deal up close with folks infected with deadly pathogens, and who unlike soldiers didn't sign up to put their lives on the line, to do so.