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It seems like a bad idea to me. I am not up on the latest for transmission of kids though. I do have lots of thoughts. I'd like to know yours.

Have we tried studying child care centers or focused on one school district to test this out before we increase cases even further?

Is anyone else annoyed with the American Academy of Pediatrics pushing for schools to reopen? I know they've always been against homeschooling, but they make it sound like kids are getting physically and sexually abused and having suicidal thoughts right and left because they've been left home with their family for too long. Nevermind those things happen as a direct result of schools as well. There are kids that actually thrived doing online school. They should be able to stay home if they want. The APA and DeVoss made it sound like kids NEED to be physically present in school or it's the end of the world. 

It seems like schools could come up with better plans.   Why not seek out a time-tested online program and expand it out to teach all students. At least that way it's complete and standardized. This is an unusual circumstance and it calls for some unusual actions. Why not school year round? In the evenings as well? Outside? Approve high-risk teachers and offer emergency licenses to retired teachers for the online portion of school? Approve subs to teach in small groups at the school? Just spit-balling here. 

I know they're following the CDC guidelines and now they are under threat of loss of federal assistance if they don't fully open. Which is totally ridiculous IMO. Let's completely ignore the fact that cases and hospitalizations are peaking and force people to interact more through school. Our house is on fire and they want to add more kindling.

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Our society needs kids to be in school.  Our economy sure as hell needs kids in school full time.  Many kids need to be in school, for a wide variety of reasons.   But kids in school is only safe

From my perspective, because of what they've done, crap upon crap happens. Obviously the pandemic itself was out of everyone's control.  But as we have seen around the world, a population's behav

One of our good friends is a family practice physician and they were getting swamped by requests by adults when the mask requirements came out. They got together and unanimously decided their response

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I’m totally comfortable with the younger kids going back, yes, even my medically fragile one. What he is losing at home in skills and therapy is not worth it given his personal risks. Every month gone is such a bigger deal for him.

Even my slightly older kid in the public schools, again, no concern. And we have the luxury of a stay at home parent. The difficulty this is posing to single parent families or those with two working parents is vastly outweighing the dangers with transmission in a population that isn’t catching it terribly readily and that has an extremely low instance of side effects. In our district there are not that many multigenerational households either, so the direct transmission risk to an elderly family member is also fairly low.

The few teachers who have retired were fairly close to retirement age anyway, and I think only one or two expressed written concern about health complications, last I heard. My sons’ teachers have all indicated they want full in person instruction and not online.

 

 

I think you can make a case for distance learning with older students who can more readily complete it and who can legally stay home alone, though that is still very inferior, and the risks stratify by SES, sadly. But some in person and distance days to balance is totally reasonable for older children.  Grade school and special ed? Hard pass.  Fortunately that seems to be the resounding agreement in our district and the direction the administration is trying to move.

The data from last semester was dismal and DeVoss wasn’t wrong, frankly. Distance learning can work, but generally needs an involved family (which is very challenging for those who aren’t at home), technology and reliable internet (that is spottier in many of our poorer communities even here), and a lot of one on one interaction with the student to continue progress (difficult when the kids won’t log on). It can work, but it was kind of a disaster even in our fairly wealthy area. The kids who did well were the kids who would have done well in ANY situation, like my own. The families who need the educational consistency most are the ones with the most barriers to it.  It’s not okay if schools just serve part of the population, by virtue of the format. People structured their lives on in person, consistent instruction by trained teachers. That matters, especially when the numbers for children have been very good, even in high infection areas the complications are exceedingly rare (yay!).

Edited by Arctic Mama
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3 minutes ago, Plum said:

There are kids that actually thrived doing online school. They should be able to stay home if they want. The APA and DeVoss made it sound like kids NEED to be physically present in school or it's the end of the world. 

Yeah, I know several public schooled kids who have really been well suited to being able to learn at home. One was super miserable at school and in danger of failing her grade, but has thrived with the online program and is going to continue with it next year. I realize there are just as many (and probably more) who have not done well with the online learning. (I don’t imagine it has helped them to have parents complaining bitterly about it from the start.)
 

I have a personal frustration about the bolded, because I’m hearing it repeated by my family, and considering I have homeschooled my kids from the start, it’s a bit insulting. It’s usually been in zoom conversations, the others of whom are not homeschoolers, so everyone’s talking about how damaging it is to the kids to be home and how they may not recover from missing these months in school, both academically and socially, and it seems a little insensitive when we are right there. I know it really doesn’t work for some families, especially when there are special needs or economic factors involved, but that’s not the case for most around here and I can’t help but start feeling a sense that maybe some parents need to step up a bit right now to be more present for their kids then. A lot of these families have one at home parent anyway, and I know from experience it doesn’t have to be damaging for kids in that situation to be at home and they can in fact thrive academically and not be ruined forever socially. It sucks that the kids are not able to be social in person with their friends. My kids are experiencing that, and I hate that for them. It’s not ruining them, though, and we’re finding ways for them to zoom or whatever else to keep up contact. I think the more kids hear the adults moaning that this is the end of the world, the more true that becomes. Kids follow the adult’s lead. 

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I think when they make it sound like kids must be in school, what they are saying is that children need direct, attentive instruction from a capable teacher, which was happening in quite varying amounts in the spring.  As home educators would we not agree with that? Knowing this sec of education she is very pro distance and home ed in general, if it is qualified and complete and adequately taught. That is where much of the failure was though, with families who couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work and schools who were providing either busy work or unworkable online education schedules that still involved a whole lot of self study without the time and training of the student to really be able to adequately execute that.

As a home educator I definitely have taught my older children independence in completing their work and assimilating data without being spoon fed it. But that has been a DECADE LONG process for them and they only really gained competency at that by middle school age, and still benefitted from a lot of discussion and dialogue to deepen understanding. Years of gradually increasing independence is what allows me to take my hands off them and get stuff done elsewhere, be it teaching younger siblings or therapy and medical appointments and such. It’s just not reasonable to expect even your average stay at home parent to achieve that in a semester or two with kids who haven’t been trained with that expectation in mind. They just don’t have the tools in the toolbox for it yet, because it takes time and intentionality and even then some students can NEVER gain much independence in their coursework and need ongoing scaffolding. More than who get it, frankly.

Thats my .02 as a homeschooler reading all this 😉 We aren’t the audience being talked to in terms of competence.

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And on the socialization front, I know my family has suffered from everything shutting down and cancelling. School only fills part of that void, but in person interaction for those social outlets like dance and sports and such does matter.  Through the schools and outside it, the guidance is to reopen children’s activities for their mental health and I agree 100%.  We made it, but are done. They can’t take more of that.

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I think we will see abrupt closures.  My district has already had to close their office; the June school budget vote procedure resulted in add'l cases amongst the year-round admin staff.   There just aren't enough special ed certified retirees that can come in on short notice to sub once the quarantining begins again amongst the staff.  Additionally, the janitorial contracts have to be renegotiated -- you would think that the measles, whooping cough, and pinkeye waves of the last few years would have meant simple things like cleaning lunch tables between groups would be routine, as well as stations to wash hands before eating...but all that work is yet to be done here.

I'm not seeing much student suffering -- most are in their normal summer daycare placement with groups of relatives, in a quarantine bubble. The hard part is finding someone who can get the meals from the district pickup point.

HIgh schoolers here already had to buy their own distance learning classes, the school does not offer college prep math after Alg 2 and the AP Sciences for free. The rest are pay to play via the CC at school if enough sign up (45 per section) or via the online provider of choice.  Seniors will just grad early and go to CC online, because that will give them financial aid.

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I don't understand how, in a society based on schools as child care for double-income households, schools do not open. All those kids are still going to be in some kind of child care setting at some point regardless of what school systems do or don't do.

I mean, in a larger sense I disagree with basing our society on the demands of an economy that requires both parents to be working, or on an educational system where the onus of education is mostly outsourced and thought of as something that happens outside the home and is provided only by licensed professionals, but I think that ship has sailed, so I just don't see how school for younger kids at least doesn't open.

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14 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I think you can make a case for distance learning with older students who can more readily complete it and who can legally stay home alone, though that is still very inferior, and the risks stratify by SES, sadly. But some in person and distance days to balance is totally reasonable for older children.  Grade school and special ed? Hard pass.  Fortunately that seems to be the resounding agreement in our district and the direction the administration is trying to move.

I don't see why we can't offer multiple choices. They seem to be all or nothing in their opening thinking. School districts have to get this right or they will end up losing even more funding through a massive decline in enrollment. My district added a homeschooling question to their parent survey. They know they are going to lose a huge chunk of their enrollment to homeschooling. 

They need to 

1) provide a stabilized education

2) reduce class sizes

3) allow for spec ed and demographics that cannot have their kid at home a couple of days a week be able to safely attend full time.

 

Do they really think that if the school districts pared down to the basics and dropped the standardized tests, that kids would fall irreparably behind? 

 

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2 minutes ago, Plum said:

I don't see why we can't offer multiple choices. They seem to be all or nothing in their opening thinking. School districts have to get this right or they will end up losing even more funding through a massive decline in enrollment. My district added a homeschooling question to their parent survey. They know they are going to lose a huge chunk of their enrollment to homeschooling. 

They need to 

1) provide a stabilized education

2) reduce class sizes

3) allow for spec ed and demographics that cannot have their kid at home a couple of days a week be able to safely attend full time.

 

Do they really think that if the school districts pared down to the basics and dropped the standardized tests, that kids would fall irreparably behind? 

 

But our district is providing that, isn’t yours? They are suspending the truancy requirements so people can stay home if sick and constructing 100% distance programs for families who wish to opt in and not go in person.

BUT the default is in person. As it should be, IMO. It’s not like they’re forcing people to attend if they’re afraid, not at all. And that isn’t what the department of education is recommending, according to the guidance I read. But they did want to reiterate the importance of being physically present as the main mode of learning. This does not disallow or preclude online options and our district is embracing that too and trying to construct more robust online and distance coursework through the district to accommodate.

The bulk of the complaining I see if worries about kids NOT being allowed back, not families upset the schools will open. That is a small minority in our survey, and they’re not being ignored, thankfully.

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3 minutes ago, Plum said:

I don't see why we can't offer multiple choices. They seem to be all or nothing in their opening thinking. School districts have to get this right or they will end up losing even more funding through a massive decline in enrollment. My district added a homeschooling question to their parent survey. They know they are going to lose a huge chunk of their enrollment to homeschooling. 

They need to 

1) provide a stabilized education

2) reduce class sizes

3) allow for spec ed and demographics that cannot have their kid at home a couple of days a week be able to safely attend full time.

 

Do they really think that if the school districts pared down to the basics and dropped the standardized tests, that kids would fall irreparably behind? 

 

I agree with all of this. I know there are some places where they are offering families the option to choose in person or online. The student I mentioned above that was failing and then thrived at home online is staying home while her sibling is going back in person. I think the resources need to focus on the populations that most need to be in person. Special Ed students, families without other means for child care, younger students (who appear to be possibly less risk as well). Schools and teachers have now had a lot of time to prepare for being virtual if necessary. I’m really hoping that will help.

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I think kids need to be in school if at possible, side from families who choose to homeschool or use a distance option. Last semester's distance "learning" here was a disaster. Teachers disappeared, students didn't do any work, and some teachers did nothing but assign things like Duolingo. 

There are also legitimate concerns with student safety if they don't return. A lot of abuse and neglect is discovered at school, and abuse rates went up during the lockdowns. Many children eat all their meals at school, and the substitution for that during school closures in many areas didn't work. Those are just two of the main issues, but they're huge. 

You also have the issue of children with special needs. Every single one of my friends who has a child with special needs has said if school it's online they'll be homeschooling because it doesn't work. They do not want to do this, and their children will be missing put on needed therapies by trained professionals, but it's a better option than all online. 

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1 minute ago, Arctic Mama said:

But our district is providing that, isn’t yours? They are suspending the truancy requirements so people can stay home if sick and constructing 100% distance programs for families who wish to opt in and not go in person.

BUT the default is in person. As it should be, IMO. It’s not like they’re forcing people to attend if they’re afraid, not at all. And that isn’t what the department of education is recommending, according to the guidance I read. But they did want to reiterate the importance of being physically present as the main mode of learning. This does not disallow or preclude online options and our district is embracing that too and trying to construct more robust online and distance coursework through the district to accommodate.

The bulk of the complaining I see if worries about kids NOT being allowed back, not families upset the schools will open. That is a small minority in our survey, and they’re not being ignored, thankfully.

My district is offering all online or 2 days a week. I think that's standard when following CDC guidelines. After listening to DeVoss and reading that Trump wants them to fully open, they mean everyone in their seats. Perhaps I took it the wrong way, but that's what it sounded like to me. 

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7 minutes ago, Plum said:

I don't see why we can't offer multiple choices. They seem to be all or nothing in their opening thinking. School districts have to get this right or they will end up losing even more funding through a massive decline in enrollment. My district added a homeschooling question to their parent survey. They know they are going to lose a huge chunk of their enrollment to homeschooling. 

They need to 

1) provide a stabilized education

2) reduce class sizes

3) allow for spec ed and demographics that cannot have their kid at home a couple of days a week be able to safely attend full time.

 

Do they really think that if the school districts pared down to the basics and dropped the standardized tests, that kids would fall irreparably behind? 

 

I think offering multiple choices comes down to money.  Some school districts can't even figure out how to get text books for their kids.  Smaller class sizes requires more teachers.  Offering online and in person is going to require more teachers.  Plus, there are costs associated with operating a school building that is only half full.  Add in all the additional expenses associated with the additional cleaning required to have kids in school, and you have a massively budget busting school year.  In addition, I know that some of the school districts around here already had levies on the ballot when voting happened that ended up getting voted down.  So even though my area isn't one that has school districts struggling to pay for text books, these districts were already struggling with their budgets.  

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Just now, Plum said:

My district is offering all online or 2 days a week. I think that's standard when following CDC guidelines. After listening to DeVoss and reading that Trump wants them to fully open, they mean everyone in their seats. Perhaps I took it the wrong way, but that's what it sounded like to me. 

 

They said in class full-time should be an option, not that it should be the only option. 

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I’m just confused how we’re not going to end up with major staffing issues and end up having to shut the doors anyway once teachers start getting sick. I’m thankful I only have college dc now, but I fear it’s going to be an absolute sh@tshow everywhere this fall. 

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4 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

It’s not like they’re forcing people to attend if they’re afraid

I see this wording with some frequency, and it comes across and being purposely chosen to be demeaning. Maybe you don’t mean it that way, but it’s been used so frequently by people who think this is “just a flu” and anyone wanting to decrease their risk is a ridiculous pansy that it comes across that way. 

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2 hours ago, Plum said:

 

Do they really think that if the school districts pared down to the basics and dropped the standardized tests, that kids would fall irreparably behind? 

 

 

My district went to core basic, 'just enough for the pass' when nclb started. The students do fall irreparably far behind -- the CC courses, whether remedial or co-taught, cannot get them up to 11th grade level before the students run out of money. I have seen richer kids do it -- private tutoring during the school year, plus two years of CC before starting a 4 year college (or  one year of private prep school and 4 years of college).   You can look at the Stanford Educational Opportunity Project to see just how many districts are not able to offer students a year's worth of growth for a year in school.  

Edited by HeighHo
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37 minutes ago, Plum said:

It seems like a bad idea to me. I am not up on the latest for transmission of kids though. I do have lots of thoughts. I'd like to know yours.

Have we tried studying child care centers or focused on one school district to test this out before we increase cases even further?

Is anyone else annoyed with the American Academy of Pediatrics pushing for schools to reopen? I know they've always been against homeschooling, but they make it sound like kids are getting physically and sexually abused and having suicidal thoughts right and left because they've been left home with their family for too long. Nevermind those things happen as a direct result of schools as well. There are kids that actually thrived doing online school. They should be able to stay home if they want. The APA and DeVoss made it sound like kids NEED to be physically present in school or it's the end of the world. 

It seems like schools could come up with better plans.   Why not seek out a time-tested online program and expand it out to teach all students. At least that way it's complete and standardized. This is an unusual circumstance and it calls for some unusual actions. Why not school year round? In the evenings as well? Outside? Approve high-risk teachers and offer emergency licenses to retired teachers for the online portion of school? Approve subs to teach in small groups at the school? Just spit-balling here. 

I know they're following the CDC guidelines and now they are under threat of loss of federal assistance if they don't fully open. Which is totally ridiculous IMO. Let's completely ignore the fact that cases and hospitalizations are peaking and force people to interact more through school. Our house is on fire and they want to add more kindling.

I believe the AAP has increased its focus on mental health and that is likely what weighs heavily in the decision to make this statement. 

Personally I am annoyed at one local youth organization for which my teen volunteers using the statement as justification to reboot their programming despite volunteers ranging from youth to senior citizen age. I’ve also seen a local organization using it to bolster their no-refund policy for parents who would like to withdraw their kids from camp sessions signed up for back in Jan/Feb. 

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10 minutes ago, EmseB said:

I don't understand how, in a society based on schools as child care for double-income households, schools do not open. All those kids are still going to be in some kind of child care setting at some point regardless of what school systems do or don't do.

I mean, in a larger sense I disagree with basing our society on the demands of an economy that requires both parents to be working, or on an educational system where the onus of education is mostly outsourced and thought of as something that happens outside the home and is provided only by licensed professionals, but I think that ship has sailed, so I just don't see how school for younger kids at least doesn't open.

I agree! It's come up among healthcare workers. I just don't know if we are rushing into this, just like reopening the states.

Dh has noticed that among his coworkers where one lost their job, but the other's job is stable, they are making it work and are looking into homeschooling or online schooling. There is a shift happening for some as they see the benefits. 

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3 minutes ago, Joker said:

I’m just confused how we’re not going to end up with major staffing issues and end up having to shut the doors anyway once teachers start getting sick. I’m thankful I only have college dc now, but I fear it’s going to be an absolute sh@tshow everywhere this fall. 

IKR? There's already a HCW shortage from those getting sick, taking early retirement and flat out refusing to work covid wards. I doubt teachers will be any different. 

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1 minute ago, Plum said:

I agree! It's come up among healthcare workers. I just don't know if we are rushing into this, just like reopening the states.

Dh has noticed that among his coworkers where one lost their job, but the other's job is stable, they are making it work and are looking into homeschooling or online schooling. There is a shift happening for some as they see the benefits. 

I was thinking the same thing. The states were encouraged to just reopen because everything would work out. We know how that turned out...

This actually makes me less likely to send my oldest back to public school in the fall since they are being discouraged from actually being thoughtful.

Emily

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The government has already spent more than two trillion on coronavirus relief, in various forms. $600 billion went to the paycheck protection program. Nobody is talking about throwing that kind of money at schools. If the government gave every school $100,000, it would cost about $10 billion. For that, each school could buy PPE, update ventilation systems, install handwashing sinks, etc. 

If you want kids to be safe at school, you gotta pay for it. 

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3 minutes ago, Joker said:

I’m just confused how we’re not going to end up with major staffing issues and end up having to shut the doors anyway once teachers start getting sick. I’m thankful I only have college dc now, but I fear it’s going to be an absolute sh@tshow everywhere this fall. 

I hadn’t considered until yesterday how quarantines will play to all of this. You have a teacher who finds out they were exposed by someone, and then the teacher needs to stay home for two weeks. How are they going to have enough subs for all the times that is going to happen? Perhaps the whole class stays home and does online learning with the teacher for those two weeks? And the same for any student who gets exposed. There will need to be good online backups for while kids quarantine anyway. This is going to be very complicated. Ugh. We need a vaccine. 

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1 minute ago, Plum said:

IKR? There's already a HCW shortage from those getting sick, taking early retirement and flat out refusing to work covid wards. I doubt teachers will be any different. 

Yep! We found out this week that all of ds’ classes will be online at his university this semester. He’s a junior and he wishes it were different but all of professors are either high risk or older so we’re glad the uni is letting them choose. I just don’t how schools are going to actually keep students in class for very long.

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Our society needs kids to be in school.  Our economy sure as hell needs kids in school full time.  Many kids need to be in school, for a wide variety of reasons.  

But kids in school is only safe, and only WORKS, if community transmission levels are low.  We aren't at that point.  Now, if we did stuff like universal masking and social distancing and didn't open bars or eating in person restaurants, would it be safe for first graders to get in person reading instruction?  Probably.  But, as a society, we didn't make that choice.  

None of the schools will be open for more than a month.  It will be a disaster, because teachers will get covid, even if kids don't.  And there will be no subs, not even if nobody gets covid.  But even if teachers just have virus of the week, they won't be able to get a sub, because nobody wants to risk their life for $50-100 a day.  It just flat isn't going to work.  And the reason it won't work is because we decided we cared less about children going back than we did about going to bars or our freedom to not wear a mask.  

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29 minutes ago, Plum said:

It seems like a bad idea to me. I am not up on the latest for transmission of kids though. I do have lots of thoughts. I'd like to know yours.

Have we tried studying child care centers or focused on one school district to test this out before we increase cases even further? Our state used schools as daycares for essential workers when school buildings themselves closed down.  They are doing very limited summer school right now for kids needing extended school year due to learning differences.  Originally they had talked about testing throughout this, but that talked stopped when they bumped into the ethical issues of repeatedly swabbing kids, testing material shortages, and some complaints about study design.

Is anyone else annoyed with the American Academy of Pediatrics pushing for schools to reopen?  Yes. I know they've always been against homeschooling, but they make it sound like kids are getting physically and sexually abused and having suicidal thoughts right and left because they've been left home with their family for too long. Nevermind those things happen as a direct result of schools as well. This is specifically my same complaint. There are kids that actually thrived doing online school. Mine have. They should be able to stay home if they want. The APA and DeVoss made it sound like kids NEED to be physically present in school or it's the end of the world. I think special needs and second language students who are physically able to return to school should have priority in returning. I don't see this happening in our current political environment.

It seems like schools could come up with better plans.   Why not seek out a time-tested online program and expand it out to teach all students.Our district did this, but the program itself is all asynchronous, uses no textbooks, and isn't very good.  I do think some high risk teachers have asked for placement in this program as it is expanding and they need to up their staff numbers. The other online charters in our state are full up on attendance numbers. Some have wait lists that are four years long (prior to pandemic). At least that way it's complete and standardized. This is an unusual circumstance and it calls for some unusual actions. Why not school year round? Our state has offered this as an option. Parents lost their minds and thinking their kids would be deprived of a traditional summer. 

I know they're following the CDC guidelines and now they are under threat of loss of federal assistance if they don't fully open. Our state has reasonable ideas about cleaning and social distancing. My specific problems with local guidelines are: 1. Current PPE and cleaning supply shortages make the reality of cleaning as frequently as they want to not likely, 2. hand sanitizer is not a substitute for hand washing and the buildings do not have adequate hand washing facilities, 3. serving cold sandwich packed lunches daily for the full year instead of hot meals deprives the 40-70% (depending on school) of kids who rely on schools for their primary nutrition adequate access to nutrition, 4. precautions are based on close droplet contact and I think airborne spread is a real problem.  Choir, band, and some other things really shouldn't be happening unless parents specifically understand the risk (and the music teachers should have access to N95s and specifically take on that risk), 5. The district guidelines currently show children still being placed 4/table (but lots of wide space around those kids).  Sitting shoulder to shoulder with someone isn't really socially distancing.

 

I would love to see the jr high and high schools be opened with an A/B schedule.  They are assigned to either attend Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday.  Wednesday , the building is closed for deep cleaning and staff are furloughed (eligible to receive full unemployment benefits, but cost savings to the district, eliminating the need to reduce teacher count).  On the three days students aren't in building, they have work packets and brief online meetings and an open tutor session on their opposite A/B days.  Teachers are given a lighter teaching load (5/8 classes on their A/B schedule) to facilitate the online meeting and tutorial.

For elementary students, I would like to see the gyms, cafeterias, library and music rooms taken over as classroom space. The specials teachers rotate through the classrooms themselves.  The library books are divided into classroom allotments to take home. Those books can be checked out for two weeks, then spend a third week in quarantine before being sent to a different classroom.   Everyone is able to be in a stable cohort.

I'd like to see the school schedule be adjusted so that you have are going roughly 4 weeks on, 1 week off...but including a much longer Christmas holiday break, and another week off in February.  (September, Dec-Feb, and right after Spring Break tend to be low attendance numbers in schools due to illness. We can't do much about September or March, but putting some firebreaks into winter would be good.)  I think that isn't ideal from a pre-plague world point of view, but it beats having to have massive school closures through winter.

I'd like to see a separate holding area for student pickup of sick kids, outside of the main office. It gets WAY too much foot traffic. I'd like to see nurses being able to test on site for covid with parental permission (this isn't crazy---our schools have clinics in them where you can get immunizations, diabetes management, and other more traditional doctor office care for things and they can bill your insurance if you have it). There are lots of specific to my district things like that that I think could still have broader application.

So, I have this lovely wish list but as it is, I don't see any of that happening...

 

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I want schools to reopen. I have a rising 11th grader and a rising 8th grader. My dh works out of town and I work from home at a very busy financial job. 

When schools closed abruptly in the spring, our schools were not at all prepared to deal with remote learning. My oldest was in public school and my youngest in private school. For my oldest, because so many kids don’t have access to the internet here (due to the rural areas in my state), kids’ grades couldn’t fall below where they were when school ended (they could go up but not down). So kids who had good grades didn’t do their work. My ds did for a long time (even though he had all As and one B - which he pulled up to an A) but eventually stopped because the work was ridiculous and he wasn’t learning anything. He averaged about 1 hour of work per week. 
 

Dd on the other hand (private school) had very specific work she had to turn in daily. As a seventh grader, I was a little more involved with her work. Sadly she also didn’t learn much. The apps that they used to submit their school work crashed frequently (we have good internet!) and we spent a lot of time trying to get things to open and work correctly. It was frustrating  

I have trouble seeing how our schools are going to transition to teaching remotely in such a short time. As a former homeschooler, I am very much in favor of homeschooling! But what happened at my house in the spring was NOT even close to homeschooling. I was working the entire time and really couldn’t spend much time helping my kids. Since my kids are older and both do very well in school, I’m not normally overly involved in their schoolwork. So it was difficult for me to try to jump in at the last minute (I did the best that I could). 
 

Finally, my ds had a very difficult time dealing with the quarantine and became extremely depressed. It was a very scary time for my family and I pray that nothing like this ever happens to us again. And it wasn’t because he has a horrible relationship with his family. Instead, he is at the age where he is beginning to have some independence. It is good for him and very healthy for him to deal with friend groups and teachers, to keep working at his job, to get physical exercise  with friends, etc. The shutdown was not good for him mentally or emotionally. I know he will be disappointed if school doesn’t open, but this time I will be more prepared to help him through it (his depression was shocking to me...I didn’t anticipate it at all).


 

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31 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

But our district is providing that, isn’t yours? They are suspending the truancy requirements so people can stay home if sick and constructing 100% distance programs for families who wish to opt in and not go in person.

BUT the default is in person. As it should be, IMO. It’s not like they’re forcing people to attend if they’re afraid, not at all. And that isn’t what the department of education is recommending, according to the guidance I read. But they did want to reiterate the importance of being physically present as the main mode of learning. This does not disallow or preclude online options and our district is embracing that too and trying to construct more robust online and distance coursework through the district to accommodate.

The bulk of the complaining I see if worries about kids NOT being allowed back, not families upset the schools will open. That is a small minority in our survey, and they’re not being ignored, thankfully.

?

eta I see kand caught this above. What she said.

 

Edited by Seasider too
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5 minutes ago, kand said:

I hadn’t considered until yesterday how quarantines will play to all of this. You have a teacher who finds out they were exposed by someone, and then the teacher needs to stay home for two weeks. How are they going to have enough subs for all the times that is going to happen? Perhaps the whole class stays home and does online learning with the teacher for those two weeks? And the same for any student who gets exposed. There will need to be good online backups for while kids quarantine anyway. This is going to be very complicated. Ugh. We need a vaccine. 

Which is why it would probably be better in the long run to come up with a plan that works either way for sake of consistency. If the AAP is so worried about mental health of children, constant change is not the way to go about helping. That would be my goal if I had a kid in ps, consistency. 

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Just now, Plum said:

 

Which is why it would probably be better in the long run to come up with a plan that works either way for sake of consistency. If the AAP is so worried about mental health of children, constant change is not the way to go about helping. That would be my goal if I had a kid in ps, consistency. 

I wonder if it would work better this year for teachers to use more independent or computer-based curriculum even in the classroom? I am not personally a big fan of that at all usually, but I’m just thinking that if they are working with the kids on that in the classroom, then there would be less disruption if the kids then needed to be at home, if at least they were using the same thing. Of course, now that were in July, I realize for some schools there’s not a lot of time to figure something like that out if they haven’t already used the last several months to do so. Although, there’s also nothing that says a school couldn’t decide to postpone opening until late September or some thing until they have these things in place. In the meantime, communities could start taking seriously getting their curve bent back down, so the kids could return to school more safely.

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23 minutes ago, kdsuomi said:

 

They said in class full-time should be an option, not that it should be the only option. 

I don't know. I heard what she said in the press conference. It sounds like she wants schools to open without staggered schedules. And they are making opening schools political.

Quote

 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday assailed plans by some local districts to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week and said schools must be “fully operational” even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Anything less, she says, would fail students and taxpayers.

DeVos made the comments during a call with governors as the Trump administration launched an all-out effort to get schools and colleges to reopen. Audio of the call was obtained by The Associated Press.

“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” DeVos told governors.

President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and colleges return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. Trump said Monday on Twitter that Democrats want to keep schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons.”

In the call with governors, DeVos slammed districts that plan to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week. She called out Fairfax County Public Schools, which is asking families to decide between fully remote instruction or two days a week in the classroom.

“A choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” DeVos said, noting that the district’s distance learning last spring was a “disaster.”

https://www.8newsnow.com/news/local-news/devos-rejects-part-time-reopening-for-schools-amid-pandemic

 

 

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I have a friend with six kids, five of whom are in school.  She's freaking because if any one of her kids gets exposed, not only does that child (and every other student in that class and that teacher) have to stay home, but so do all of her other children.  

And what about middle and high school kids.  If a kid or a teacher is diagnosed with covid, you have 7 classes of kids who have to stay home and quarantine for two weeks.  

There's simply no way for this to work, as much as parents and society want it to work.  I say this as someone who is desperate for her oldest to go back, because they are having severe mental health issues from being isolated at home.  We're at the point that if my kid doesn't go to school, I think there's a very real choice they'll have to go to the psych ward.  But.....school isn't going to work.  And I'm mad as hell that we've sat at home for five months, only going out for essentials while masked, but nobody else has done their part, so we're in far worse shape than we were five months ago.  It's like a middle school group project all over again, where we're all going to fail because other people aren't doing their part, except this time failure means contracting a horrific disease with high morbidity and mortality rates.  

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The community college DD attends is reopening today for limited classes in person. The reason is both to let students who need hands on classes get them, but also to test and see whether their policies are safe with a small, self-selected group. I'm hoping it works,because DD would really benefit from getting to come back to campus for some time this fall. 

 

 I think the school district should have done that this summer as well-offer optional ESY, which would have let kids who need school for mental health reasons or who were really suffering get back sooner, but also test and see what they could do in person. Here, the choice is either to come back full time in person or full time online-and teachers can choose to apply to teach online. 

 

I decided to offer limited in person piano lessons, and have submitted a proposal for some small group percussion based music classes during the school day because I do think kids need social interaction and to be out with other people. , and from what I'm seeing the homeschool options are not able to take in additional students while meeting the social distancing requirements in place and keeping it safe for their teachers. I feel I can do this at a reasonable level of risk, and the benefit to the kids is enough to make it worth it. 

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2 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

The community college DD attends is reopening today for limited classes in person. The reason is both to let students who need hands on classes get them, but also to test and see whether their policies are safe with a small, self-selected group. I'm hoping it works,because DD would really benefit from getting to come back to campus for some time this fall. 

 

 I think the school district should have done that this summer as well-offer optional ESY, which would have let kids who need school for mental health reasons or who were really suffering get back sooner, but also test and see what they could do in person. Here, the choice is either to come back full time in person or full time online-and teachers can choose to apply to teach online. 

 

I decided to offer limited in person piano lessons, and have submitted a proposal for some small group percussion based music classes during the school day because I do think kids need social interaction and to be out with other people. , and from what I'm seeing the homeschool options are not able to take in additional students while meeting the social distancing requirements in place and keeping it safe for their teachers. I feel I can do this at a reasonable level of risk, and the benefit to the kids is enough to make it worth it. 

See now that sounds like a good plan! 

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1 hour ago, Plum said:

I know they've always been against homeschooling, but they make it sound like kids are getting physically and sexually abused and having suicidal thoughts right and left because they've been left home with their family for too long. ... The APA and DeVoss made it sound like kids NEED to be physically present in school or it's the end of the world.

People feel the need to speak up for kids who cannot speak for themselves in this instance.  I'd take it as that an not necessarily an anti-homeschooling bent.   I know many public school teachers' hearts are breaking for their kids that they know are not from good homes and that do face these issues all of the time. Honestly, I have always felt that the homeschool community should be more outraged at how many people hide behind "homeschooling" to abuse their children.  It's rather appalling how many children who die of abuse or neglect are "homeschooled" compared to ones whose parents are not supposedly "homeschooling" them.  It's not really wise to ignore the documented rise of children being treated as abuse cases in hospitals due to being home more.  Those kids count and matter.   Now, we all know that actual homeschooling is not represented in those cases and that they do not represent true homeschoolers or people with healthy families who are educating and caring for their children. It's not a case to remove the right to homeschool from the general public--I can't see a reasonable case for that ever being made. Public school is a haven for a lot of kids for many reasons.  It's just true.  I think that as soon as the resource that is public school can be made available to those kids the better.  I think the desire to have a lot of freedom to homeschool has come at a cost to the kids whose parents are able to use it to hide their mistreatment.  I live in Texas where I don't have to do anything to document or declare my homeschooling.  It's pretty convenient.  If I had to keep a few records and turn in some papers each year so that it's easier to call out families who aren't doing so and are truly neglecting their children, well, for those kids I'd happily do it.  Due to the political and religious nature of people in my region,  i do not foresee people making any sort of moves to protect those who are left defenseless by our lax laws.  Around here there is much more focus on "me," "my family," "my rights," and "my liberty"--other people are just "not my problem."  Many of these people are very Christian, too.  These sorts of things make me question just what the Holy Spirit is doing in some people, but I digress!      

ETA:  It is a well known fact that parents are the most likely to abuse their children.  It's not teachers, fellow students at a school, coaches, friends you leave your kids with, no.  It's parents.  Now we, as good parents who are not abusive, do have to look out for abuse from those *unlikely* sources because those are the places our own personal children are most likely to be abused.  For children at large, though, it is the parents and, to a lesser degree, other family members like older siblings, grandparents, or aunts/uncles/cousins.  This article sites the role of substance abuse.  Maybe we don't know those children, but CPS knows them, and they know that jacked up families are abusive.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/somatic-psychology/201105/who-are-the-perpetrators-child-abuse

Edited by JoyKM
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I purposely didn't read other responses....

I have very mixed feelings about it bc I can  not imagine what parents, who have to work outside of home or single parents will do, but in my area (my state), where we have only had ~5500 cases in total so far and most of them were in nursing homes - more and more kids are testing positive. I shouldn't say "kids", I should say "people under 18"

So, when kids were "stuck" at home March-May, it seemed to work, but now, things are opening up - parks, playgrounds, beaches, etc and positive tests are going up.

I am also in an area where every year regular flu and stomach flu seems to be sweeping schools. So, adding those two up!  Oh boy!

And while I try to stay away from news and FB, there have been articles detailing how it effects kids.

No good answers, in my opinion. Personally, I am so so very thankful that I don't have to worry about it, I thank G-d every.single.day!!!

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For the schools planning to forge ahead as usual, maybe just adding hygiene sort of protocols, I really want to know what their exposure/quarantine plan will be. Because without a really good plan to handle this eventuality, we will end up with more damage done by the flying-by-the-seat-of-the-pants approach and resulting instability in students’ lives.

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1 hour ago, kand said:

I see this wording with some frequency, and it comes across and being purposely chosen to be demeaning. Maybe you don’t mean it that way, but it’s been used so frequently by people who think this is “just a flu” and anyone wanting to decrease their risk is a ridiculous pansy that it comes across that way. 

No, you’re reading into that what I didn’t say. Being afraid of catching covid is accurate as to why someone may keep their child home, no value judgment attached. Worried could also be substituted, but I think worry implies a lower degree of concern. Paranoid would be a more loaded word and I specifically did NOT use that.

Now I have personal opinions on some of the public reaction to this, certainly, but I would not extend those to judging individuals and their choices about it, because everyone has their own risks to weigh and should be in full control of their own choices about exposure risk or not, inasmuch as it dictates their own actions.

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Our district decided to have graduation ceremonies.  The news just reported 16 cases from one high school and the only common factor was attending the graduation.

Schools should not open.

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I would like schools to open in as safe a way as we can guess at:

1) physical distance: 

outdoor distanced learning as much as weather permits; use of large spaces like gyms and auditoriums and school libraries to add space; some form of split schedules if needed for more physical distance in school and on busses; well spaced distances during classes;  physical distance and barriers if eating indoors is needed due to freezing or other such circumstances (or day split as mornings and afternoons so meals are eaten at home even if they are provided at school), or physical distance and outdoors eating

2) masks

mask wearing by teachers and students except where precluded for health reasons

if mask not possible then a face shield if that’s possible 

3) hygiene 

hand washing and or hand sanitizer stations made easy and given enough time; no sharing of supplies, etc

ventilation with open doors and windows as much as possible if school was built for that

outdoors time as possible 

4) contact limitations

when possible such as young students- same classroom, teacher, room all day

possibly contact tracing app use for students who are old enough to need to be in various rooms with various other people rather than in one room with the same teacher and classmates all day;

assigned seats which could Change weekly or monthly as cleaning schedules allowed, but not a lot of moving around class to class and day to day so that relatively fewer people would encounter same surfaces and air areas,

as much as possible have older students also in the same place all day except as needed for lab science etc. and movement and breaks - weather and facilities permitting, shift between inside and outdoors 

possibly no school if too cold (or hot) to go outdoors safely 

5) PE as outdoors during acceptable weather; and an emphasis on relatively lower risk PE activities. Something like yoga when outdoors not possible 

6) as much as possible all lessons class session also recorded on video for anyone who can’t be present

7) possible hybrid: part home / part at school models

8  ) possibly older kids to mind younger ones — overseeing work on their own time etc—as a community service or credit activity for some periods to reduce younger kid class crowding

9) use of things like khanacademy for math (possibly other subjects) with assistance from teachers allowing students to work at their own level at same time, not having to switch rooms and cohorts

10) careful consideration of how to most safely manage hands on learning like lab science or welding classes

11) no sports or other competitions that mix students from various schools; no singing, music, drama for fall unless masks can be used and physical distance maintained 

12) ideally some form of periodic at least pooled testing (would be great if a saliva test were available), and health question monitoring, possibly temperature, and ability to smell as part of it.  Anyone at all sick needs to be home or isolated in an isolation area till they can get home. 

Edited by Pen
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2 minutes ago, DawnM said:

Our district decided to have graduation ceremonies.  The news just reported 16 cases from one high school and the only common factor was attending the graduation.

Schools should not open.

Our district had graduation ceremonies too. (5 different ones for 5 different schools)

It's been a month and no reported cases of COVID-19 came from those.

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I think there are no good answers, and that things are likely to get very bad no matter what measures are attempted to make schooling in person safe. I feel sorry for everyone involved, and I'm incredibly thankful that my boys are grown and we don't have any school aged children in our extended family right now.

As far as the use of the word "fear" -- I've gotten to the point that I pretty much dismiss the comments of anyone who uses that word. It's become such a loaded term and everybody who's paying attention should certainly know that, so I assume they're using it intentionally. Logical, evidence based concern does not equal fear. There's no reason the word "concerned" can't or shouldn't be used instead, assuming the person wants their comment to be taken seriously.

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44 minutes ago, Plum said:

I don't know. I heard what she said in the press conference. It sounds like she wants schools to open without staggered schedules. And they are making opening schools political.

 

 

They want full in person with the option of fully online, not either fully online or part in person part online. They want parents to be given the choice, and for many two days is person is not a feasable choice, especially for younger students and low income families. 

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Just now, DawnM said:

Our district decided to have graduation ceremonies.  The news just reported 16 cases from one high school and the only common factor was attending the graduation.

Schools should not open.

One of our large area high schools just cancelled outdoor graduation ceremonies due to rising case numbers.

They have yet to announce the action plan for the start of school, but if they don’t have confidence in being able to hold an event under lower exposure outdoor circumstances, I don’t know how they think they’ll do it in the fall. 

I think the start of athletic programs is an indicator, many I’ve heard and read about have been regularly testing student athletes, finding lots of positives, shutting down practices as a result. I cannot imagine the academic logistics of such start-and-stop without a solid online fallback option in place. 

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Oh brother, if we are to the point of picking a single word to respond to instead of the bulk of the comment I give up. That is ridiculous, and wasn’t in the spirit of what I said or how I clarified.

Now I will give a judgy comment - grow the hell up, people, and stop hyper focusing on something for the sheer personal outrage value. If, on an academic board, we cannot objectively consider someone’s opinion without looking for triggers to dismiss them, there is a whole lot more wrong than a virus.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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1 minute ago, vonfirmath said:

Our district had graduation ceremonies too. (5 different ones for 5 different schools)

It's been a month and no reported cases of COVID-19 came from those.

 

That does not negate the 16 who have it here.

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1 hour ago, kdsuomi said:

I think kids need to be in school if at possible, side from families who choose to homeschool or use a distance option. Last semester's distance "learning" here was a disaster. Teachers disappeared, students didn't do any work, and some teachers did nothing but assign things like Duolingo. 

There are also legitimate concerns with student safety if they don't return. A lot of abuse and neglect is discovered at school, and abuse rates went up during the lockdowns. Many children eat all their meals at school, and the substitution for that during school closures in many areas didn't work. Those are just two of the main issues, but they're huge. 

You also have the issue of children with special needs. Every single one of my friends who has a child with special needs has said if school it's online they'll be homeschooling because it doesn't work. They do not want to do this, and their children will be missing put on needed therapies by trained professionals, but it's a better option than all online. 

There are a few senators in our state govt that use that logic to push all kinds of laws and regulations on homeschoolers. It terrifies me!

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2 hours ago, kand said:

I hadn’t considered until yesterday how quarantines will play to all of this. You have a teacher who finds out they were exposed by someone, and then the teacher needs to stay home for two weeks. How are they going to have enough subs for all the times that is going to happen? Perhaps the whole class stays home and does online learning with the teacher for those two weeks? And the same for any student who gets exposed. There will need to be good online backups for while kids quarantine anyway. This is going to be very complicated. Ugh. We need a vaccine. 

 

THIS. Who's going to substitute teach under these circumstances? Most subs fall into the high risk group. They're typically older and retired. There will be shutdowns and disruptions, especially in places where people are still behaving cavalierly. I think, for kids who can do it, online or homeschool will be a lot less disruptive. 

I was super relieved today to hear about our district's plan to offer an ALL ONLINE (LIVE) option with regular district teachers (they're accepting applications from volunteers) as well as a 2-day a week in-person option (phase 1) that may move to 5 days a week in phase 3. Our district has a 4x4 block schedule for high schoolers so three-four hours online/daily is what I expect. The statewide virtual school was inadequate and didn't offer the same courses as our district.  DS will still be homeschooled because exclusively online instruction doesn't work for him but this will be awesome for my DD. There will be no fall/winter sports (conditioning only) too and cheer is all DD wanted to do anyway.

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