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Schools begin to reopen, yet numbers have been increasing? What the?


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I'm wondering what your thoughts are on covid and schools re-opening?  Our schools have been in sessions only a few weeks. Where I am, some are in session full time, others just 2 days a week and others fully remote.  Seems the remote schools have declared things to be safe, so they are going to begin to open slowly with kindergarten or early elementary first.  

I am so confused anymore.  First, it doesn't seem like just a few weeks of school is enough to make such a major decision (I thought they were going to wait through first semester). Especially since we are just now seeing the results of Labor Day get-togethers, numbers are climbing.  Second, aren't numbers going up in several states?    

Where I live, it is true, we don't have many cases. Yet the next larger area continues to report new cases daily, yet they are planning to open schools. 

Am I missing something?!

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Our schools have been opened since the end of July and our numbers have remained pretty flat.  Our governor announced we move into stage 5 this weekend, which is pretty much everything can be opened at 100% capacity. I’m not sure what’s going on but numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths aren’t rising. They’re not really going down either but I’m surprised they’ve stayed flat.

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Not that I can make sense of any of it but I can tell you that we opened schools here about 8 weeks ago. We were at the peak of our infection (over 40 new cases per day per 100,000 population and a test positivity rate over 20% for reference).

Our schools opened with just a few modifications (not even mandatory masks). It has not been a disaster. The schools have not had to close. There have been cases here and there and they have quarantined close contacts. But our infection rate as a community has only declined since school started. Kids are playing sports. Clubs are meeting. Life is largely going on as normal and our cases have decreased. 
 

Throughout the region some schools started early July. It has not been a disaster. None have shut down and gone back to virtual though some have a policy to close for cleaning when there is a case in the building. Those have closed for the day or two for cleaning and then opened back up.

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In my county there are 3 separate public school systems.  Near the end of the summer the heads of the 3 systems had a big news conference and announced that they had all agreed to do virtual school for all students for the entire 1sr 9 weeks of school.  That would have put students going back in person mid-October.  Every one of they started back in person by mid-September.  I never did hear the reason, but I would guess that a lot of parents and students were pushing for it.

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2 hours ago, kdsuomi said:

Schools are not allowed to be open here, and locally, I believe we're around 2% positivity.

Here is what is going on in Santa Clara county: most high schools are already open for outdoor team sports (because Football is the most important part of schooling 😉 )

Many schools applied for and received waivers to reopen a few weeks ago and schools are in session: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/26/here-are-the-62-santa-clara-county-schools-and-districts-that-want-a-waiver-to-reopen-classrooms/

But, we have been in safe territory (red tier) for enough time that now, all schools can reopen, but, the teachers have been very reluctant to get back inside classrooms (understandably so) and it is messy to go online for some kids and in-person for other kids, but, they are working on plans: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/09/23/schools-in-santa-clara-county-can-reopen-for-in-person-classes-today-so-why-arent-they/

 

Edited by mathnerd
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In my county school have been given suggestions by the health department, based on state guidelines I believe.  Schools can make their own decisions.  A couple have opened, but one had to close again because two teachers got covid.  My school district is virtual right now, but starting a hybrid next week for K-2 students where they will go a couple hours a week.  I think their plan is to slowly open up doing hybrid to more age groups in the next few weeks.

We have seen a rise in cases this week.  The biggest jump since July.  Only a few are from the schools though, some are connected to church services and nursing/retirement homes, but we aren't being given much information about where cases are coming from due to privacy issues.  Regardless of the jump, our school district wants to move ahead with some in person learning.  There is a lot of community pressure for all students to go back full time.

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1 minute ago, kdsuomi said:

I think the only schools here who have gotten waivers have been small private schools, and the high schools are just re-starting extracurricular activities in small groups. The district that most of the kids here go to for high school won't be going in person until next semester even if they're allowed to re-open sooner. (The kids are receiving a substandard education at this time.)

Is this because of anxiety/hesitancy on the part of teachers? (in my local district, there are too many teachers over 60 years of age or vulnerable due to health conditions, so I understand their concerns). 

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5 hours ago, Bagels McGruffikin said:

I don’t love the headline, it’s a bit needlessly pointed, but this is where things stand in general.

 

The most exhaustive study to date of U.S. schools finds a student infection rate of 0.22%, or about 1 in 500 students attending in-person (full-time or hybrid) schools has been confirmed or suspected positive in about 1 month of schooling. Most of those are suspected, not confirmed cases.

When it comes to staff, it’s 0.15% (1 in 666) confirmed positive and another 0.35% suspected positive.

 


https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/a-month-into-the-academic-year-school-closers-dont-have-science-on-their-side

 

One month is not long enough to draw any conclusions with this virus. 
 

Not to mention that outbreaks are starting to occur in schools. And those students will carry the virus home and out into the community. 

 The US has had hundreds of thousands of excess deaths already this year. The CDC is currently projecting another 170,000 deaths by January 1. I cannot understand the cavalier attitude of this author towards activities that increase community spread. 
 

 

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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6 hours ago, Bagels McGruffikin said:

And yes, our in person schools have had scattered cases and the closest open district to mine has had to quarantine four classrooms total since school began last month. So. Not bad.

We are on week 3 of full time in person in my district. We have had 1 case during that time. That school closed for a week. Aside from that, it's been thankfully uneventful. 6 ft distancing, classes staying together, no cafeteria or gym, and masks for everyone is mandated. 

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9 hours ago, ***** said:

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on covid and schools re-opening?  Our schools have been in sessions only a few weeks. Where I am, some are in session full time, others just 2 days a week and others fully remote.  Seems the remote schools have declared things to be safe, so they are going to begin to open slowly with kindergarten or early elementary first.  

I am so confused anymore.  First, it doesn't seem like just a few weeks of school is enough to make such a major decision (I thought they were going to wait through first semester). Especially since we are just now seeing the results of Labor Day get-togethers, numbers are climbing.  Second, aren't numbers going up in several states?    

Where I live, it is true, we don't have many cases. Yet the next larger area continues to report new cases daily, yet they are planning to open schools. 

Am I missing something?!

Our schools have been open for 7 weeks.  A few cases of covid, but nothing major.  I think it is going fine.  Sports have been back as well. 

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6 hours ago, Happy2BaMom said:

One month is not long enough to draw any conclusions with this virus. 
 

Not to mention that outbreaks are starting to occur in schools. And those students will carry the virus home and out into the community. 

 The US has had hundreds of thousands of excess deaths already this year. The CDC is currently projecting another 170,000 deaths by January 1. I cannot understand the cavalier attitude of this author towards activities that increase community spread. 
 

 

We had zero cases in the country for over a month.  Then one person got it and bang 100 cases.

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5 hours ago, AmandaVT said:

We are on week 3 of full time in person in my district. We have had 1 case during that time. That school closed for a week. Aside from that, it's been thankfully uneventful. 6 ft distancing, classes staying together, no cafeteria or gym, and masks for everyone is mandated. 

Do you have enormous classrooms or small numbers?  We have 30 to 100 kids per class with not enough desks for everyone (by design) and 6 foot spacing would be impossible.  Even if it were the teaching style would have to completely change.

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58 minutes ago, kiwik said:

Do you have enormous classrooms or small numbers?  We have 30 to 100 kids per class with not enough desks for everyone (by design) and 6 foot spacing would be impossible.  Even if it were the teaching style would have to completely change.

Not enough desks for everyone by design? Can I ask why?  100 kids per room? Is that high school level?  Or are you talking about university kids?

I think the only time we ever had that many kids in a class (US public k-12) was band, choir, or orchestra.  Academic classes were somewhere around 20-25 kids a class. 

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I work for a local Board of Health and I my town has been reluctant to open the schools for a few reasons:

  • In the last two weeks the # of cases has increased. This is due to an increase in the number of people being tested (i.e.- college kids going back to school, people wanting to travel out of the state, etc.) Our data is showing that the most vulnerable population, the nursing homes and schools, are NOT where the spikes are coming from. It's from people quarantining with their family and then other family members getting sick. But people see numbers rising, see our town change threat levels, and just freak.
  • We have been in constant ZOOM calls with the schools. The biggest hurdle is getting the teachers and school nurses to be available after school hours. There is a big possibility that little Johnnie will develop symptoms over the weekend and will not remember who he sat next to, or who had the swing after him. We need the help of the school personnel but they absolutely balk at the idea of having their cellphone go off on a weekend and being called in to help. Meanwhile our office staff has been working 50-70 hrs per week, 7 days a week, to address each case as it comes up. 
  • Even with all the procedures in place for social distancing, etc., a parent in town hosted a high school party with 50 kids two weeks ago. The people involved are giving us pushback about giving names, etc., so we can track people. Without knowing who is sick, who was exposed and all the rest, we cannot make a educated guess about whether that party will cause a problem with the school. This is just one example of people blatantly flouting the recommendations set forth.
  • This literally is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. 50% of the calls we get are from people yelling about things being closed and 50% of the calls we get are from people being horrified (actual wording) that we even allow people to walk on sidewalks without masks. So when we open the schools we will get A LOT of pushback from the community. That makes elected officials in the town nervous. No one wants to be a scapegoat if something goes bad.
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Schools are open here. College is back in session. Kids are sitting 2 to a seat on buses (many of our kids ride over 2 hours a day as we're a huge county, very spread out). Public buses have continued to run. Hunters are arriving. Snowbirds are still here. Second home owners have not left.

We have moved to being able to have larger groups (I think it's 500now!). Haven't had a positive case in weeks. 

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20 hours ago, mathnerd said:

Is this because of anxiety/hesitancy on the part of teachers? (in my local district, there are too many teachers over 60 years of age or vulnerable due to health conditions, so I understand their concerns). 

Mine is taking the lead from CSU, UCs and the local community colleges. Since CSU and UCs are thinking of staying mostly online for Spring, my district is not in a hurry to reopen.

https://calmatters.org/education/2020/09/uc-coronavirus-precautions-2021/

“Zoom classes will need to stick around for at least another year at the University of California, according to the system’s top health official. 

Dr. Carrie L. Byington, executive vice president of the sprawling UC Health system, said Wednesday that COVID-19’s impact on public health will require the university to continue its modifications, which include almost all classes done virtually and extremely reduced on-campus housing capacity,  through September of 2021, improving gradually each month through July of 2022.

...

It’s the strongest indication that the UC could join the California State University in remaining largely online for the remainder of the academic year. Last week Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White said the system of more than 480,000 students would stay its mostly virtual course. “This decision is the only responsible one available to us at this time,” he wrote in a public letter.

...

The slow timeline to returning to normalcy makes sense. A widely distributed vaccinewon’t be available until the middle of next year at the soonest, said the director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a Congressional hearing Wednesday.

Researchers are testing 40 possible vaccines for the virus, but not one has been approved for full use, according to a New York Times tracker. Former tech mogul and world health philanthropist Bill Gates, speaking at an eventfor the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, estimated people’s lives would not return to normal until 2022.”

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Schools have been open here for over a month, and it hasn’t been a disaster. We got a small spike after Labor Day,  but in general, numbers are declining. There have been a few cases in high schools, and a couple have walked back sports (and one district closed one schoolfor 2 weeks), but in general, the elementary schools seem to be doing well with masking and distancing. Most of the grumbles I am hearing are from high school parents who feel their child’s life is being totally ruined by not being allowed to have dances and big football games. 
 

I think it helped that a pretty good number of parents chose to keep their kids 100% virtual or to enroll them in distance learning programs outside of the school system this year, so social distancing is more possible. High schools mostly are alternating days that students attend in person to have smaller numbers on campus daily. 
 

From what I’m seeing at my studio, the kids have adapted pretty well to masking, keeping distance, etc. If anything they are keeping ME on task (I’ve twice had my first student of the day remind me to put my face shield on :))

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, kiwik said:

Do you have enormous classrooms or small numbers?  We have 30 to 100 kids per class with not enough desks for everyone (by design) and 6 foot spacing would be impossible.  Even if it were the teaching style would have to completely change.

Both? We have close to 80 kids in the school and 4 grades. Approximately 20 kids per class. And big rooms. This is what the desks look like in most rooms. The tables are 6ft long and the kids each have their own. They have space to put their Chromebook and school supplies on either side of them which is nice. I'm terrible w/ dimensions, but the rooms are set up with 5 tables across and 4 rows. There's maybe 4-5 feet at the ends of each row to walk and 6 feet front to back between each table. 

Teaching styles have definitely had to change, but the teachers are adapting. It helps that we have 30 acres of land and forest and the weather has been amazing, so the kids are getting a ton of outside time as well. Teachers were all encouraged to give a lot of movement breaks and from what I can tell from my basement office, there's at least 1 grade outside at any given time throughout the day, either running around or working, or both.

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About a quarter+ of students in my sons high school are entirely virtual. In person classes are held 3x/ week, with the remaining kids spread between each day (so kids who attend class are there once per week). His classes have 3-5 kids in class on any given day. The building is closed the remaining days.
 

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On 9/24/2020 at 1:22 PM, ***** said:

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on covid and schools re-opening?  Our schools have been in sessions only a few weeks. Where I am, some are in session full time, others just 2 days a week and others fully remote.  Seems the remote schools have declared things to be safe, so they are going to begin to open slowly with kindergarten or early elementary first.  

I am so confused anymore.  First, it doesn't seem like just a few weeks of school is enough to make such a major decision (I thought they were going to wait through first semester). Especially since we are just now seeing the results of Labor Day get-togethers, numbers are climbing.  Second, aren't numbers going up in several states?    

Where I live, it is true, we don't have many cases. Yet the next larger area continues to report new cases daily, yet they are planning to open schools. 

Am I missing something?!

The fact that it was discovered that kids catch and pass it more easily than adults is scary.  This was discovered after kids went to summer camp and ended up positive.  Why would they reopen schools knowing this?

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15 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Not enough desks for everyone by design? Can I ask why?  100 kids per room? Is that high school level?  Or are you talking about university kids?

I think the only time we ever had that many kids in a class (US public k-12) was band, choir, or orchestra.  Academic classes were somewhere around 20-25 kids a class. 

Because for some reason the NZ education system is prone to jumping on whatever broken down bandwagon comes along.  Their latest is the so called "modern learning environment" where you combine a number of classes and the teachers teach as a team sort of workshop style.  The kids are supposed to do a lot of self directed project learning.  The use Chrome books on beanbags, on the floor or at shared desks or other seating arrangements.  Many classrooms have been retrofitted so there is not really room for everybody to have a desk and for all the getting together in groups.  Also with that many kids whole group lessons are a bit difficult.  It works really well for kids who would actually do well in any system.  It is claimed to lead to more student engagement.  I do no of kids who have had to be homeschooled or who have simply not had a clue what they were supposed to be doing.  My son's best friend has ASD and dyslexia and while he has no diagnosis for it seems to struggle with auditory processing in noisy environments.  The teacher would say "I am doing a class on fractions at 10.30" for those who need it and because he wasn't to 'C you need to come to the fractions class at 10.30" he wouldn't register that he should go.  I think it works best for brightish extroverts with parents wealthy enough to send them to tutoring centres to cover the basics.  Which is why I think it will fail as it will increase the rich/poor divide.  With a 10:1 student:teacher ratio it would be excellent.

I was in a New Entrants classroom once in the 90's though where half the class had to sit on the floor using portable desks to do writing lessons.  Didn't seem ideal for a 5 year old.

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Since I can't edit.  In the 70's standard class size in a NZ primary was 35.  For my kids ds13 had 18 kids in his first year and 30 after that.  Ds11 had 24 kids in his first year (same teacher, same classroom but they converted the cloakroom to a craft space and put their bags outside) and 30 after that.

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1 minute ago, kiwik said:

Because for some reason the NZ education system is prone to jumping on whatever broken down bandwagon comes along.  Their latest is the so called "modern learning environment" where you combine a number of classes and the teachers teach as a team sort of workshop style.  The kids are supposed to do a lot of self directed project learning.  The use Chrome books on beanbags, on the floor or at shared desks or other seating arrangements.  Many classrooms have been retrofitted so there is not really room for everybody to have a desk and for all the getting together in groups.  Also with that many kids whole group lessons are a bit difficult.  It works really well for kids who would actually do well in any system.  It is claimed to lead to more student engagement.  I do no of kids who have had to be homeschooled or who have simply not had a clue what they were supposed to be doing.  My son's best friend has ASD and dyslexia and while he has no diagnosis for it seems to struggle with auditory processing in noisy environments.  The teacher would say "I am doing a class on fractions at 10.30" for those who need it and because he wasn't to 'C you need to come to the fractions class at 10.30" he wouldn't register that he should go.  I think it works best for brightish extroverts with parents wealthy enough to send them to tutoring centres to cover the basics.  Which is why I think it will fail as it will increase the rich/poor divide.  With a 10:1 student:teacher ratio it would be excellent.

I was in a New Entrants classroom once in the 90's though where half the class had to sit on the floor using portable desks to do writing lessons.  Didn't seem ideal for a 5 year old.

Oh yikes. Yeah, none of my family would do well in an environment like that.  I went to junior high school in an "open air" school, and it was really noisy all the time.  The teachers did not teach as "teams" when I was there, but I think that might have been the original vision for the building. Like, "here's this big, hippy-dippy space for everyone to mingle and learn and be free". 

By the time I got to that school, that plan was abandoned, and cubicle walls were put in to try to give everyone separate space.  It was still super noisy, though.   

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1 minute ago, kiwik said:

Since I can't edit.  In the 70's standard class size in a NZ primary was 35.  For my kids ds13 had 18 kids in his first year and 30 after that.  Ds11 had 24 kids in his first year (same teacher, same classroom but they converted the cloakroom to a craft space and put their bags outside) and 30 after that.

I hate this not being able to edit.  In year 4 D's was one of 76 kids taught in the gym and by 7 Ds was in a class of 58 in what had been a single but larger than normal class.  Ds11 has ASD and the next year I changed him to a non state school that was resisting directives then from 8 we homeschoed.  Because the primal school was retrofitted though it wasn't fully MLE but it was bad enough.

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1 minute ago, MissLemon said:

Oh yikes. Yeah, none of my family would do well in an environment like that.  I went to junior high school in an "open air" school, and it was really noisy all the time.  The teachers did not teach as "teams" when I was there, but I think that might have been the original vision for the building. Like, "here's this big, hippy-dippy space for everyone to mingle and learn and be free". 

By the time I got to that school, that plan was abandoned, and cubicle walls were put in to try to give everyone separate space.  It was still super noisy, though.   

Well the ridiculous thing is NZ did the open plan in the 70's and it failed.  I never experienced it as I was in an old rural school.  I saw an item on TV just before ds13 was born about the last open plan class being divided up and what a failure it had been.  Then they brought in basically the same thing less than 10 years later.  Yes the acoustics are better and they do include small break out rooms and they have technology now but that doesn't help many kids.  And it seems to make for lazy teaching in many cases.  Also if a kid chooses to work under the desk they don't seem to think that maybe the kid isn't coping.  I could not have survived and ds11 didn't although he struggled anyway and eventually got expelled from the Christian school when the new principal wasn' t as good with non NT kids.  Things he has said since make me wonder whether they were paying much attention to what the "sweet little girls were doing" but it has been for the best really.

So far high school has been way more structured and traditional but we went with the oldest boys school in the country which is 5 minutes walk away.

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11 minutes ago, kiwik said:

I hate this not being able to edit.  In year 4 D's was one of 76 kids taught in the gym and by 7 Ds was in a class of 58 in what had been a single but larger than normal class.  Ds11 has ASD and the next year I changed him to a non state school that was resisting directives then from 8 we homeschoed.  Because the primal school was retrofitted though it wasn't fully MLE but it was bad enough.

You don't have an edit option? Do you see the 3 little dots in the upper right corner of your last post? Click them, and you should see "Report, Share, Edit" as your choices. 

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21 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

You don't have an edit option? Do you see the 3 little dots in the upper right corner of your last post? Click them, and you should see "Report, Share, Edit" as your choices. 

Thank you so much.  It used to be on the bottom so I  just assumed it was lost.

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5 hours ago, AmandaVT said:

Both? We have close to 80 kids in the school and 4 grades. Approximately 20 kids per class. And big rooms. This is what the desks look like in most rooms. The tables are 6ft long and the kids each have their own. They have space to put their Chromebook and school supplies on either side of them which is nice. I'm terrible w/ dimensions, but the rooms are set up with 5 tables across and 4 rows. There's maybe 4-5 feet at the ends of each row to walk and 6 feet front to back between each table. 

Teaching styles have definitely had to change, but the teachers are adapting. It helps that we have 30 acres of land and forest and the weather has been amazing, so the kids are getting a ton of outside time as well. Teachers were all encouraged to give a lot of movement breaks and from what I can tell from my basement office, there's at least 1 grade outside at any given time throughout the day, either running around or working, or both.

Ok both.  I have an old school desk.  It is 24 inches by 19 inches.  The tables they usually use now for 6 people are about 30 inches by 60 inches I think (about the size of a small dining table that seats 6 at a pinch).  Luckily they seem to have done away with textbooks as I remember there being just room for your text book and exercise book as a child.  The desks if used are put in blocks so you would have a desk touching on either side and one in front.  Then they have the gall to complain when are non NT kids flip out.

With the tables there is no storage so the kids have bins across the room.  I queried the logic of having kids constantly walk around fetching stuff on the grounds it must be really disruptive and was told it was old fashioned to expect the kids to remain in their seats.

It they had desks they could set them up spaced apart like one of my teachers did when I was young but they wouldn' t manage 6 feet apart.  They would have to keep them quiet and in their seats.  The ASD kids would probably find it much easier and wouldn't be that surprised if many other kids did too.

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