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New Covid lock downs in Germany and France: Schools are staying open


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Yup.

I've been following my Danish friend's situation pretty closely.  She was the first to open back up and have normal---kids back in school in the spring, usual going about during summer, etc.  Her kids are still going to school in their pods, and socializing within their pods, but she and her husband are having to work from home again. They just reintroduced mandatory masking and bars have to close by 10pm.  A not-insignificant percentage of people are angry.  It was actually reassuring to me to hear that there are anti-maskers everywhere.

We're pretty sure our local schools aren't going to open up any time this academic year.  We were really close in early September to meeting the markers, but things fell apart again.

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I think the key is that in order for schools to be able to be open and stay open, people have to be willing to give up other things. We can't have it both ways. What I'm seeing most epidemiologists saying is that we could (and should) have schools open here, if people would prioritize them and close some of the high transmission places and have people generally exercising more caution.

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I am in Wisconsin where there is a really bad surge hot spot style.   New records every day.   Yesterday it was 5200 new cases and 64 deaths.  Hospitals full.  Field hospital set up and patients there.  When cases were only in the 2000 or 3000s a day our positivity rate was 28% in our state.  In our city it was around 50.   I haven't looked lately,  because it is just so scary.

The schools are open face to face on my city.  They started me with full time elementary school with hybrid for the other 2 schools.   But starting next week they will have face to face fulltime for all grades.  In my head this is not the time to open schools.   Although I  think the last thing I saw school is not a big driver of transmission.   In hindsight they should have been in school face to face with masks from March to September and then taken a break now .

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1 minute ago, SquirrellyMama said:

Our kids have been in school since the beginning of the school year. They do require masks, and so far things have been ok. A girl in my daughter's class just tested positive, but with masks and social distancing the other students do not have to quarantine. Just the girl who is positive.

Kelly

I wonder if masks work as well as that... to be honest, I would want people to quarantine in that situation. Because if the person was a spreader, masks may not be enough, being together all day. 

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I wonder if masks work as well as that... to be honest, I would want people to quarantine in that situation. Because if the person was a spreader, masks may not be enough, being together all day. 

I don't know. Hoping it helps enough. This girl's mom also had covid so I think it was spread within the family. 

Kelly

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1 minute ago, DorothyNJ said:

I thought anyone who was within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, even with a mask, was considered a contact and would be quarantined.

Although, I guess those are just guidelines and there may not be any mandates behind them in some places. 

I would personally guess more stringent quarantine requirements would be MORE likely to keep schools open. 

I'm still getting the e-mails from DD4's preschool, even though we aren't sending her... apparently, there've been outbreaks in the schools of the siblings of the kids in the class, so they are now "encouraging" masks in class. Can't say it makes me regret not sending DD4, lol. 

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1 minute ago, DorothyNJ said:

I thought anyone who was within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, even with a mask, was considered a contact and would be quarantined.

Although, I guess those are just guidelines and there may not be any mandates behind them in some places. 

It’s not just that, it’s 15 minutes in 24 hours as of sometime last week.  We should just admit that we don’t care how many teachers die because school’s primary purpose is daycare, not education.  How much you mask in a classroom doesn’t matter if the same kids are eating together inside. And with the weird weather and constant ice storms as far South as Oklahoma I don’t see many schools adjusting their cafeterias. 

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I wonder if over all spread is less than other drivers such as restaurants and bars because the same kids go to the same class every day. A superspreader can go to a whole bunch of places passing it around in many locations. Then the employees at those locations also spread it. It's like starting many little fires rather than just one and tracking down the type of people hanging out at bars during a pandemic is probably also difficult meaning all the chain reactions they started get free reign longer. 

I understand teachers worrying about their health but I do think the overall cost/benefit analysis for schools looks radically different than for bars and restaurants. 

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1 minute ago, frogger said:

I understand teachers worrying about their health but I do think the overall cost/benefit analysis for schools looks radically different than for bars and restaurants. 

Well, to be fair, I'm not sure bars/restaurants should be opened at full capacity at all. 

2 minutes ago, frogger said:

I wonder if over all spread is less than other drivers such as restaurants and bars because the same kids go to the same class every day.

Not true for high school, though. Or even for all elementary or middle schools. I do think having more of a "pod" set up makes sense. 

I think having a situation where some kids are virtual and some aren't and some teachers can teach from home is optimal. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Well, to be fair, I'm not sure bars/restaurants should be opened at full capacity at all. 

Not true for high school, though. Or even for all elementary or middle schools. I do think having more of a "pod" set up makes sense. 

I think having a situation where some kids are virtual and some aren't and some teachers can teach from home is optimal. 

I don't know many places where they are opened at full capacity but that isn't relevant.  My point was that schools, especially elementary and sped often spend almost all their time with one group and it wouldn't take that much changing to keep them with one group. Also, the benefits are more important than people going to bars.

 

Although, at this point many will drink in groups in homes because well, priorities.

 

Yes, high school is different but then high schoolers should have an easier time with online. 

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Just now, frogger said:

I don't know many places where they are opened at full capacity but that isn't relevant.  My point was that schools, especially elementary and sped often spend almost all their time with one group and it wouldn't take that much changing to keep them with one group. Also, the benefits are more important than people going to bars.

Oh, well, I think schools should be as open as possible (with a virtual option) and bars should be closed 😉 . So I agree with you, I think!

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

It’s not just that, it’s 15 minutes in 24 hours as of sometime last week.  We should just admit that we don’t care how many teachers die because school’s primary purpose is daycare, not education.  How much you mask in a classroom doesn’t matter if the same kids are eating together inside. And with the weird weather and constant ice storms as far South as Oklahoma I don’t see many schools adjusting their cafeterias. 

Most of the schools around here are doing hybrid options that avoid eating at school.  I really am surprised at some of the places that still don't have mask mandates or masks in schools given the numbers.  It's really a shame. 

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I've been following Emily Oster's school database pretty closely (or obsessively, depending on your perspective): https://statsiq.co1.qualtrics.com/public-dashboard/v0/dashboard/5f62eaee4451ae001535c839#/dashboard/5f62eaee4451ae001535c839?pageId=Page_1ac6a6bc-92b6-423e-9f7a-259a18648318. One of my observations is that the numbers are not nearly so reassuring as Oster thinks they are, particularly for teachers, and that we should look really carefully at whether schools are driving spread. It seems based on her numbers that kids in schools are NOT less likely to get covid than the general population, that high schoolers at least are somewhat more likely (how much more likely has a lot to do with how much testing is NOT being done and how many cases are not being reported to schools, I imagine; the database used to list some really scary "suspected cases" numbers, but those aren't there anymore. I have an e-mail in to them asking why), and that teachers are MUCH more likely. And none of these people exist in bubbles. It seems foolish to overlook the places where we've just started putting hundreds and thousands of people in buildings together as a reason for rapidly increasing numbers in the US.

Another observation, though, and one that's a little more heartening, is that taking precautions makes a very big difference. Nearly all the schools reporting results have a mask mandate for staff and students, but those that don't have MUCH worse numbers. Only 57% report 6 foot distancing; the results for those that DO distance are substantially better for both students and teachers, but especially for teachers. And the difference is again the most stark for high schools. (one example: high schools that don't distance report an incidence rate of 63/100k per day for staff (which is pretty terrible; that's 882/100k over 14 days) but only 20/100k with distancing (still not great by any means at 280/100k over 14 days, but much closer to average US numbers and much better of course).

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1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

 

Not true for high school, though. Or even for all elementary or middle schools. I do think having more of a "pod" set up makes sense. 

I think having a situation where some kids are virtual and some aren't and some teachers can teach from home is optimal. 

This is what my kids' public school is going to try to do.  They are thinking that 70 percent of the kids will come back to school, they will split that 70 percent into two groups that will each go two days a week, 30 percent will stay home, and if teachers want to stay home the school will hire subs to monitor the kids as they zoom from school.  The teachers aren't thrilled about having to teach to the computer for the virtual and to the in person students, as a parent I wouldn't be thrilled if they went to school only to be monitored by subs, zooming in surrounded by other kids, and they really don't know if they can actually find as many subs as they suspect they need.  They did a teacher survey in July that showed about 2/3 of the teachers would want to go back in person, and in October it dropped to half.  The thinking is that it's not just because they all suddenly don't feel safe -- it might also be because they have put so much work into the virtual platform and teaching virtually, they don't want to add another complication of teaching to two groups of kids now. 

We'll see what happens.  I just wish that the extra-curriculars would meet in person.  They are allowed to in small groups depending on whether the teacher is comfortable. So band and chorus and drama have been meeting. Robotics and Math club haven't mentioned anything yet though:( 

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1 minute ago, DawnM said:

I was exposed to Covid last week and they sent me home today.   I have to stay home until next Wed.  There are 4 of us staff members affected.

My husband's school went to 5 days a week (after starting up virtually then very briefly doing hybrid). They had 2 positive cases and more than 120 people quarantined by day 4. If nothing else, staying hybrid so you can keep everyone distanced means you can do a lot fewer quarantines when you have positive cases.

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1 minute ago, KungFuPanda said:

Who gets the “option?” Are teachers banned from this choice? 

Hmmmm. Good question. I don't know how I'd allocate this. Obviously anyone high risk shouldn't be teaching in real life, but of course, lots of people live with high risk people, too. 

Honestly, I don't know. There are so many pros and cons to all the plans... 

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It's true that schools there are for now still open, but nearly everything else is very strictly controlled.  (More so than what has ever been closed here.)  During their first lockdown, my dd was only allowed on the street if she had official papers to show, and they were only allowed out once (? --can't remember exactly) per day, and not beyond 1 km of their home.

ETA:  But I sure agree that I wish none of this had been politicized here!  It's not political everywhere.)

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28 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmmm. Good question. I don't know how I'd allocate this. Obviously anyone high risk shouldn't be teaching in real life, but of course, lots of people live with high risk people, too. 

Honestly, I don't know. There are so many pros and cons to all the plans... 

And that's the thing....all the estimates I've seen say 1/4 to 1/3 of teachers are high risk. And it's older teachers and/or ones with more health risks who are least able to opt out because they can't risk their retirement or their health insurance. 2 people in DH's department took long term leave this year because they felt unsafe (unpaid, presumably without benefits, but probably they at least keep their retirement accounts). They didn't hire replacements or long term subs (which I imagine would be virtually impossible this year)....they divided those teachers' students up amongst the other teachers, so now their classes are bigger than before, so even less ability to distance. 

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8 minutes ago, kokotg said:

And that's the thing....all the estimates I've seen say 1/4 to 1/3 of teachers are high risk. And it's older teachers and/or ones with more health risks who are least able to opt out because they can't risk their retirement or their health insurance. 2 people in DH's department took long term leave this year because they felt unsafe (unpaid, presumably without benefits, but probably they at least keep their retirement accounts). They didn't hire replacements or long term subs (which I imagine would be virtually impossible this year)....they divided those teachers' students up amongst the other teachers, so now their classes are bigger than before, so even less ability to distance. 

Yeah, it all sucks. I'm sure there were plans that were feasible, but not so much with zero coordination, or some government relief, or the virus under better control. 

Now it's all chaos again. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, it all sucks. I'm sure there were plans that were feasible, but not so much with zero coordination, or some government relief, or the virus under better control. 

Now it's all chaos again. 

Yeah, spending the summer getting things under control as much as possible and coming up with solid plans for schools would have been smart. Sigh. It would make SUCH a difference if community numbers has started lower and there were a plan (and funding) in place for a lot of asymptomatic screening tests. That's what my oldest's college is doing (everyone tested before they get there, again when they arrive, and then random testing of 15% of the campus every week), and they seem to be keeping things under control. Doesn't mean I don't worry about him, but I feel a lot better about his situation than my husband's.

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3 hours ago, Spy Car said:

I'm so happy my high schooler is doing classes on-line.

His teachers have done an outstanding job, he is thriving, and we're helping slow the spread of this plague and reducing the death rate.

Bill

In my state as well.  I feel like this is why we aren't having problems like in Europe and in some other states. 

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11 hours ago, kokotg said:

My husband's school went to 5 days a week (after starting up virtually then very briefly doing hybrid). They had 2 positive cases and more than 120 people quarantined by day 4. If nothing else, staying hybrid so you can keep everyone distanced means you can do a lot fewer quarantines when you have positive cases.

Our school is hybrid.   We haven't opened up completely at all this year.   The neighboring school districts haven't opened yet.   Our schools in NC are county based, so each county is it's own school district.  It seems to all be completely politically based.   If the county votes blue, the schools are closed, if the country votes red, the schools are open.

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14 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmmm. Good question. I don't know how I'd allocate this. Obviously anyone high risk shouldn't be teaching in real life, but of course, lots of people live with high risk people, too. 

Honestly, I don't know. There are so many pros and cons to all the plans... 

It just doesn't sit well with me.  We're acting like we don't have a teacher shortage or nurse shortage in this country.  The sub pool has a lot of retired teachers and around here subs do NOT get health insurance.  The retirees aren't going to step up for this.  They have to be more careful than ever and they HAVE an income.  I feel like people want teachers to torpedo their own lives so everyone else can pretend things are normal, but the virus doesn't really care that we're tired of all this.  Teachers are still doing what they're actually paid to do.  They are preparing and presenting the material to the kids.  They're working full days and scrambling more than ever.  What they're no longer doing is providing discipline and childcare to subsidize everyone else's lifestyles while they earn peanuts.  Nobody is offering hazard pay for those who want to return to the classroom and the people who are screaming the loudest for a return to school seem to be the people least likely to take the extra precautions to make it safe.  

I could see a half day situation being possible where everyone is fully masked and nobody removes masks to eat in the school building or goes beyond their classroom.  Maybe send them home with a lunch and breakfast for the next day to ensure everyone is eating if that's a problem.  Still, people would complain that the kid aren't away from home long enough to suit their own workday needs.  There are classrooms with no windows for good air exchange.  Bathrooms are still communal.  It's awful, but what we WANT isn't the safest route right now.  

My daughter just moved into an apartment just in case schools reopen in January.  That's a lot of extra expense for her.   She's a young teacher at the bottom of the pay scale in a huge high school.  She's grading hundreds of papers every day in addition to teaching classes, maintaining office hours, attending IEP meetings, and emailing parents and students. She's not NOT working. She could live at home for free but she doesn't want to be responsible for getting her brother sick. He's VERY high risk. 

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Well crap, my ds 17 was just sent home sick with fever, chills, head ache, congestion. 

ETA: My places of employment don't take these things seriously so I know they will want me to work even if he gets a Covid test. I'm not even sure what they would say if his came back positive. 

Ugh 😞 

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1 hour ago, SquirrellyMama said:

Well crap, my ds 17 was just sent home sick with fever, chills, head ache, congestion. 

ETA: My places of employment don't take these things seriously so I know they will want me to work even if he gets a Covid test. I'm not even sure what they would say if his came back positive. 

Ugh 😞 

 

Wow.   Mine sent me home for being exposed, not even having symptoms.....they told me, "Get out!  We don't want your kind around these parts!"  

(Ok, well, not quite that dramatically, but essentially the same thing.)

 

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4 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

Wow.   Mine sent me home for being exposed, not even having symptoms.....they told me, "Get out!  We don't want your kind around these parts!"  

(Ok, well, not quite that dramatically, but essentially the same thing.)

 

I was surprised they didn't send my dd 15 home from school also since she is exposed to him at home. The school didn't even request he be tested. They said to see what the doctor says. I told him to let the doctor know that we want to be as careful as possible so we would be more than happy to test. 

Kelly

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2 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

Nobody is offering hazard pay for those who want to return to the classroom and the people who are screaming the loudest for a return to school seem to be the people least likely to take the extra precautions to make it safe.  

Yeah. Given the actual realities, it may be that in person school won’t work. And I agree that you’d want hazard pay, and support for people working virtually, and all sorts of things no one is offering.

It just sucks for some kids. Especially ones from less stable homes. It’s all so sad.

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22 minutes ago, DawnM said:

 

Wow.   Mine sent me home for being exposed, not even having symptoms.....they told me, "Get out!  We don't want your kind around these parts!"  

(Ok, well, not quite that dramatically, but essentially the same thing.)

 

I have made sure people working here were sent home when their family members were getting tested. I don't always know when they are exposed, but as soon as I find out I send them home. This town is full of people who don't care.

 

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A fb friend brought up a point ... why did they bother to offer an all-virtual option if they were going to be so zero-risk for the people who didn't want all-remote?  The "virtual learning academy" took up half of the teaching resources, resulting in some of my kids' classes being canceled, and the remaining classes only being taught 2x per week instead of 5x.  And on top of that, no in-person interaction until God knows when, even though I made the decision at the outset that my family is willing to accept exposure to Covid for the sake of their social, emotional, and academic development.

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For us, and for my friends in a different state, the virtual component is supposed to be the primary teaching. The in-person component, for those who are choosing to also attend in person, is designed to be supplemental learning.

We have never gotten to in person learning (though k-2 may start soon), but in other states the hybrid means that the teacher is having to prepare a ton of materials—all virtual stuff plus the hybrid enrichment for the smaller sections of kids.

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7 hours ago, DawnM said:

Our school is hybrid.   We haven't opened up completely at all this year.   The neighboring school districts haven't opened yet.   Our schools in NC are county based, so each county is it's own school district.  It seems to all be completely politically based.   If the county votes blue, the schools are closed, if the country votes red, the schools are open.

We're in a very blue county, BUT it's the county that includes Atlanta, which has its own school district (which is still fully virtual). So the bluest part of my blue county is out of the picture for school decisions. 

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23 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Yup.

I've been following my Danish friend's situation pretty closely.  She was the first to open back up and have normal---kids back in school in the spring, usual going about during summer, etc.  Her kids are still going to school in their pods, and socializing within their pods, but she and her husband are having to work from home again. They just reintroduced mandatory masking and bars have to close by 10pm.  A not-insignificant percentage of people are angry.  It was actually reassuring to me to hear that there are anti-maskers everywhere.

We're pretty sure our local schools aren't going to open up any time this academic year.  We were really close in early September to meeting the markers, but things fell apart again.

 

Yup. Similar reports I get from people I know in Europe/UK.

 

And Similar metrics for school reopening issues where I am .  A lot  - including my kid - could really use school to open. 🥺  even 50% of the hybrid plan would help. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, KungFuPanda said:

I could see a half day situation being possible where everyone is fully masked and nobody removes masks to eat in the school building or goes beyond their classroom. 

 

I think that would be a good start. 

 

Also I think to allow teachers and students where online is working or a health need to keep doing that.  Not to force people to have in person if remote is good for them and to match remote kids to teachers who need / want remote.

 

those who feel okay with in person to have in person   but maybe with no time that masks would have to be off like lunch — unless weather and grounds allow outdoor distance eating

 

 

 

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I just watched Taiwanese prime minister on Fareed Zakaria show. Taiwan has gone 200 days without Covid transmission. Can you believe it? What shocked me is they never locked down. So apparently they have one national insurance system which helped them contact trace and lock up about 250k people into quarantine all the while business went on as usual, including schools. It worked for them.

Now of course masks and social distancing as much as they can is also part of the strategy. But yes, just today I saw Trifonov (our favorite pianist) post pics on Facebook from his concert in Taiwan. What we wouldn’t give to sit in that audience. 

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On 10/28/2020 at 5:16 PM, Not_a_Number said:

I wonder if masks work as well as that... to be honest, I would want people to quarantine in that situation. Because if the person was a spreader, masks may not be enough, being together all day. 

Most schools would have quarantined anyone within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer. 

My district opened up in August face-to-face and we've  had a few student cases and a few non-teaching staff cases. We constantly have people in and out of quarantine, including some families who voluntarily quarantine after travel. I wasn't keen on going back and expected we'd be back to remote by late September.

Our district is also going to go to full remote for kids the week after Thanksgiving. Except they're requiring us teachers to be in our buildings three days that week. It's the first thing they've done that IMO makes zero sense. I suspect this resulted from the school board receiving complaints from parents who saw teachers out and about during the day during lockdown last spring. 

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