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This is what they are doing with public schools in the county next to us...


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Data is infuriatingly hard to come by, but most of the stuff I've seen reassuring everyone that transmission isn't happening in schools pretty much ignores the fact that teachers and staff exist. Ever

I don’t know if you saw or followed the link to the epidemiologist’s Twitter thread I posted above, but it has a lot of study links compiled in one place. What I see epidemiologists saying over and ov

I work in a catholic high school in that same county (Fairfax county). We have been in the classroom in a hybrid situation (half the students each day) since August. We have 5 teachers that have been

Wouldn't be that happy if kid were being babysat while they learned on line at school.  If it is safe enough to open the school's then it is safe for all except a tiny minority of teachers.  If it isn't then maybe the school should stay shut.

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40 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

So the teachers get to stay home and poorly paid "classroom monitors" get to take the risk?

Our son in law is working in a situation like this. He has a room full of kids grades 3-5, and their teachers are down the hall, in the same building, teaching remotely.  Jack loves his job, having worked for a Boys and Girls Club doing after school tutoring and mentoring, so this is right up his alley. However, he has Crohn’s and it seems weird that the situation is too dangerous for teachers but not for the folks they hire to help.  
In this school, only certain kids are on site in Jack’s class- they are kids who need academic help and who have no parent who can be home w them during the day. Some are there because they have no internet access at home. 
 

It’s so hard to find a solution that works for everyone, that’s for sure. It’s a complicated situation.  But thankfully our son in law is paid pretty well and has good benefits. 

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I work in a catholic high school in that same county (Fairfax county). We have been in the classroom in a hybrid situation (half the students each day) since August. We have 5 teachers that have been teaching remotely with a proctor in the classroom for that whole time.  It has worked well.  One of the teachers is the art teacher (she has MS). Her proctor was an art teacher in an elementary school and the situation has worked out really well. On of the other teachers is over 65 and teaches physics and engineering. Her proctor has handled all her labs and class projects with the assistance of the other physics teachers (I am one of them).  It has worked really well too. Our other three teachers are older and teach math and English.  All in all it has been a workable solution.

Edited by retiredHSmom
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Schools in our city have been open since fall.  I think October.  The neighboring cities had their schools open before ours and everyone wanted them open for face to face learning.  They have had to close for cleanings sometimes, but mostly they have been open.  They did give the kids a choice if they wanted to do virtual instead of coming back and I think 70 or 80% are back at school.  I think teachers have already been able to get the vaccine in our state for a few weeks.  I know that the town a bit away closed down school for one day so all the teachers could get it.   They have been doing sports all this time too.  Kids were playing rec league things all summer.  High school sports have been going on this whole year.  

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2 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Schools in our city have been open since fall.  I think October.  The neighboring cities had their schools open before ours and everyone wanted them open for face to face learning.  They have had to close for cleanings sometimes, but mostly they have been open.  They did give the kids a choice if they wanted to do virtual instead of coming back and I think 70 or 80% are back at school.  I think teachers have already been able to get the vaccine in our state for a few weeks.  I know that the town a bit away closed down school for one day so all the teachers could get it.   They have been doing sports all this time too.  Kids were playing rec league things all summer.  High school sports have been going on this whole year.  

Same where I live. Sports and all. 

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It sounds like a good solution, both for the teachers who would be really unsafe in the classroom, and for the people who do feel comfortable being there. It sure beats kids being home alone all day. 

I left my in-school teaching job to teach remotely. I would not have been able to handle the stress of working in school because I didn't think people were going to take COVID seriously. (Turns out I was right about that one.) If a solution like this had been available, I could have stayed in my job. I don't begrudge anyone because it was my choice, but I do wish my school had been able to think outside the box a little. 

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The district here allowed parents to choose in person or remote for each semester. In the fall, some parents were clamoring for in person. They got it but it looks nothing like regular school. This spring, more opted for fully virtual and the Junior/Senior parking lot is empty every day. In person is the primary choice for elementary schools but everyone is masked and there is social distancing. Kids don’t even sit together at lunch. HS/MS Sports are essentially canceled. Most of the teachers teach from the front of the class and livestream via zoom to kids at home. Some teachers teach from home and there’s a proctor in the school. There *might* be 750 kids who attend DDs school everyday. Normally, there are 3500. As far as I know, not a single district teacher has been lost to COVID and vaccinations for staff have begun. Everything here is based on local community transmission rates so schools may be open but won’t be ‘normal’ until infection and hospitalization rates decline. We expect to be back to full time in person this fall. We are in a neighbor state.

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If only our nurses, farmers, grocery workers, doctors have acted the same way.

I get those teachers with health conditions want to be accommodated, but many of us have been out there taking greater risks and doing our jobs. If we had data indicating schools were a dangerous place for transmission, I would be more sympathetic. 

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Where I live you were given the choice of virtual or fully in person. Most choose in person and the few that did do virtual have nearly all came back to in person as virtual is horrible. There have been sports but there have been some changes, things like dances have been cut. I don't know all the details as I don't have kids in sports. Masks were optional but then switched to required. Current positivity rate is 0.13% with 2% on quarantine for exposure. Cases and quarantine went way down after masks were required and I have been surprised it has went as well as it has, I had no faith in it.

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We have had in person learning since August.   Currently K-5 are going M-Th.   All of them.   And 6-12 go 2 days per week, either M/T or W/Th.   Fridays are remote.

We have had a lot of cases even within our own schools.   2 weeks ago we had 14 teachers out, that is almost 1/4 of our staff.   They either tested positive or were on quarantine.

I don't know how many teachers are remote only within the district, but at our school there are 9 or 10 who are working 100% remote due to health conditions of their own or a family member.

Our gov. has said K-5 needs to go back into the building full time.   6-12 need to continue to do a hybrid plan.   This is in NC.

 

ETA:  We have enough students who have opted for online learning to allow the online only teachers to teach those students only.   

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I live in a district with very similar size, demographics and politics to Fairfax, and teach in a different district, so I've been watching this very carefully.  Fairfax isn't the only district making this choice, it's just the one that happened to be in the news. 

10 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

If only our nurses, farmers, grocery workers, doctors have acted the same way.

I get those teachers with health conditions want to be accommodated, but many of us have been out there taking greater risks and doing our jobs. If we had data indicating schools were a dangerous place for transmission, I would be more sympathetic. 

I know a lot of people who have quit their jobs because of covid risk, not just in education.  Grocery stores around me have been pretty desperate for employees.  It's not just teachers who have concerns.  The difference is that there was already a teacher shortage through the metropolitan area, so school systems need to find solutions that prevent teachers from quitting.  

I teach in a shortage area.  When I was figuring out whether or not to be back this year, my boss was really clear that she'd rather have me with an ADA accommodation, than not have me.  My LEA is still 100% virtual through at least the end of Q3,  but if they return to buildings in fourth quarter, then I'll be teaching remotely.  Because I teach kids on alternate standards, my kids will have an experienced para in the classroom with them.  Initially, my co-teachers and I hoped that we could design our schedules so that I taught the kids who will stay virtual, and teachers who are returning in person would teach the kids in person, but in reality, we don't have the data to make that decision, because parents aren't being asked to commit.  Now second semester schedules are built, and relationships formed, so it's too late. 

2 hours ago, DawnM said:

ETA:  We have enough students who have opted for online learning to allow the online only teachers to teach those students only.   

I think this is one of the places where Fairfax, and other LEA's fell down on the job.  The percentage of teachers with ADA accommodations is lower than the percentage of students choosing virtual.  For K-5 at least, it should, in theory to be possible to arrange staffing so that the virtual teachers teach the virtual kids, and the in person teachers teach the in person kids.  They tried to set that up in the fall, but they didn't move efficiently enough, and gave up, and so teachers who are guaranteed the right to work from home, are teaching classes with kids who will be in person.  

Now they're bringing students back with a concurrent model, meaning that a teacher basically has three groups in his/her classroom.  They have students who are always home, students who come T/W and students who come Th/F.  Teaching this way is hard, and it gets harder the younger the kids are.  Teachers basically end up teaching through technology to the kids at school and at home. The concurrent model, also means that every teacher needs to be in person, or have an in person sub.  

The other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the "monitor" model is being used to avoid situations where teachers are moving from room to room, and potentially carrying germs with them.  For example, most elementary school classrooms are doing their specials virtually to protect the cohorts.  Since teachers need a duty free lunch, to allow them to take off their mask and eat, then monitors are used while the art, or music, or foreign language teacher is remote.  They might be remote from the art room, or the music room in the same building.  In middle school and high school, some districts in our area (not Fairfax, I don't think) are going to a model where a staff members has a cohort of maybe 10 kids who are together all day, and logging in to remote classes.  That way each student is only exposed to 9 other kids, as opposed to 9 kids times however many classes they have.  Is this the right solution?  I don't know.  

Monitors will also be used to cover for teachers who are quarantining but still able to teach. 

 

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Did anyone stop to think about the fact that they are not only paying teachers,  but hiring nearly 1,000 “monitors”?  I’m sure they aren’t being paid a lot, but still, that’s a lot of $$$$.  We used to live in Fairfax County, so I know there’s a lot of money to make this happen.  I hope those teachers realize they are lucky to have that option.  Most places could never afford it.

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2 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

I live in a district with very similar size, demographics and politics to Fairfax, and teach in a different district, so I've been watching this very carefully.  Fairfax isn't the only district making this choice, it's just the one that happened to be in the news. 

I know a lot of people who have quit their jobs because of covid risk, not just in education.  Grocery stores around me have been pretty desperate for employees.  It's not just teachers who have concerns.  The difference is that there was already a teacher shortage through the metropolitan area, so school systems need to find solutions that prevent teachers from quitting.  

I teach in a shortage area.  When I was figuring out whether or not to be back this year, my boss was really clear that she'd rather have me with an ADA accommodation, than not have me.  My LEA is still 100% virtual through at least the end of Q3,  but if they return to buildings in fourth quarter, then I'll be teaching remotely.  Because I teach kids on alternate standards, my kids will have an experienced para in the classroom with them.  Initially, my co-teachers and I hoped that we could design our schedules so that I taught the kids who will stay virtual, and teachers who are returning in person would teach the kids in person, but in reality, we don't have the data to make that decision, because parents aren't being asked to commit.  Now second semester schedules are built, and relationships formed, so it's too late. 

I think this is one of the places where Fairfax, and other LEA's fell down on the job.  The percentage of teachers with ADA accommodations is lower than the percentage of students choosing virtual.  For K-5 at least, it should, in theory to be possible to arrange staffing so that the virtual teachers teach the virtual kids, and the in person teachers teach the in person kids.  They tried to set that up in the fall, but they didn't move efficiently enough, and gave up, and so teachers who are guaranteed the right to work from home, are teaching classes with kids who will be in person.  

Now they're bringing students back with a concurrent model, meaning that a teacher basically has three groups in his/her classroom.  They have students who are always home, students who come T/W and students who come Th/F.  Teaching this way is hard, and it gets harder the younger the kids are.  Teachers basically end up teaching through technology to the kids at school and at home. The concurrent model, also means that every teacher needs to be in person, or have an in person sub.  

The other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the "monitor" model is being used to avoid situations where teachers are moving from room to room, and potentially carrying germs with them.  For example, most elementary school classrooms are doing their specials virtually to protect the cohorts.  Since teachers need a duty free lunch, to allow them to take off their mask and eat, then monitors are used while the art, or music, or foreign language teacher is remote.  They might be remote from the art room, or the music room in the same building.  In middle school and high school, some districts in our area (not Fairfax, I don't think) are going to a model where a staff members has a cohort of maybe 10 kids who are together all day, and logging in to remote classes.  That way each student is only exposed to 9 other kids, as opposed to 9 kids times however many classes they have.  Is this the right solution?  I don't know.  

Monitors will also be used to cover for teachers who are quarantining but still able to teach. 

Our district has done something similar but students had to commit to a full semester of in-person/hybrid based on community transmission rates (group 1) or strictly virtual (group2) so there’s less movement and better planning. The district surveyed teachers last spring/summer about their preferences and had them commit to one or the other group as well. Honestly, we have had a very smooth year all things considered. And while my friends regularly post about outbreaks in their schools, we’ve had very, very little of that.
 

Reopening schools safely costs money, a lot of money. Our district, while not as wealthy as Fairfax, VA, is well resourced. I’m glad they opened our schools for those who need/prefer that option but it is expensive. That’s kind of the whole point of the new COVID spending package...paying for some of these modifications.
 

One advantage to our district’s approach, as you point out, is that the teaching staff has remained in place. There’s been less attrition among food and classroom aid workers too because they were shifted into proctor roles. They didn’t have to hire tons of new staff. There will also be less effort involved in staffing up for the full, regular reopening in the fall too.

 

The one staffing shortage that continues to be a challenge is bus drivers. Older, retired people aren’t taking those jobs. Buses are running three-four routes every morning and afternoon to spread the kids out. There aren’t enough people who can and will do that work. CDL holders can make a ton more driving even short hauls thanks to the boom in shipping and they can do it without putting their lives at risk.

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I think also the fact that teachers are also typically asked to commit early on in the year- feb/ March in most cases and can’t just resign like a grocery employee makes it hard for them when no body knew a pandemic was on the horizon. 

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My sympathy was with the teachers for a long time. I don't even know what to think at this point. I mean, I've seen what FCPS is doing and it's nuts.

I think schools should have opened awhile back. At least here they put actually teachers back in the classrooms and came to a union deal to do it. But it's super limited. Most kids are still home.

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On 2/6/2021 at 3:59 PM, mom2scouts said:

So the teachers get to stay home and poorly paid "classroom monitors" get to take the risk?

Teachers who are at extremely high risk (covered by ADA); this is about 15% of their teachers, so about 85% remain in the classroom.  

14 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

If only our nurses, farmers, grocery workers, doctors have acted the same way.

I get those teachers with health conditions want to be accommodated, but many of us have been out there taking greater risks and doing our jobs. If we had data indicating schools were a dangerous place for transmission, I would be more sympathetic. 

If someone is high risk, I'm very sympathetic toward them. If they can be accommodated by ADA or otherwise, I'm very happy for them. And they are doing their jobs. Are they getting extra help? Yes, they are. And I am fine with that. They are high risk. People get ADA accommodations at work all the time. This is an unusual situation but the overall purpose and intent of ADA protection remains the same.

If someone is not high risk but is still able to lower their risk by restructuring their job, then I'm fine with that, too. My dh sees lots of different people in lots of different places every day; he is really not able to lower his exposure. He wouldn't want someone who could lower their exposure to not do so just because he can't. 

To be strictly practical about it, a certain number of those teachers would be able to retire or quit if they aren't accommodated now. The district would then be scrambling to finish the school year, and then scrambling to replace them long-term. Because those who are high risk are going to skew older, they will lose not just teachers, but a lot of experienced teachers. That scenario is going to cost them more money than what they spend during covid, and it will take years to recover from the loss of numerous experienced teachers. 

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I see this simply - essential workers need to show up to work unless they absolutely can’t (thank you nurses and doctors among many others who did) and we need to prioritize vaccinating all people currently working in public who are high risk. Teachers don’t take priority over Costco workers as in California where I hear teachers promise to return to work within 100 days of vaccination (nobody has remarked that that would be summer). Everybody’s life matters. 
If you are out working right now, and you are high risk, you should be a priority of this vaccination campaign irregardless of your profession. But if you are deemed essential (as I think elementary school teachers should be), then please rise to the occasion as many others and show up to work. Or we can do what private schools do - hire college graduates and not require credentials. I am not convinced those credentials add much anyway. 

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Here, the biggest district is still completely virtual, with supervision available in small pods at a range of sites for parents who need child care during the school day. This is what over 75% of parents wanted, and the superintendent does not plan to bring schools back in person until all staff have the option of getting the vaccine. The hope is to manage that this Spring and then to do an optional summer school, particularly for students for whom online has been less successful. The big district has old buildings, and if they were to go back and try to be socially distanced, they would have to use the extra sites and people anyway, and would struggle to provide teaching. By putting everyone virtual and providing supervision for those who need it, it at least avoids half the kids having teachers and half not, and since teachers are able to stay home, for the most part there haven't needed to be huge numbers of substitutes. Much of the supervision is provided by district employees-teaching assistants and paraprofessionals who would otherwise not have jobs this year. The cafeteria staff are preparing meal boxes that can be picked up for students at home. Custodial staff are providing custodial services at the spread out sites. 

 

 

 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

 But if you are deemed essential (as I think elementary school teachers should be), then please rise to the occasion as many others and show up to work. 

So, as someone in his position, you’re saying it would be unethical of me to quit?  

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3 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

So, as someone in his position, you’re saying it would be unethical of me to quit?  

Of course not. 
My DH has been working through it all. We have risks, but manageable ones. Now if I had a kid at home with an autoimmune issue or anything very serious, I would tell him to waltz out and look for something else. 
Some risks absolutely shouldn’t be taken and we really do need to be understanding of it all. But those of us who can (most teachers in our elementary are under 55 and we currently have 2 active cases in town and school has been closed for almost a year) and happen to be essential workers should do our jobs with proper PPE. It is a personal decision and it hasn’t been easy on anybody. Most of us though had few choices. I don’t see why we treat some with such adoration and care while ordering factory workers to work without flinching our eyes. 

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27 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Of course not. 
My DH has been working through it all. We have risks, but manageable ones. Now if I had a kid at home with an autoimmune issue or anything very serious, I would tell him to waltz out and look for something else. 
Some risks absolutely shouldn’t be taken and we really do need to be understanding of it all. But those of us who can (most teachers in our elementary are under 55 and we currently have 2 active cases in town and school has been closed for almost a year) and happen to be essential workers should do our jobs with proper PPE. It is a personal decision and it hasn’t been easy on anybody. Most of us though had few choices. I don’t see why we treat some with such adoration and care while ordering factory workers to work without flinching our eyes. 

The district in the article, 15% of the teachers have ADA.  That doesn’t seem hard to believe to me.  

I feel like I missed the teacher adoration you speak of.  

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16 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

So, as someone in his position, you’re saying it would be unethical of me to quit?  

 

6 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Of course not. 
My DH has been working through it all. We have risks, but manageable ones. Now if I had a kid at home with an autoimmune issue or anything very serious, I would tell him to waltz out and look for something else. 
Some risks absolutely shouldn’t be taken and we really do need to be understanding of it all. But those of us who can (most teachers in our elementary are under 55 and we currently have 2 active cases in town and school has been closed for almost a year) and happen to be essential workers should do our jobs with proper PPE. It is a personal decision and it hasn’t been easy on anybody. Most of us though had few choices. I don’t see why we treat some with such adoration and care while ordering factory workers to work without flinching our eyes. 

But this article was specifically about teachers who are, indeed, high risk. They are exercising their legal right to accommodations under ADA. And I've certainly never thought of teachers as a group of workers that are treated with "adoration and care." 

1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

I see this simply - essential workers need to show up to work unless they absolutely can’t 

So, the grocery clerk making $10-$12 has an obligation to continue working if they/their family are not high risk? I think it's absolutely fine for any typical worker to nope on out of a work situation that is high risk, low reward. If there aren't enough workers, the company will up the reward. Target already had a plan to raise pay to $15/hour but they did it 6 months early, plus paid out bonuses, due to the pandemic. A fair number of companies had to increase hourly pay to keep enough workers, and I think that's great. The increases were long overdue. Why should people making low pay bear the brunt of exposure? 

I don't think the comparison between medical professionals and other professions is an apt one. Doctors literally take an oath to not turn away contagious patients. Many nurses make a similar pledge. My Walmart cashier, however, does not have any kind of moral obligation to ring up by shopping. 

 

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1 minute ago, katilac said:

 

 

But this article was specifically about teachers who are, indeed, high risk. They are exercising their legal right to accommodations under ADA. And I've certainly never thought of teachers as a group of workers that are treated with "adoration and care." 

So, the grocery clerk making $10-$12 has an obligation to continue working if they/their family are not high risk? I think it's absolutely fine for any typical worker to nope on out of a work situation that is high risk, low reward. If there aren't enough workers, the company will up the reward. Target already had a plan to raise pay to $15/hour but they did it 6 months early, plus paid out bonuses, due to the pandemic. A fair number of companies had to increase hourly pay to keep enough workers, and I think that's great. The increases were long overdue. Why should people making low pay bear the brunt of exposure? 

I don't think the comparison between medical professionals and other professions is an apt one. Doctors literally take an oath to not turn away contagious patients. Many nurses make a similar pledge. My Walmart cashier, however, does not have any kind of moral obligation to ring up by shopping. 

 

Grocery workers did. Many didn’t have choices. 😞 Farm workers did. Factory workers did. 
I think given the data we have so far on school transmission, it is reasonable to want to open. If we had data indicating otherwise, I would be all for sitting this out at home. San Francisco is suing it’s own school district now because schools are refusing to open. 
 

We all have moral obligation to do our jobs well no matter what it is. That’s my personal belief. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

Grocery workers did. Many didn’t have choices. 😞 Farm workers did. Factory workers did. 
I think given the data we have so far on school transmission, it is reasonable to want to open. If we had data indicating otherwise, I would be all for sitting this out at home. San Francisco is suing it’s own school district now because schools are refusing to open. 

This is about a district that is opening. 

1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

We all have moral obligation to do our jobs well no matter what it is. That’s my personal belief. 

I also have a moral obligation to my children, and my elderly family members. 

 

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9 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

This is about a district that is opening. 

I also have a moral obligation to my children, and my elderly family members. 

 

I don’t disagree. I was just objecting to the insinuation (at least I read it that way) that some jobs aren’t worthwhile to feel any obligation. I would also prioritize my family and quit and look for an alternative if I felt life was under serious threat. No question asked. 
This district seems to have found a solution. 

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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

I don’t disagree. I was just objecting to the insinuation (at least I read it that way) that some jobs aren’t worthwhile to feel any obligation. I would also prioritize my family and quit and look for an alternative if I felt life was under serious threat. No question asked. 

Where did you read that insinuated?  On this thread? 

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Honestly, we don't have well designed studies saying that opening schools is safe.  And we DO know that when the UK variant is in play, schools being open is definitely NOT safe.  

I think opening schools in person at this particular juncture, when variants are spreading, is ludicrously unsafe.  

Which really sucks, because elementary schools, at least, are really needed to be open.  

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Factory workers were ordered to keep working by virtue of being deemed essential. Ask SD and ND how that worked out. Dead workers. Grocery clerks dropped like flies last year too. Dead. What is this, crabs in a bucket? Everyone should suffer if I have to suffer? Cater to the lowest common denominator? How about we put up the money to provide PPE, adequate ventilation and require some freaking masks of ALL people out and about.

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We require masks here. And we could have ran classrooms outside here given the super favorable climate at least until Thanksgiving. All I can say is my local elementary school has been closed for almost a year. A private k-8 just down the street did just fine in person. Nobody dropped dead. 
If we decide elementary school teachers are essential, then they need to go back to work like other essential workers. The definition of essential being we can’t do without them. I am all for treating everybody as well as we can, but nobody is special. San Francisco is now suing its own schools because teachers are refusing to return to work. I am trying to imagine what would have happened to my DH if he refused. Two masks over the face, he is working. 

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Just now, Roadrunner said:

We require masks here. And we could have ran classrooms outside here given the super favorable climate at least until Thanksgiving. All I can say is my local elementary school has been closed for almost a year. A private k-8 just down the street did just fine in person. Nobody dropped dead. 
If we decide elementary school teachers are essential, then they need to go back to work like other essential workers. The definition of essential being we can’t do without them. I am all for treating everybody as well as we can, but nobody is special. San Francisco is now suing its own schools because teachers are refusing to return to work. I am trying to imagine what would have happened to my DH if he refused. Two masks over the face, he is working. 

If your DH quit, what would happen?  Are you saying that if your DH was high risk, and quit on the advice of his medical professionals, they'd force him back?  

I wasn't aware that was happening anywhere in the US.

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9 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

If your DH quit, what would happen?  Are you saying that if your DH was high risk, and quit on the advice of his medical professionals, they'd force him back?  

I wasn't aware that was happening anywhere in the US.

No, sorry for confusion. The other way around. I am saying if he doesn’t go to work, he is out of job. He has to look for a different one. Now a city is ordering teachers to school and they are refusing. This seems to be acceptable. 

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17 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

San Francisco is now suing its own schools because teachers are refusing to return to work.

Off Topic, but, I have a friend who is familiar with the happenings in the SF school district and thinks that all the parties are playing games and the same is going on in Alameda county as well. Apparently, concerned parents who are alarmed at how long the public schools have not been opened up have formed parent groups and are filing civil lawsuits against the counties. In order to thwart these lawsuits, the Counties are turning around and suing their schools which gives them respite in court. The teacher's unions and the counties will be answerable to a Judge in a Court. There are enough lawyers and parents working on that right now (teacher's unions have always been too influential and strong).

 

Edited by mathnerd
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1 minute ago, Roadrunner said:

No, sorry for confusion. The other way around. I am saying if he doesn’t go to work, he is out of job. He has to look for a different one. Now a city is ordering teachers to school and they are refusing. This seems to be acceptable. 

The teachers tried to quit.  The school system can't function without them.  So, they've come up with a solution to get them to stay.  I'm not sure what else you'd suggest. That the school system let them quit and tell the kids there's no school at all?  Or have the "monitors" sub?   Because districts around here can't find qualified subs.  

It's not a perfect solution.  I'm not saying it is. Although, I'll also say that I teach some of the kids that you'd think would have the most trouble with virtual learning, and they're learning.  My kids have learned a lot.  And I assume that if they learned from me during virtual learning at home, when they're at school with more structure, they'll learn even if I'm still remote.  

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10 minutes ago, mathnerd said:

Off Topic, but, I have a friend who is familiar with the happenings in the SF school district and thinks that all the parties are playing games and the same is going on in Alameda county as well. Apparently, concerned parents who are alarmed at how long the public schools have not been opened up have formed parent groups and are filing civil lawsuits against the counties. In order to thwart these lawsuits, the Counties are turning around and suing their schools which gives them respite in court. The teacher's unions and the counties will be answerable to a Judge in a Court. There are enough lawyers and parents working on that right now (teacher's unions have always been too influential and strong).

 

What a nightmare. 
 

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9 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

The teachers tried to quit.  The school system can't function without them.  So, they've come up with a solution to get them to stay.  I'm not sure what else you'd suggest. That the school system let them quit and tell the kids there's no school at all?  Or have the "monitors" sub?   Because districts around here can't find qualified subs.  

It's not a perfect solution.  I'm not saying it is. Although, I'll also say that I teach some of the kids that you'd think would have the most trouble with virtual learning, and they're learning.  My kids have learned a lot.  And I assume that if they learned from me during virtual learning at home, when they're at school with more structure, they'll learn even if I'm still remote.  

A friend with a PHD in Biology can’t get hired at a school district without a credential. She can however teach at a private school. I think this is one way to find qualified people - allow people with degrees to teach. 
 

Yes, some kids are doing well online. A friend was commenting her DD is thriving now that she doesn’t have to worry about peer pressure. I think generally for most people it is difficult to be at home all the time. It isn’t only about online delivery of material but the fact that every day sleeping, studying, playing  in the same room can be psychologically hard as well. We are homeschoolers and used to doing work around our dining room table. Yet my kids are also having a really difficult time not because school changed, but all the outside opportunities dried up. 
So many parents are also complaining because they can’t control online consumption - kids having fun on internet while pretending to be in class. Many are seeing signs of depression - not wanting to get up and get dressed, mood swings. sports kids are completely devastated. 

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

A friend with a PHD in Biology can’t get hired at a school district without a credential. She can however teach at a private school. I think this is one way to find qualified people - allow people with degrees to teach. 

 

Do you think that midyear in a pandemic, is the time to put people in a classroom who don't have group management skills, haven't developed the technological skills, don't know the curriculum, don't have experience with issues like kids with trauma, or kids with disabilities, etc . . . ?  

That might be a long term solution, but I don't see how that's a short term solution for this school year.  It's also not something to attack teachers for.  It's not my decision who would replace me.  My only decision is, if my LEA opens, is whether I go to work at school, exercise my rights under ADA to work from home, or quit.  One of those choices puts me and my family at risk.  One of them leaves my students without a teacher.  You seem to think that the third choice is unethical.  So, I'll ask you again, what should I, the teacher, do?  Not what the district should do, because you didn't attack the district you attacked the teachers.

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13 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Do you think that midyear in a pandemic, is the time to put people in a classroom who don't have group management skills, haven't developed the technological skills, don't know the curriculum, don't have experience with issues like kids with trauma, or kids with disabilities, etc . . . ?  

That might be a long term solution, but I don't see how that's a short term solution for this school year.  It's also not something to attack teachers for.  It's not my decision who would replace me.  My only decision is, if my LEA opens, is whether I go to work at school, exercise my rights under ADA to work from home, or quit.  One of those choices puts me and my family at risk.  One of them leaves my students without a teacher.  You seem to think that the third choice is unethical.  So, I'll ask you again, what should I, the teacher, do?  Not what the district should do, because you didn't attack the district you attacked the teachers.

I think with any job, if it doesn’t work, people need to walk out. Now you are right, if enough people walk out, then teachers might get more bargaining power. I would absolutely walk out if I were in a situation where I had to go to work and I believed my work was endangering my family. I do think our families come first. 

I do think that most teachers aren’t in that situation though and many districts have ran hybrid programs successfully. So in areas where infection rates are low and schools are closed, I think it’s reasonable to ask teachers to go back in the classroom. I probably wouldn’t do that in every zip code. 
 

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13 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

I think given the data we have so far on school transmission, it is reasonable to want to open. If we had data indicating otherwise, I would be all for sitting this out at home. San Francisco is suing it’s own school district now because schools are refusing to open. 
 

We all have moral obligation to do our jobs well no matter what it is. That’s my personal belief. 

We have a good deal of data showing school transmission. If anyone is interested in a deep dive into what we know about school transmission and why it’s being reported that schools aren’t a risk when they in fact very much are, this is the best collection of studies and explanation I’ve seen all together. Compiled by an epidemiologist:


As to the last point, I don’t believe most people have a moral obligation to do their job that comes before their moral obligation to their families. Doctors are probably an exception, but even then I don’t think that means every physician needs to work no matter how risky it is to them. Unfortunately, there’s not enough safety net for everyone to be able to afford to do what they need to to protect themself and their family. I do see teachers as being in a different kind of essential worker category, in that they are not essential for life to go on. Food and medical care are. I do agree with you that if teachers are going to be in the classroom, they should be able to get vaccines. Many places, they’re still not eligible, so I don’t see a basis to say that they need to go back based on the fact that they should be getting vaccines if they’re not in fact able to get them. 

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Portland public schools have a version of this, and have had since the school year started in September. They opened contracted licensed childcare in school buildings, where childcare workers monitor students doing class work taught by remote teachers. 

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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I think the question to ask is can a job of an elementary school teacher be done remotely? If your answer is yes, then yes, it seems unreasonable to want to send those teachers to the in person classroom. If the answer is no, then we should open elementary schools within reason. My county has less than 1,200 active Covid cases (over half a million population) of which the majority is concentrated it two zip codes. I think keeping schools closed in those zip codes is prudent, but why the rest of the county’s children (which is geographically huge) need to sit at home is not clear to me. Put the masks on, wash your hands, open the windows, set up outside spaces weather permitted....

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Just now, Roadrunner said:

I think the question to ask is can a job of an elementary school teacher be done remotely? If your answer is yes, then yes, it seems unreasonable to want to send those teachers to the in person classroom. If the answer is no, then we should open elementary schools within reason. My county has less than 1,200 active Covid cases (over half a million population) of which the majority is concentrated it two zip codes. I think keeping schools closed in those zip codes is prudent, but why the rest of the county’s children (which is geographically huge) need to sit at home is not clear to me. Put the masks on, wash your hands, open the windows, set up outside spaces weather permitted....

See, the elementary schools where I have taught either did not have windows or did not have windows that could open.  There were FAR more students per school than outdoor space.  There was no possible way to socially distance children within classrooms either, because there were too many children per square foot to do that.  

The last school I taught at was built in the open classroom model in the 70's, so there were seven classrooms within the same "room" with 3/4 walls dividing the classrooms.  But they all shared the same air system and were connected.  

How would you make that school covid safe?

It's open, by the way, but should at risk teachers be forced to go back and teach there?

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14 hours ago, katilac said:

 

 

But this article was specifically about teachers who are, indeed, high risk. They are exercising their legal right to accommodations under ADA. And I've certainly never thought of teachers as a group of workers that are treated with "adoration and care." 

So, the grocery clerk making $10-$12 has an obligation to continue working if they/their family are not high risk? I think it's absolutely fine for any typical worker to nope on out of a work situation that is high risk, low reward. If there aren't enough workers, the company will up the reward. Target already had a plan to raise pay to $15/hour but they did it 6 months early, plus paid out bonuses, due to the pandemic. A fair number of companies had to increase hourly pay to keep enough workers, and I think that's great. The increases were long overdue. Why should people making low pay bear the brunt of exposure? 

I don't think the comparison between medical professionals and other professions is an apt one. Doctors literally take an oath to not turn away contagious patients. Many nurses make a similar pledge. My Walmart cashier, however, does not have any kind of moral obligation to ring up by shopping. 

 

Total aside:  The Oath is a bit of a myth in modern practice.  Some doctors do take the Hippocratic Oath (usually a modernized version, the original is not entirely consistent with modern medical ethics), but plenty don't.  And the even oath doesn't require practitioners to endanger themselves in order to provide care.  Doctors (and nurses, and all other HCW) have the right to refuse unsafe work, just like anyone else.  And there are plenty in this pandemic who have - either quit, or chosen to shift their practice to virtual models.

Doctors are bound to codes of professional ethics, as determined by their regulatory bodies.  But this is no different than any other self-regulating profession.

Edited by wathe
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26 minutes ago, Terabith said:

See, the elementary schools where I have taught either did not have windows or did not have windows that could open.  There were FAR more students per school than outdoor space.  There was no possible way to socially distance children within classrooms either, because there were too many children per square foot to do that.  

The last school I taught at was built in the open classroom model in the 70's, so there were seven classrooms within the same "room" with 3/4 walls dividing the classrooms.  But they all shared the same air system and were connected.  

How would you make that school covid safe?

It's open, by the way, but should at risk teachers be forced to go back and teach there?

This is why we really need to deal with case by case basis and not blanket declarations.

We are so fortunate here in rural CA with super mild climate and acres and acres of land on school property. What can be done here might not be possible elsewhere. Also infection rates... I do not like the blanket approach our county took. 
 

But at the end of the day somebody is losing a job - a teacher or a parent because I hate to say it, in elementary school, babysitting is part of the job. 😞 

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