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Posts tagged as “coronavirus”

Opinion: Schools still face bumpy road in return to normalcy

Julie Sellers, Opinion contributor – Cincinnati Enquirer |

“The good news is that the availability of vaccinations should allow Cincinnati Public Schools to get back to some form of “normal” in 2021. But what that “normal” looks like, when it will arrive and whether we can (to borrow from President-elect Joe Biden) build back an even better educational environment for our students will depend on how we respond to the following challenges: when will school staff get vaccines? will we remain serious about reducing COVID-19 spread? will students and teachers be allowed to focus on instruction rather than high-stakes testing? and will the Ohio General Assembly finally address school funding inequity?”

Julie Sellers

What Does a More Contagious Virus Mean for Schools?

Apoorva Mandavilli, The New York Times |

Reports of the new variant first surfaced in early December, and some researchers initially suggested that unlike with previous versions of the virus, children might be just as susceptible to the new variant as adults.

Researchers at P.H.E. looked at how efficiently people of various ages transmitted the variant to others. They found that children under 10 were roughly half as likely as adults to spread the variant.

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Europe’s Schools Are Closing Again on Concerns They Spread Covid-19

Ruth Bender, The Wall Street Journal |

As U.S. authorities debate whether to keep schools open, a consensus is emerging in Europe that children are a considerable factor in the spread of Covid-19—and more countries are shutting schools for the first time since the spring.

Closures have been announced recently in the U.K., Germany, Ireland, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands on concerns about a more infectious variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. and rising case counts despite lockdowns.

While the debate continues, recent studies and outbreaks show that schoolchildren, even younger ones, can play a significant role in spreading infections.

“In the second wave we acquired much more evidence that schoolchildren are almost equally, if not more infected by SARS-CoV-2 than others,“ said Antoine Flahault, director of the University of Geneva’s Institute of Global Health.

Does reopening schools cause COVID-19 to spread? It’s complicated

Scott A Imberman, Michigan State University; Dan Goldhaber, University of Washington, and Katharine O. Strunk, The Conversation |

Jean McCarthy helps a first-grade student at South Boston Catholic Academy on Sept. 10, 2020.
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

We found that schools can reopen for in-person instruction without further spreading COVID-19 in nearby communities if the number of people with the disease is relatively low. But if there are more than 21 cases per 100,000 people, COVID-19 spread may increase.

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All KY educators who signed up for COVID-19 vaccines to receive first dose earlier than expected

WLKY |

Beshear said during his update Thursday that officials believe the state will have all of its K-12 personnel who agreed to receive the shots vaccinated by the end of the first week of February. That would be an earlier scenario than previously planned.

Those educators will receive the first dose that week and then the second a month later. That would put Kentucky in the position to have much of its school force vaccinated by the end of March if all goes as planned.

Under Kentucky’s vaccine rollout plan, phase 1B includes all K-12 school personnel who work in school buildings. Those who work off-site in other school administration buildings will receive vaccines at a later date.

The exact number of Kentucky educators who have signed up for vaccines is unknown, but in Jefferson County, more than 12,000 employees have signed up to get the shot. Jefferson County Public School officials said 1,900 declined it.

Calls to reopen classrooms grow as teachers get vaccinated

Lindsay Whitehurst, Terry Tang, and Allen G. Breed, AP News |

State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to the vaccine against the raging pandemic.

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While Awaiting a Vaccine and Debating Reopening, District Responses to Medical Accommodations for At-Risk Teachers Vary Wildly Across the Country

Zoe Kirsch, The 74 |

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1.5 million teachers — or almost one in four — have medical conditions that place them at increased risk of serious illness if they get COVID-19. Many are consequently hesitant about returning to buildings amid viral spread, afraid of falling seriously ill or bringing the illness home to their relatives.

While that fear is present throughout the country, how school districts have responded to medical accommodation requests has varied wildly: in New York City, which has more students than any district in the nation and one of its most powerful teachers unions, officials granted just over 34,000 of the 38,000 requests to work from home, for instance.

Meanwhile, in Houston, the nation’s seventh-largest district, a union attorney said officials have denied almost 100 percent of staffers’ requests.

Columbus to reopen schools to some students Feb. 1, but union wants COVID vaccines first

Alissa Widman Neese, Columbus Dispatch |

Before Columbus City Schools reopens buildings to some students Feb. 1, the union representing more than 4,000 teachers and other employees said Wednesday evening it wants the initial round of COVID-19 vaccinations available to all employees first. 

Superintendent Talisa Dixon announced hours earlier Wednesday that after 11 months of students learning online from home, Columbus City Schools officials will reopen buildings to some students starting next month.

The first group will include all students in preschool and grades K-3; select students in all grade levels with “complex needs,” such as disabilities; and high school students in career-technical education programs at Columbus Downtown High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center.

Students in grades 4-5, meanwhile, will transition into the “blended learning” mode on Feb. 8. 

Coronavirus vaccine distribution for school staff in Cuyahoga County could utilize ‘pods,’ but timeline in flux

Emily Bamforth, cleveland.com |

Cuyahoga County could roll out coronavirus vaccines to school teachers and staff in “pods,” similar to the system set up at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, where patients go through drive-thru bays to get the vaccine.

The system is efficient, Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan said, with about 1,000 vaccines distributed a day at the fairgrounds. Many school districts have offered spaces for vaccination to take place, but the board has to think of social distancing and masking precautions, as well as space, when picking where to conduct the vaccinations.

All Superintendents Plan To Sign March 1 Pledge To Get Vaccines For School Workers

Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau |

Superintendents from Ohio’s more than 600 districts will all sign the forms, said Kevin Miller with the Buckeye Association of School Administrators. He said they’re “very, very happy across the board” with Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to move school employees into the upcoming group, with the goal of getting kids back into schools as soon as possible.

And Miller said he doesn’t feel the March 1 condition is forcing anyone’s hand.

“I think this will work for the districts that feel that they’re very close to coming back in person or hybrid or already are,” Miller said. “And for those that feel like they’ve got maybe more ground work to do before they bring the kids back in, they’re just not going to fret over that March 1st deadline.”

Miller said there’s flexibility if the vaccine rollout isn’t going smoothly, and he said schools can still offer all-remote learning.

“What we’ve been told is, listen, there won’t be the in-person police out there to see if you’re starting March 1,” Miller said. “Some districts might need, you know, another couple of weeks before they can give their kids the opportunity to come back. And the message that we’ve gotten is that will be OK.”

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