Saturday, October 17, 2020

K-12 re-openings: "there’s a lot we don’t know"/ At colleges and universities: "re-opening appears to be going much worse"


“…According to the Covid Monitor, there have been more than 52,000 cases in K-12 schools as of October 15. That’s significant, but a small portion of the 3 million coronavirus cases in the US since August. At the very least, K-12 schools don’t seem to be a primary driver of Covid-19 in the US right now...

“It’s still unclear how many K-12 schools, exactly, have fully reopened. Given the country’s sprawling network of school districts, each under varying levels of state and local control, we simply don’t have a good way to track what every school is doing at a national level.

“According to Education Week, four states have ordered schools to reopen. Seven, along with Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, have mandated partial or full closures. The remaining 39 states have by and large left it up to individual school districts or local governments to decide.

“Schools can try to fully restart in-person learning, go remote only, or follow a hybrid model. Among those allowing in-person teaching, some require masks for teachers and students. Some are putting students into cohorts or pods — meaning they have to stick to the same group of peers while in school. Some have spread out desks or limited capacity in classes, and have shifted schedules to reduce how many people are in the building at any moment. A few have taken more aggressive measures, like improving ventilation systems in schools, holding at least some classes outside, or instituted aggressive testing programs...

“One caveat: A lot of states and districts still aren’t reporting Covid-19 cases in K-12 schools. The Covid Monitor, as an independent group, collects public and media reports on top of the official data to try to fill in the gaps. But it’s certainly missing a lot of cases, meaning its number is a minimum estimate...

“So it’s the problem of community transmission, experts say, that must take priority over all other safety precautions within schools. As long as the US doesn’t get its whole coronavirus epidemic under control — whether due to incompetence from the Trump administration or other officials — schools are, just like other public settings, going to be at risk for Covid-19…


“…At colleges and universities, reopening appears to be going much worse, with multiple big outbreaks over the past few months. The problem so far doesn’t seem to be transmission within classrooms so much as transmission outside of them — in dorms, fraternities, sororities, bars, restaurants, and other indoor spaces used to congregate, party, eat, and drink...

“The outbreaks spawned almost immediately as colleges and universities reopened. In September, a USA Today analysis found college towns comprised 19 of the 25 biggest coronavirus outbreaks in the US. Outbreaks have forced some colleges and universities to change plans and permanently or temporarily move classes online across the country, from California to Michigan to North Carolina...

“Some colleges and universities are trying to prevent and counter these outbreaks with extremely aggressive testing regimes, testing each student on campus up to twice a week. The hope is that this will catch any new coronavirus cases before they lead to massive outbreaks — mirroring the kind of strategy employed in Germany, New Zealand, and South Korea to control their respective epidemics. But it’s too early to say how this will work in a higher education setting, especially in communities that have big Covid-19 epidemics outside their schools.

“How this all plays out could help decide whether America sees a much-feared coronavirus surge this fall and winter. Coupled with the holidays bringing people together and changing weather pushing some parts of the country indoors, experts worry that school re-openings could lead to a big spike in Covid-19 in the coming months. While the holidays and weather remain in play, mitigating the spread from schools could stop at least one point of concern…” (Vox). 

 

1 comment:

  1. https://www.wftv.com/news/eau-gallie-high-school-closed-temporarily-due-covid-19-cases/G5MGVL4LEBD5DJS7F5C7YFOQQM/?fbclid=IwAR3uePkU3Ek4O_Uc-G-dFi441A6ZiHr7IO5AGIl6N9XjJ7Pkxc8iih7TGKE
    One of my local high schools is being closed for a week, but students who were notified of having been in contact with Covid positive students are expected to self quarantine for TWO weeks. WTF

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