Secretary of Education Interview on Opening

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mr.history, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Except for the small percentage of kids who can learn via virtual learning, we pretty much are shutting schools down. It is worthless to them. It is going through the motions.
     
  2. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    You would think.
     
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  3. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Comrade

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    Jul 12, 2020

     
  4. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Companion

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    Honestly, I don't know who is asking who to do what. There isn't much of a consistent policy as far as I can see.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    This is more than just about the students. We have teachers who have died from COVID-19 in Arizona even with being cautious and wearing masks. Yes, regular classrooms are better than virtual learning, but not if it means dead teachers. This article says 1 in 4 teachers are at risk. We must protect teachers as well as students.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/going-lose-lot-teachers-coronavirus-170007665.html
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    How do you suggest it be determined whose reasons are valid for not returning?
     
  7. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    It would be nice if everyone was connected and had some level of tech saviness. That would make the decision a lot easier for a lot of people imo.
     
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  8. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    So we tried to do distance learning in the Spring, and it was problematic. Some kids didn't connect, some needed more help, some were confused and frustrated. We implemented it with zero planning and we did a mediocre job. Does that mean "it doesn't work" or does that mean "we can and will do better"? For me, I choose the second option, and am already working on relationship building ideas, as well as planning activities and lessons that are more distance friendly. I am choosing to bring as much positivity to this semester as I can manage, and when we go back to in-person school, I hope to get "back to normal" as quickly as possible. But as a 60+ teacher, I really appreciate that my district is making me feel valued.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    From what I've heard from many is that it didn't work because of the parents. So, it doesn't seem to matter what you do.
     
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  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'm happy that teachers who need to teach virtually for whatever reason (a survey went out from the district office) will be able to do so. However, I'm also nervous about the number of subs we're going to need. Who will train them? Who will help them lesson plan? District responsibility? Site responsibility? So many questions from the admin point of view.

    Parents are expected to decided the week of July 20th whether they want full-time distance learning or the full-time school classroom experience.
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Here are today's figures, state by state. The first number is the number of confirmed cases, and the second number is the number of confirmed deaths.

    Alabama 53,587 1,121
    Alaska 1,479 17
    Arizona 122,467 2,237
    Arkansas 28,367 321
    California 324,543 7,051
    Colorado 36,895 1,725
    Connecticut 47,287 4,348
    Delaware 12,804 517
    Florida 269,811 4,242
    Georgia 116,935 3,003
    Hawaii 1,220 19
    Idaho 10,903 102
    Illinois 155,048 7,388
    Indiana 51,612 2,760
    Iowa 35,363 750
    Kansas 18,981 297
    Kentucky 19,389 625
    Louisiana 78,122 3,416
    Maine 3,539 114
    Maryland 73,109 3,319
    Massachusetts 111,597 8,325
    Michigan 76,776 6,314
    Minnesota 42,281 1,540
    Mississippi 36,287 1,249
    Missouri 27,880 1,092
    Montana 1,758 29
    Nebraska 21,172 285
    Nevada 27,683 593
    New Hampshire 6,024 391
    New Jersey 175,298 15,525
    New Mexico 15,028 545
    New York 401,706 32,350
    North Carolina 85,771 1,522
    North Dakota 4,334 87
    Ohio 65,592 3,058
    Oklahoma 20,235 422
    Oregon 12,170 234
    Pennsylvania 99,794 6,904
    Rhode Island 17,312 976
    South Carolina 56,648 961
    South Dakota 7,499 109
    Tennessee 61,960 741
    Texas 262,000 3,203
    Utah 29,484 215
    Vermont 1,296 56
    Virginia 70,670 1,966
    Washington 39,218 1,424
    West Virginia 4,244 96
    Wisconsin 36,448 820
    Wyoming 1,862 21
     
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  12. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    At least you got one. My district has not asked teachers anything......
     
  13. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    Then you answered your own question..........

    And it was an answer that you weren't trying to give.
     
  14. whizkid

    whizkid Groupie

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    You all will probably go on lockdown and perhaps open school buildings in October.
     
  15. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Some states, like mine(Louisiana) have come up with recent legislations to prohibit suing a school for getting Covid. So therein a parent, student, teacher or employee cannot sue. Tennessee has also introduced legislation. There may be other states as well that have banned suing a school, but I'm too lazy to check because it's late here. More states will be banning lawsuits towards schools though, as August comes nearer. Many states have already banned lawsuits towards restaurants and other businesses if a customer gets Covid, so it's only a matter of time before nearly all states have legislation protecting schools/colleges against Covid related lawsuits. Here's some links:
    https://www.katc.com/news/covering-...-shield-louisiana-schools-from-covid-lawsuits

    https://www.newsbreak.com/news/0PMc...-to-protect-businesses-from-covid-19-lawsuits
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    If I go with the poster's argument that covid didn't cause the death by the alcoholic who became worse due to the lock down we shouldn't be counting the death of those who are severely ill to begin with as one from the "cure". That means covid numbers should be greatly reduced. So, either both are counted or neither. But the other poster wants to count exacerbation only when the person is determined to have the virus.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Schools couldn't be sued during H1N1 and we had many of our schools close temporarily during that outbreak. They closed when infection rates hit a certain point and decontaminated. That was also considered a pandemic and its impact was those younger than 60 because many who were over 60 already had some immunity.

    So, as long as a school is making a real effort to follow the health guidelines set, I don't see how they can be sued and win. Anyone can file a suit. It is just getting it accepted and winning is a different issue.
     
  18. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    That's an interesting thought. And even if state legislatures carve out an exception from liability for public schools, will they be likely to carve out the same exceptions for private schools? Or maybe they just update their school enrollment contracts. I imagine that's the way they take care of non-vaxxers.
     
  19. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Comrade

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    Well, I have a colleague who is a middle school science teacher who has an immunocomprised son--she should be able to teach online, if she is uncomfortable. A teacher who has a medical issue that puts them more at risk, they should have the option. However,I think the problem will be verification, as well as what the balance will be. There is really no right way to do this.
     
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  20. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I don't have a perfect answer. I do think that no one knows better their own health than the person themselves. Not everyone wants to openly admit to their diabetes, obesity, or other pre-existing conditions. It would be nice if it could start a bit with teachers deciding whether they feel they have a health issue or not. Here is also the issue. People are different risk takers when it comes to their health. I can tell you people over 80 who are going to indoor restaurants not because they don't know the risks, but are okay with them. When it comes to health and risk it becomes very personal.

    What if "too many" people want to stay home? Some schools have lots of older staff while some look like your walking on a college campus. It is a challenge for those who are in the former category.
     
  21. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree. But I also believe that teachers have the right to privacy and should not have to disclose specifically what their medical issues are. Having to disclose that information not only violates privacy but it also opens up the situation to judgment from others, one way playing out in the form of administrators making judgments about which or whose issues are more significant than others.

    Personally, I'm dealing with an issue that doesn't at all put me at the top of the list of teachers with health issues, but it's also not a non-issue. I'd rather not disclose what my issue is to my principal or central office admin or the specifics of how and why returning in-person would be dangerous, as I truly don't believe that it's their business. I'm also worried that, if I do disclose the specific reasons behind it, they'd judge me for making the request, given that there are likely other teachers with more serious issues. But I'm very concerned about returning in-person, and I don't like the idea of being forced to go back when I don't feel safe doing so.

    Returning to the thought of judgments, what if my issue is being weighed against the teacher you referred to? Again, my issue is not nearly the worst possible health issue but it is a valid health issue. The teacher you referred to seems to be healthy on her own (if she's not, let's assume she is for the purposes of this comment). It's her son who is unhealthy or immunocompromised. Who takes priority if only one of us can teach from home? Me, the teacher with a health issue, who is at risk by directly being in the classroom? Or her, the teacher is healthy herself but has a family member at home who is at risk? Ideally, we'd both get to teach from home, but they need one of us to teach in person. Now the admins are going to make their own judgments, and one of us is going to be forced into a situation that makes us uncomfortable or fearful. Think of the mental health effects of that.

    Unless all teachers who want to teach from home have the option of teaching from home, I don't agree with reopening schools until the situation is much safer, whether that's due to a vaccine or simply effective social distancing. "Learning to live with it" doesn't have to mean forcing teachers to return to classrooms before they are comfortable and, instead, could possibly mean improving capacity for providing remote instruction and supports.
     
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  22. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree. If teachers readily accept the risk that comes with returning in person, that's their choice. But I disagree with forcing teachers back when they are not comfortable with the situation. You're right; it's a very personal decision. And not all teachers who are concerned about returning are older.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    No one ever has to say what their medical problem is when they need special dispensation, but they do have to have a medical provider sign off that they are not to do certain things. The condition does not have to be listed, just that there is one.
     
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  24. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I know that’s usually the case, under typical, non-pandemic circumstances. Without going into too much personal detail, I’ll just say that that solution probably isn’t an option in this particular case. It’s possible but not likely.
     
  25. DamienJasper

    DamienJasper Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2020

    I find it endlessly frustrating that NOW educators are asking questions about how to effectively teach online, and JUST NOW asking for time to prepare. Calling Rip Van Winkle; WTF has everyone been doing all spring and summer? Had all of Spring to learn what doesn't work and summer to prepare.

    Or is it true what the far right says? Teachers have just been sitting on our asses while collecting a full time check? I saw it happen in the spring and I'll bet my bottom dollar it's been happening in the summer.

    I'm disappointed in a lot of levels of government and society right now. But that includes members of this profession.
     
  26. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'm struggling to respond to this professionally and respectfully, but I'm going to try.

    In the spring, we were thrown into emergency remote learning with no time to prepare. We were at school, and then we weren't. We had no access to materials we had in our classrooms. Some of us didn't have appropriate technology at home. We were juggling constantly changing expectations, students with varying degrees of engagement, adjusting to a new way of living, fears for the health of ourselves and our families, and the 180 degree shift to working from home. Our work day looked different, but we still needed to do our best to teach our students while recognizing that their worlds had been turned upside down overnight. Did we do it perfectly? Absolutely not. Did we do our best? I believe that almost all of us did. Did some teachers take advantage and do next to nothing? Maybe. So did some students.

    When we finished at the end of June, our principal's advice to us was to not spend any time in July thinking about school. While that's not possible, we need to spend some time taking care of our own well-being so that we can face whatever the new school year brings. Spending all of my time this summer prepping for what might happen in the fall is not going to make me more effective. I'm bookmarking things that I find interesting, but that's it.

    Come August, I'll ease back into it. I'll learn some new things, think about ways to build community with students if we end up being only online, find resources and develop activities that will work regardless of what the new school year looks like (at this point, we have no idea). I'll think about how I can organize my room to allow for physical distancing. I'll decide what I can do in my classroom to maximize safety while allowing the kids to learn the way they do best--by being able to collaborate. I'll plan activities and lessons that can be done either 100% online or 100% offline. I'll think about what worked for my students in the spring and what didn't and go from there. I'll look back at the feedback I got from students and decide what I need to change.

    This upcoming school year will be like no other. Every decision that is made is going to be put under the microscope and, I fear, teachers are going to take a lot of heat if (when?) things don't work. We need to support each other, not tear each other down; we get enough of that from the government and members of the public.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  27. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'll add to what MrsC said by saying that I think, in the spring, many educators thought that this would pass before the coming school year started. Remember when many thought that it would pass before the end of the past year? It was difficult to fathom that this was more than a short-term crisis. There was no reason to think that it was necessary to adapt to a long term strategy of online teaching. It's now become more apparent that we may need to learn more about it and prepare for doing it for a longer term than originally thought.

    In addition, for most of us, we are at the whims of our administrators. For me anyway, there has been no reason to begin planning for how to teach online next year because my administrators have not yet released any guidance as to what their expectations will be or even if online teaching is certain to be an option. Once they release their official plan with guidelines and expectations, I will better know how to prepare and begin doing so. It would be fruitless for me to have spent the past month guessing at what I might need to be prepared for in late August. My time has been much better spent doing some professional reading on other educational topics and focusing on my own personal projects and relaxing while I have this down time. In my opinion, the only people who should be spending their summer making preparations for the coming year are those administrators who are on 12-month contracts, getting paid to do so.

    Finally, I believe the reason we are hearing the outcry from teachers this last week, in particular, is because it's been the top news story in many places. Teachers didn't put it in the headlines. National, state, and local government leaders did. Teachers are just responding to what is being demanded of them. If this hadn't been a news story, you probably wouldn't be hearing teachers requesting this training and preparation of which you speak, because, as I mentioned in my previous paragraph, several of us are still waiting for guidance before we can even know what to request.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  28. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Damien,

    It is still the first half of July, and for many teachers, school doesn't start for nearly 2 months. Right now teachers aren't getting paid a penny..our contracts ended over a month ago. Sure some teachers might delay their paychecks to space it out over 12 months, but that is only a financial decision. Meanwhile, even though teachers aren't getting paid a penny, and school is over a month away for most of us, teachers are reaching out on this forum to learn from each other, find out best practices etc. How awesome and caring is that! The teachers I am in contact with in public and private schools are busier than any summer I can remember in preparing...all of this for not getting one penny for it. I don't know many professions where people give up so much of their personal time in order to grow in their profession. I am proud to be a teacher, and find your response of myself and of teachers insulting and misleading.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    The death rate is now low to me and if we open schools, children and teachers will die. That’s not a sacrifice I can make. We cannot open schools when cases are rising and our government is doing nothing to contain the pandemic.

    Even if only 1% of people die from COVID, it takes many people very long to recover. There are also many people who have recovered but have lung damage, kidney damage and organ damage. We have no idea what the long term effects of contracting COVID-19 are for children and adults.

    My suggestion is that the government pay parents to stay home with their children if they need. We need another lock down and need to continue remote learning and people need to social distance and wear masks. When cases are down...then we can talk about opening schools.
     
  30. Tired Teacher

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    This is totally true where I worked. At least 2 have diabetes, 2 have asthma, 1 is dealing w/ cancer, another has respiratory issues often, another is dealing w/ such pain, he's been undergoing surgery. Another has a child who is battling an immune illness.
    Most of the staff is older too. The district is doing nothing to protect teachers. They have not bought those fancy looking masks and do not even suggest them. No sneeze guards... It is like they really don't care. I am so thankful I was able to retire this year.
     
  31. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Here in NJ, school has just been out, legally, for the last three weeks, and school will not restart until sometime in September. Yet teachers have been in contact with others in the profession to understand what did or did not work, looking for better ways to engage our students as the threat of the pandemic goes from possible to probable. I, too, am proud of those in our profession who are NOT waiting until the last possible moment to look into ways that we can plan for changes to our normal way of doing things, with the goal of keeping students and teachers healthy safe. And this isn't confined to NJ - my son, who teaches in VA, has just received some kind of guidance about what school will look like in schools there come fall, with talk about remote learning arriving in an email today. Dates are not set in stone, but concern for the well being of both students and school staff was clearly important as laid out in the emails he received in the last couple of days.

    My son had no real understanding of how many people were already affected, how many different ways a person could be affected, or what a real time line for effective vaccines could look like. I can see that his understanding for all of these things has grown since he has been here with us. I am pleased to see him in contact with colleagues about contingency plans, realizing that we are working with moving timelines and a virus that is not through with us, even if we would like to believe that we are through with it. There are so many variables that it almost makes your head spin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  32. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Jul 17, 2020

    Please don’t think I’m down playing anyone’s concerns, but for those who fear for their health if they go back to work...when would you feel comfortable? Unless there is a 0% death rate, there will always be tragedies of people dying from this virus. Even if the fatality rate is cut in half, there is still going to be people out there who have this and could infect others. MY biggest fear is this won’t end even if we do get a vaccine because it wont’t eradicate this virus. It will still be out there. I’m afraid teachers will still be afraid and we’ll be dealing with all of this until there are NO deaths, which is highly unlikely. No matter what, someone can die from this even with a vaccine. I agree this virus is devastating. But, I remember back in April, when someone said schools closures could go into the 2020-2021 school year and I thought, “There’s no way that could happen.” But, here we are. I’m so fearful that this will drag on and on because there will ALWAYS be someone who isn’t comfortable.

    When will you be ok?
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  33. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    For me, a good measure would be zero new cases in the county for fourteen days.

    I believe this is what some other countries have done and it’s what teacher unions in some states are calling for.

    Right now, it seems like some way out there ideal, but it’s not. However, it requires everyone to stay at home, not just the people who feel like it, and not just schools. If we actually quarantined, we’d be in a much better situation. It only works if done by everyone though.
     
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  34. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2020

    I'm fine now. My state is allowing summer school so I'm working. We wear masks and have cleaning protocols. I really have no problem working.
     
  35. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Did NJ allow summer school like NY did?
     
  36. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jul 17, 2020

    The county I work in is tracking 6 measures. They include new infections, tests administered, PPE availability, contact tracing, new hospitalizations and ICU bed occupancy rate. Levels have been established from 1 to 4, going from best to worst. We are currently at Level 4 for two of the measures, new cases and new hospitalizations. We are at Level 1 for two as well, tests and ICU beds. I don't know if all six measures need to be at Level 1 before the County Health department allows us to reopen, but I feel as though public health has been the top priority locally, and when they open us back up, I will return.
     
  37. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I don't expect no deaths or new cases at all. I would feel comfortable and safe when we are at the point of no longer needing task forces nationally, regionally, and locally, when daily press conferences from the white house, governor, and mayor are no longer necessary, when a vaccine is available to those who want to get it, when more research on lasting effects and treatments are available. I will feel safe when the number of new cases daily in my region is very low, but I don't necessarily expect it to be at zero. Of course, just like any virus, people might still contract it and die, but I won't feel safe until we are in a position to know that the chances of catching it are low, the chances of surviving it are high, and the chances of a full recovery are also high. We aren't there yet.
     
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  38. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2020

    A district by district, so not so much a unified state decree.

    To answer the question of when would most teachers feel better about returning to the classroom, I think that the simplest answer is when there is a vaccine. Even though there will always be people who can give a multitude of reasons why they would refuse vaccination, I think that compliance will be very high - people are tired of being afraid, tired of missing life as it used to be. Whether they will continue to be vaccinated as the years pass, well, I suspect that as the memory of what this has been like fades, compliance will slowly drop, to become more like compliance of flu vaccinations. However, for teachers who have underlying health conditions, the vaccine will be one way of feeling better about being in the classroom. I think that most teachers would like to be able to return to teaching without masks and would prefer vaccinations to achieve that goal. We will never be able to convince everyone to utilize vaccination, but it is the best plan at this date. No one wants to suddenly become an online teacher when they prefer to teach in the regular classroom, so decisions will need to be made that work for each individual. I think that resistance to masks will rise as case numbers slow in their rise. As a true believer in the science, I would advocate vaccination, and do keep all of my own vaccinations up to date. I guess I become one of those vaccinated that helps the herd stay healthy.
     
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  39. minnie

    minnie Habitué

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    Jul 17, 2020

    Bella84, but the chances of surviving it ARE high. There is a 1.3 % chance of succumbing to the virus. I tried to find sources that show the recovery rate of the virus. I couldn’t. If someone could find a reliable source that shows the full recovery numbers, that would be great. The news never shows it. They only show infections and deaths. I think they should show the number of people who recover as well as everything else. Everyone around me is losing their minds because the news never shows anything good. It makes me feel like this is the zombie apocalypse
    If the mortality percentage is so low, than people recover. Yes, I know some have complications from it and I do understand everyone’s legitimate concerns. But I really am afraid we’ll do online learning all year (I teach kindergarten at a small rural school) and the news will just feed and feed and feed on our fears. I agree they have to inform us, but they also need to show some good, like how many people recover from this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  40. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Jul 17, 2020

    Some people think the vaccine is too far off in the future but there might be medications that will mitigate the effects of the virus. I'm glad i'm not a scientist who people will depend on for this type of stuff! That's a lot of pressure to be under.
     

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