Discussion in 'General Education' started by RainStorm, Jul 8, 2020.
Jul 10, 2020
Boy, boy, boy, and when the kids come out of the house..........
So who will be your school's contact tracers? I'm sure top state and school officials will address this..........right?
Jul 11, 2020
My district had a grandiose plan for reopening. It has quickly morphed into what you are describing. Where’s the eye roll emoji when I need it?
I wanted to share this powerful message, that really, for me, sums-up all the thoughts, concerns, and information that we are all grappling with right now.
From Joe Morice, daughters in 8th & 10th grade in our Centreville Pyramid:
"To our fellow FCPS families, this is it gang, 5 days until the 2 days in school vs. 100% virtual decision. Let’s talk it out, in my traditional mammoth TL/DR form.
Like all of you, I’ve seen my feed become a flood of anxiety and faux expertise. You’ll get no presumption of expertise here. This is how I am looking at and considering this issue and the positions people have taken in my feed and in the hundred or so FCPS discussion groups that have popped up. The lead comments in quotes are taken directly from my feed and those boards. Sometimes I try to rationalize them. Sometimes I’m just punching back at the void.
Full disclosure, we initially chose the 2 days option and are now having serious reservations. As I consider the positions and arguments I see in my feed, these are where my mind goes. Of note, when I started working on this piece at 12:19 PM today the COVID death tally in the United States stood at 133,420.
“My kids want to go back to school.”
I challenge that position. I believe what the kids desire is more abstract. I believe what they want is a return to normalcy. They want their idea of yesterday. And yesterday isn’t on the menu.
“I want my child in school so they can socialize.”
This was the principle reason for our 2 days decision. As I think more on it though, what do we think ‘social’ will look like? There aren’t going to be any lunch table groups, any lockers, any recess games, any study halls, any sitting next to friends, any talking to people in the hallway, any dances. All of that is off the menu. So, when we say that we want the kids to benefit from the social experience, what are we deluding ourselves into thinking in-building socialization will actually look like in the Fall?
“My kid is going to be left behind.”
Left behind who? The entire country is grappling with the same issue, leaving all children in the same quagmire. Who exactly would they be behind? I believe the rhetorical answer to that is “They’ll be behind where they should be,” to which I’ll counter that “where they should be” is a fictional goal post that we as a society have taken as gospel because it maps to standardized tests which are used to grade schools and counties as they chase funding.
“Classrooms are safe.”
At the current distancing guidelines from FCPS middle and high schools would have no more than 12 people (teachers + students) in a classroom (I acknowledge this number may change as FCPS considers the Commonwealth’s 3 ft with a mask vs. 6 ft position, noting that FCPS is all mask regardless of the distance). For the purpose of this discussion we’ll say classes run 45 minutes.
I posed the following question to 40 people today, representing professional and management roles in corporations, government agencies, and military commands: “Would your company or command have a 12 person, 45 minute meeting in a conference room?”
100% of them said no, they would not. These are some of their answers:
“No. Until further notice we are on Zoom.”
“(Our company) doesn’t allow us in (company space).”
“Oh hell no.”
“No absolutely not.”
“Is there a percentage lower than zero?”
“Something of that size would be virtual.”
We do not even consider putting our office employees into the same situation we are contemplating putting our children into. And let’s drive this point home: there are instances here when commanding officers will not put soldiers, ACTUAL SOLDIERS, into the kind of indoor environment we’re contemplating for our children. For me this is as close to a ‘kill shot’ argument as there is in this entire debate. How do we work from home because buildings with recycled air are not safe, because we don’t trust other people to not spread the virus, and then with the same breath send our children into buildings?
“Children only die .0016 of the time.”
First, conceding we’re an increasingly morally bankrupt society, but when did we start talking about children’s lives, or anyone’s lives, like this? This how the villain in movies talks about mortality, usually 10-15 minutes before the good guy kills him.
If you’re in this camp, and I acknowledge that many, many people are, I’m asking you to consider that number from a slightly different angle.
FCPS has 189,000 children. .0016 of that is 302. 302 dead children are the Calvary Hill you’re erecting your argument on. So, let’s agree to do this: stop presenting this as a data point. If this is your argument, I challenge you to have courage equal to your conviction. Go ahead, plant a flag on the internet and say, “Only 302 children will die.” No one will. That’s the kind action on social media that gets you fired from your job. And I trust our social media enclave isn’t so careless and irresponsible with life that it would even, for even a millisecond, enter any of your minds to make such an argument.
Considered another way: You’re presented with a bag with 189,000 $1 bills. You’re told that in the bag are 302 random bills, they look and feel just like all the others, but each one of those bills will kill you. Do you take the money out of the bag?
Same argument, applied to the 12,487 teachers in FCPS (per Wikipedia), using the ‘children’s multiplier’ of .0016 (all of us understanding the adult mortality rate is higher). That’s 20 teachers. That’s the number you’re talking about. It’s very easy to sit behind a keyboard and diminish and dismiss the risk you’re advocating other people assume. Take a breath and think about that.
If you want to advocate for 2 days a week, look, I’m looking for someone to convince me. But please, for the love of God, drop things like this from your argument. Because the people I know who’ve said things like this, I know they’re better people than this. They’re good people under incredible stress who let things slip out as their frustration boils over. So, please do the right thing and move on from this, because one potential outcome is that one day, you’re going to have to stand in front of St. Peter and answer for this, and that’s not going to be conversation you enjoy.
“Hardly any kids get COVID.”
(Deep sigh) Yes, that is statistically true as of this writing. But it is a cherry-picked argument because you’re leaving out an important piece.
One can reasonably argue that, due to the school closures in March, children have had the least EXPOSURE to COVID. In other words, closing schools was the one pandemic mitigation action we took that worked. There can be no discussion of the rate of diagnosis within children without also acknowledging they were among our fastest and most quarantined people. Put another way, you cannot cite the effect without acknowledging the cause.
“The flu kills more people every year.”
(Deep sigh). First of all, no, it doesn’t. Per the CDC, United States flu deaths average 20,000 annually. COVID, when I start writing here today, has killed 133,420 in six months.
And when you mention the flu, do you mean the disease that, if you’re suspected of having it, everyone, literally everyone in the country tells you stay the f- away from other people? You mean the one where parents are pretty sure their kids have it but send them to school anyway because they have a meeting that day, the one that every year causes massive f-ing outbreaks in schools because schools are petri dishes and it causes kids to miss weeks of school and leaves them out of sports and band for a month? That one? Because you’re right - the flu kills people every year. It does, but you’re ignoring the why. It’s because there are people who are a--holes who don’t care about infecting other people. In that regard it’s a perfect comparison to COVID.
“Almost everyone recovers.”
You’re confusing “release from the hospital” and “no longer infected” with “recovered.” I’m fortunate to only know two people who have had COVID. One my age and one my dad’s age. The one my age described it as “absolute hell” and although no longer infected cannot breathe right. The one my dad’s age was in the hospital for 13 weeks, had to have a trach ring put in because she could no longer be on a ventilator, and upon finally getting home and being faced with incalculable time in rehab told my mother, “I wish I had died.”
While I’m making every effort to reach objectivity, on this particular point, you don’t know what the f- you’re talking about.
“If people get sick, they get sick.”
First, you mistyped. What you intended to say was “If OTHER people get sick, they get sick.” And shame on you.
“I’m not going to live my life in fear.”
You already live your life in fear. For your health, your family’s health, your job, your retirement, terrorists, extremists, one political party or the other being in power, the new neighbors, an unexpected home repair, the next sunrise. What you meant to say was, “I’m not prepared to add ANOTHER fear,” and I’ve got news for you: that ship has sailed. It’s too late. There are two kinds of people, and only two: those that admit they’re afraid, and those that are lying to themselves about it.
As to the fear argument, fear is the reason you wait up when your kids stay out late, it’s the reason you tell your kids not to dive in the shallow water, to look both ways before crossing the road. Fear is the respect for the wide world that we teach our children. Except in this instance, for reasons no one has been able to explain to me yet.
“FCPS leadership sucks.”
I will summarize my view of the School Board thusly: if the 12 of you aren’t getting into a room together because it represents a risk, don’t tell me it’s OK for our kids. I understand your arguments, that we need the 2 days option for parents who can’t work from home, kids who don’t have internet or computer access, kids who needs meals from the school system, kids who need extra support to learn, and most tragically for kids who are at greater risk of abuse by being home. All very serious, all very real issues, all heartbreaking. No argument.
But you must first lead by example. Because you’re failing when it comes to optics. All your meetings are online. What our children see is all of you on a Zoom telling them it’s OK for them to be exactly where you aren’t. I understand you’re not PR people, but you really should think about hiring some.
“I talked it over with my kids.”
Let’s put aside for a moment the concept of adults effectively deferring this decision to children, the same children who will continue to stuff things into a full trash can rather than change it out. Yes, those hygienic children.
Listen, my 15 year old daughter wants a sport car, which she’s not getting next year because it would be dangerous to her and to others. Those kinds of decisions are our job. We step in and decide as parents, we don’t let them expose themselves to risks because their still developing and screen addicted brains narrow their understanding of cause and effect.
We as parents and adults serve to make difficult decisions. Sometimes those are in the form of lessons, where we try to steer kids towards the right answer and are willing to let them make a mistake in the hopes of teaching better decision making the next time around. This is not one of those moments. The stakes are too high for that. This is a “the adults are talking” moment. Kids are not mature enough for this moment. That is not an attack on your child. It is a broad statement about all children. It is true of your children and it was true when we were children. We need to be doing that thinking here, and “Johnny wants to see Bobby at school” cannot be the prevailing element in the equation.
“The teachers need to do their job.”
How is it that the same society which abruptly shifted to virtual students only three months ago, and offered glowing endorsements of teachers stating, “we finally understand how difficult your job is,” has now shifted to “screw you, do your job.” There are myriad problems with that position but for the purposes of this piece let’s simply go with, “You’re not looking for a teacher, you’re looking for the babysitter you feel your property tax payment entitles you to.”
“Teachers have a greater chance to being killed by a car than they do of dying from COVID.”
(Eye roll) Per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the U.S. see approximately 36,000 auto fatalities a year. Again, there have been 133,420 COVID deaths in the United States through 12:09 July 10, 2020. So no, they do not have a great chance of being killed in a car accident.
And, if you want to take the actual environment into consideration, the odds of a teacher being killed in a car accident in their classroom, you know, the environment we’re actually talking about, that’s right around 0%.
“If the grocery store workers can be onsite what are the teachers afraid of?”
(Deep breath) A grocery store worker, who absolutely risks exposure, has either six feet of space or a plexiglass shield between them and individual adult customers who can grasp their own mortality whose transactions can be completed in moments, in a 40,000 SF space.
A teacher is with 11 ‘customers’ who have not an inkling what mortality is, for 45 minutes, in a 675 SF space, six times a day.
“Teachers are choosing remote because they don’t want to work.”
(Deep breaths) Many teachers are opting to be remote. That is not a vacation. They’re requesting to do their job at a safer site. Just like many, many people who work in buildings with recycled air have done. And likely the building you’re not going into has a newer and better serviced air system than our schools.
Of greater interest to me is the number of teachers choosing the 100% virtual option for their children. The people who spend the most time in the buildings are the same ones electing not to send their children into those buildings. That’s something I pay attention to.
“I wasn’t prepared to be a parent 24/7” and “I just need a break.”
I truly, deeply respect that honesty. Truth be told, both arguments have crossed my mind. Pre COVID, I routinely worked from home 1 – 2 days a week. The solace was nice. When I was in the office, I had an actual office, a room with a door I could close, where I could focus. During the quarantine that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve been frustrated, I’ve been short, I’ve gone to just take a drive and get the hell away for a moment and been disgusted when one of the kids sees me and asks me to come for a ride, robbing me of those minutes of silence. You want to hear silence. I get it. I really, really do.
Here’s another version of that, admittedly extreme. What if one of our kids becomes one of the 302? What’s that silence going to sound like? What if you have one of those matted frames where you add the kid’s school picture every year? What if you don’t get to finish the pictures?
“What does your gut tell you to do?”
Shawn and I have talked ad infinitum about all of these and other points. Two days ago, at mid-discussion I said, “Stop, right now, gut answer, what is it,” and we both said, “virtual.”
A lot of the arguments I hear people making for the 2 days sound like we’re trying to talk ourselves into ignoring our instincts, they are almost exclusively, “We’re doing 2 days, but…”. There’s a fantastic book by Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear, which I’ll minimize for you thusly: your gut instinct is a hardwired part of your brain and you should listen to it. In the introduction he talks about elevators, and how, of all living things, humans are the only ones that would voluntarily get into a soundproof steel box with a potential predator just so they could skip a flight of stairs.
I keep thinking that the 2 days option is the soundproof steel box. I welcome, damn, beg, anyone to convince me otherwise.
At the time I started writing at 12:09 PM, 133,420 Americans had died from COVID. Upon completing this draft at 7:04 PM, that number rose to 133,940.
520 Americans died of COVID while I was working on this. In seven hours.
The length of a school day."
Who substitute drives if the bus driver has to quarantine?
This was a very well written piece. What really sticks out to me for those who argue that 0.0016 is a low number, they are wrongly assuming that their own kids or their family members wont be one of those 0.0016. 302 kids, any kid, their lives aren’t something to gamble with. They are counting on the adults to make the right choices for them on their behalf.
Okay, until I read this meme, this never even crossed my mind!
But don't worry! The stress of months of covid isolation, increased abuse or neglect at home, lack of oversight in dangerous situations for teens,...nah, nothing to worry about... I'm sure school shooters will take a break because of covid. No need for these drills right now. Let's all sing kum-by-yah and not worry about such things.
Yes, being in the thick of the virus mess here in Arizona, I am seeing some things are not as they seemed. The largest misconception is that COVID-19 is very serious for those 65+, but for the rest of us, it isn't bad at all. Currently our hospital beds are near capacity and who are in them right now fighting for their lives? 58% are under the age of 65. Schools need to see this is a major health risk for lots of their teachers and staff.
I agree. Only time will tell! Where I live, they're allowing parents to register for either virtual or in-person classes. For the in-person classes, they may use staggered schedules, temperature checks, and keep the students in the same groups. I don't see any of this working. They're even saying that they may allow 5-day week in-person classes, without staggered schedules, if enough students do not return to class because they'll be able to "social distance the students more easily, because they'll be fewer students in class". But, I think they'll end up just re-closing the schools once the cases spike and moving to remote instruction for all students. Sad, really.
Some in this country say "full steam ahead".
The school I'll be at is planning super-small classes (rotating with TAs or something).
My daughter's school district has some decent precautions
Online school is an option.
And my money is on the schools shutting down anyway.
I honestly don’t see how they couldn’t unless things take a big turn, short of extreme negligence from the powers that be. My state’s numbers are way higher now than they were during the spring lockdown. Many other states are similar.
No one even knows when our report day is........
Jul 12, 2020
Does your district not have an annual calendar? Our report date is always known about 1.5 years in advance. Obviously things could change under the circumstances, but I don’t understand how a district can give you a contract without a scheduled report date.
Yes, and the meme was hilarous with the that beer guy replying "when I do go to Home Depot it is just not usually for 7 hours and 5 days a week....
Yes!!! Plus, going to Home Depot is a choice.
We haven't been given one yet and everyone is not even contracted yet.......
That’s so interesting. Not only do we have a calendar with a start date published more than a year in advance, but we also have the date indicated in our contracts, specified in bold print. I can’t imagine signing a contract and not knowing what date I’m expected to begin work.
Under normal circumstances, when and how do you usually find out the start date?
We normally get all of that maaaaybe by May of the year before. And then they invariably change something on the calendar over the summer too. It’s really irritating.
I just finished reading this news article.
85 kids, counselors infected with coronavirus in YMCA camp outbreak, GA officials say
"A pair of YMCA camps in Georgia closed down in late June after a counselor tested positive for the coronavirus, but in the days since they were shut, the number of confirmed infections has climbed into the dozens, media outlets report.
YMCA called the summer season off early for High Harbour Camp locations at Lake Burton and Lake Allatoona, but at least 30 or more camp attendees have, or have had, the virus, outlets have reported.
But as of Friday, officials said the true number is much higher -- at least 85 kids and counselors have tested positive -- all stemming from their time at Lake Burton, Georgia Department of Public Health officials told McClatchy News.
Campers are all between 7-14 years old and staff between 16-22, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s about 18% of the 362 camper and 118 staff members, the publication said.
The YMCA says this situation happened despite careful planning and adherence to safety guidelines laid out by leading health experts and mandated by the state, 11Alive reported.
“A great deal of thought and planning went into the decision to hold Camp High Harbour,” Lauren Koontz, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, told the station. “ In preparing for camp, we collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and the American Camp Association and followed the safety guidelines and protocols of the Executive Order from the State of Georgia.”
The summer is still young, but Georgia is far from the only state to see significant camp outbreaks.
Missouri health officials announced Monday that at least 82 campers, counselors and staff have been infected at the Kanakuk K-2 Camp -- a Christian camp serving ages 13-18 -- located near Branson, The Kansas City Star reported.
The camp talked about its new COVID-conscious health and safety procedures on its website, which the organization claims were reviewed by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, and that he was impressed with the plans, believing them sufficient, according to The Kansas City Star."
Tell me again how the coronavirus isn't really affecting kids?
I'm sorry, but wt*******@$$$%@ is a covid waiver? Are you serious?
Jul 13, 2020
I have so much anxiety about going back. My district's plan is supposed to come out any day now. They have said it would be a hybrid. But still, as a teacher, I will be exposed to all my students, just not all of them every day. Cases in my county are going up since we moved to phase 4. People have honestly just started acting like there isn't even a pandemic anymore. We have poor ventilation in our school, our rooms are so small and it's going to pretty much impossible to physically distance unless we get only like 5 kids per class period.
I don't understand why we said it was too dangerous to go to school in March but now when our cases are skyrocketing, it's suddenly safe?
Exactly! We went home in March and now in the county I live in it is probably 10 times less safe and they say return to school? I want to eventually teach and have the students back at school, but for everyone's sake (teachers, staff, and students) what happened to safety first?
Jul 14, 2020
In March they sent people home to flatten the curve long enough for hospitals and testing centers to ramp up to handle the cases that will come. It was never the intention to save everyone and keep everyone virus free. But then people decided everyone must be saved.
Our society over and over says this about many things, "If it just saves one life..." It doesn't matter who or how many get hurt or die or how they are hurt along the way in trying to save that one life.
There are still risks with going back to in-person classes now. I agree with you. But I don't think it's appropriate to compare going back to in-person classes in August with schools in March. Most schools shutdown in March because they didn't have CDC, WHO guidelines in place to protect students, employees, and stakeholders. We have more guidelines now, in addition to offering remote-learning options. I'm not saying these strategies will work 100% because they won't. But it's not like where we were in March.
But more people in our communities are infected now and there is community spread, which there was not in March. At least not in my community. We shut down before we even had any positive cases. Now we have 50+ new cases per day. Not every school is implementing things like masks. So I agree we aren't where we are in March - we are worse off.
Just heard that we might be late in the fall even having adequate cleaning supplies. Wow......
If schools cannot safely reopen, then they shouldn’t. Period.
Ah. You do bring up great points! I agree the schools should remain closed this year until a vaccine(s) are available. There are many strategies in place to lessen the spread of the virus in schools, but those won't be enough. I actually was leaning towards a yes to reopen the schools, given the CDC guidelines for reopening, but your points have led me to reconsider.
We just recently got hand washing products in our restrooms. Yes, it took a pandemic to get that.
It kind of seemed that could be the case at the end of May, but not now.
I agree that back even in early June, I was thinking we could probably safely reopen schools in a hybrid model, with masks, distancing, etc. Then a bunch of states reopened stuff, people are acting like the pandemic is over, and our cases are skyrocketing. My community's case numbers had been single digits every day for awhile actually until about mid-June. Now like I said it's about 50 or more per day every day. And it isn't increased testing. We have been lucky to have no appointment needed testing for two months now. You don't even need symptoms. And testing is free. You just walk or drive up and get tested. They actually shut down some testing sites because they ended up not needing them. So testing hasn't increased but our cases are rapidly climbing. I am so worried about this :/ I really hope our governor decides to mandate remote learning for all to begin the fall semester. Let's get our cases under control again.
Yes, we will just have to see how these strategies will hold up. The schools here are requiring temperature checks, staggered schedules, social distancing, keeping the same students together throughout the day, and facemasks in the grades 3 -12 classes. These are in addition to offering remote learning options. I know there will be Covid cases in the schools, but it just waits to be seen actually how many.
I also fail to see how the schools can actually keep the same students together throughout the day because in the middle/high school classes the students will have differing classes such as AP, IB, electives, etc.
I sure wish someone would answer this!
Jul 15, 2020
Okay, our local school district has made their decision. Our classes were scheduled to start on August 10th for students, but that has been pushed back a week to August 17th. Teachers still have to report on August 3rd.
They state they will not be social-distancing on school buses. I find that a bit concerning. About 30% of our county students also ride a bus to and from daycare, and many schools have as many as 15 different daycares sending buses each day.
Here is what they are doing in its final form.
We currently have 5,418 cases in this county, and 140 deaths. The county on one side of is at 20,508 cases with 189 deaths, and on the other side is 11,754 cases with 262 deaths.
In Florida over all, we have 291,629 cases and 4,409 deaths.
This is not a draft, this is the final product.
But the decision has been made -- 5 days per week, in-person classes, cloth mask required and provided, medical mask exemption available. If you don't chose in-person with your local school, then you will get a special eLearning program online that is not specific to your local school, but is done for all students at your grade level in the county.
At least they are offering online learning. Unfortunately, the county you are in is in that severe bubble of virus that stretches from one side of the state to the other so virus seems to travel quickly in that area.
In my county, they are giving parents just a few days to go online and choose traditional or online. If they fail to see that message they will automatically be enrolled in traditional. I guess schools will just have to wait and see who shows up on the first day of school.
This thing is getting worse by the second. Just think how high the cases will be next month.
Jul 16, 2020
The school district where my friend's kids go to school already made their decision of giving the parents a choice of 2 days per week in school learning or ALL online learning. My friend chose the all online learning. She is able to stay home with her kids but has to sacrifice her own schooling at the moment (she started going for her degree after her husband died) so she does have the time just at the expense of her own education. She wanted to send them for the 2 days but is afraid that parents will send sick kids to school and they will just have to shut down anyway. I honestly don't know what I would choose.
Wouldn't even be a choice for me.