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Old 05-21-2020, 10:36 AM
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Opening schools.


Science article.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Science May 4, 2020
For families eager for schools to throw open their doors, the tale of a 9-year-old British boy who caught COVID-19 in the French Alps in January offers a glimmer of hope. The youngster, infected by a family friend, suffered only mild symptoms; he enjoyed ski lessons and attended school before he was diagnosed. Astonishingly, he did not transmit the virus to any of 72 contacts who were tested. His two siblings didn’t become infected, even though other germs spread readily among them: in the weeks that followed, all three had influenza and a common cold virus.

The story could be a bizarre outlier—or a tantalizing clue. Several studies of COVID-19 hint that children are less likely to catch the novel coronavirus, and don’t often transmit it to others. A recent survey of the literature couldn’t find a single example of a child under 10 passing the virus on to someone else, for example. ...

... some governments are beginning to reopen schools. Denmark sent children up to age 11 back on 15 April, and Germany welcomed back mostly older children on 29 April. Some Israeli schools reopened on 3 May; the Netherlands and the Canadian province of Quebec plan to reopen many primary schools on 11 May. ...

... Several new studies now underway aim to better gauge the risk, including one announced on 4 May by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will follow 2000 families for 6 months ...

... The evidence from studies done so far is not consistent. Researchers in Iceland, one of the few countries to conduct mass screening, turned up no infections in 848 children under the age of 10 without significant symptoms, compared with an infection rate of nearly 1% in ages 10 and older. A U.S. analysis of nearly 150,000 infected people found that just 1.7% were under age 18. But a study of 391 cases and almost 1300 close contacts in Shenzhen, China, reported that children were just as likely to be infected as adults. Eckerle cautions that some of these data come from surveys done after shutdowns were put in place. “They were collected in an artificial situation,” she says. Children “weren’t going to the playground and were not going to school.”

Several studies suggest children who get sick with COVID-19 are just as infectious as ailing adults. Researchers have detected the same amounts of viral RNA in nose or throat swabs from sick children as in those from older patients. Finding RNA does not always mean a person is infectious; it can also come from noninfectious viral remnants. But in a 1 May preprint, Eckerle’s team reported that 12 out of 23 children sick with COVID-19 had the virus in their nose or throat able to attack and infect human cells in the lab, a rate similar to adults.

Far less is known about the risk posed by infected children with few or no symptoms. But there’s at least one example of a child who didn’t appear sick and was nevertheless a virus factory: In February, doctors in Singapore described a 6-month-old baby, infected without apparent symptoms, whose coronavirus levels were on par with sick adults.

Real-life studies of how often children transmit COVID-19 are scarce. Researchers at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) looked carefully at how the disease spread in 54 households, together comprising 123 adults and 116 children aged 16 or younger. They didn’t find a single family in which a child was the first patient. This study, too, began only after schools closed, says RIVM epidemiologist Susan van den Hof, but there’s additional evidence from Dutch contact tracing studies: Of 43 contacts of infected children and teens who were followed, none became infected.

Critics have noted these numbers, posted on RIVM’s website, are too small to be statistically significant. But combined with other studies, Van den Hof says, “The data all seem to be pointing in the same direction: that there is not as much transmission from children.” ...

... The countries reopening schools may soon provide a reality check. If children are ample virus spreaders after all, cases could surge in a matter of weeks. And if they aren’t, parents and policymakers will heave a sigh of relief and more countries may follow. For now, the natural experiment proceeds. ...
Bolding mine.

Update? So far, weeks later, no new surges in countries that have opened schools.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:05 AM
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There is also this Science article from Tuesday: “Why do some COVID-19 patients infect many others, whereas most don’t spread the virus as all?”
Most of the discussion around the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has concentrated on the average number of new infections caused by each patient. Without social distancing, this reproduction number (R) is about three. But in real life, some people infect many others and others don’t spread the disease at all. In fact, the latter is the norm, Lloyd-Smith says: “The consistent pattern is that the most common number is zero. Most people do not transmit.”

That’s why in addition to R, scientists use a value called the dispersion factor (k), which describes how much a disease clusters. The lower k is, the more transmission comes from a small number of people. In a seminal 2005 Nature paper, Lloyd-Smith and co-authors estimated that SARS—in which superspreading played a major role—had a k of 0.16. The estimated k for MERS, which emerged in 2012, is about 0.25. In the flu pandemic of 1918, in contrast, the value was about one, indicating that clusters played less of a role.

Estimates of k for SARS-CoV-2 vary. In January, Julien Riou and Christian Althaus at the University of Bern simulated the epidemic in China for different combinations of R and k and compared the outcomes with what had actually taken place. They concluded that k for COVID-19 is somewhat higher than for SARS and MERS. That seems about right, says Gabriel Leung, a modeler at the University of Hong Kong. “I don’t think this is quite like SARS or MERS, where we observed very large superspreading clusters,” Leung says. “But we are certainly seeing a lot of concentrated clusters where a small proportion of people are responsible for a large proportion of infections.” But in a recent preprint, Adam Kucharski of LSHTM estimated that k for COVID-19 is as low as 0.1. “Probably about 10% of cases lead to 80% of the spread,” Kucharski says.

That could explain some puzzling aspects of this pandemic, including why the virus did not take off around the world sooner after it emerged in China, and why some very early cases elsewhere—such as one in France in late December 2019, reported on 3 May—apparently failed to ignite a wider outbreak. If k is really 0.1, then most chains of infection die out by themselves and SARS-CoV-2 needs to be introduced undetected into a new country at least four times to have an even chance of establishing itself, Kucharski says. If the Chinese epidemic was a big fire that sent sparks flying around the world, most of the sparks simply fizzled out.


There is a persuasive case for opening up primary and secondary schools anyway even if students are infectious; we can’t keep students at home indefinitely without impacting their development, parents who are working at home need the time and space to be able to do their jobs, and for many students school lunches are their one hot and reasonably nutritious meal as well as the support school may provide to students with bad domestic environments. And short of a vaccine, we are going to have to facilitate controlled contagion so that people in low vulnerability cohorts can be exposed and hopefully return to work and other activities with assurance of low risk. Allowing parents the option to send their children to school and then monitoring for signs and symptoms (and even periodic antigen test sampling) would give a way to control and track exposures.

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Old 05-21-2020, 11:50 AM
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Oh wow, thank you for this DSeid and Stranger. It is definitely great news that there have been no new surges due to opening schools!

I'm also very intrigued by the idea that many/most people don't transmit. (Enough that it might be worth putting in its own thread?) It sounds like we might have lucked out in a lot of ways with COVID-19.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by raspberry hunter View Post
It is definitely great news that there have been no new surges due to opening schools!
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...ening-n1209591

Quote:
PARIS — Just one week after a third of French schoolchildren went back to school in an easing of coronavirus lockdowns, a worrying flareup of about 70 COVID-19 cases has been linked to schools.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:47 PM
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There will definitely be an increase in cases with any relaxation; that is inevitable. The point is being able to monitor and make reasonable predictions of the effects of of such relaxations. Short of a vaccine, we’re going to have to accept spread of contagion and a certain marginal level of mortality; the point of “flattening the curve” is to prevent cases from exceeding the capability of the health system and get a handle on the epidemiology and pathology of the virus so we can better control and treat it.

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Old 05-21-2020, 12:56 PM
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As noted previously, the evidence for closing schools have always been rather ambiguous, and it does not appear that the decision to close them was based on solid science.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:43 PM
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Speaking as a public school teacher - Closing schools was the right thing to do. The students are disease-ridden plague-monkeys in the best of times. Now...
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
As noted previously, the evidence for closing schools have always been rather ambiguous, and it does not appear that the decision to close them was based on solid science.
This link is archived and updated pages provide more information on school closures and the steps needed to re-open. They are no longer expressing any indication that closing schools was unnecessary. They really didn't in the first place, only saying it didn't seem to help in Hong Kong. How old IS that link anyway? There's no date listed.


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019...sion-tool.html
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:57 PM
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Closing the schools was never the right thing to do. The damage this virus can do is strictly short-term. A few years from now, it'll be history. But the damage done by closing the schools will still be haunting us decades from now.

Gov. DeWine of Ohio has already "reassured" parents that schools will not be doing anything to make up for lost time, because remote learning has been just as good as open schools, for all students everywhere in the state. Which is of course patently false; many students haven't had any remote schooling at all, for various reasons (including that many schools followed DeWine's advice).
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:22 PM
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Closing the schools was never the right thing to do.
Idiocy.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:28 PM
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Closing the schools was never the right thing to do. The damage this virus can do is strictly short-term.
Buying a smoke detector is never the right thing to do. The damage from a house fire is strictly short-term.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Rushgeekgirl View Post
This link is archived and updated pages provide more information on school closures and the steps needed to re-open. They are no longer expressing any indication that closing schools was unnecessary. They really didn't in the first place, only saying it didn't seem to help in Hong Kong. How old IS that link anyway? There's no date listed.
I think I first saw that source a couple of months ago. (It predates NYC closing schools, since I first saw it in that context.)

All I took from that link was that the evidence was always ambiguous. The OP of this thread seemed to be suggesting that emerging evidence may point to closing schools as having minimal impact, and my point was that it doesn't appear that actual evidence ever pointed to closing schools to begin with.

That CDC guidance was that there's a role for closing schools where the healthcare system is being overwhelmed or mass absences among the school staff and such, but otherwise pointed to evidence that there was no difference, based on the approaches of different countries.
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:57 PM
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Closing the schools was never the right thing to do.
Closing the schools was always the right thing to do. Because with the dearth of solid information we had early in this pandemic, it was better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:04 PM
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Speaking as a public school teacher - Closing schools was the right thing to do. The students are disease-ridden plague-monkeys in the best of times. Now...
They are, but- they arent practicing social distancing or wearing masks anyway.

Just on a short walk yesterday I saw two groups of teen/tween kids, ten playing basketball, eight doing skateboarding. No masks, no social distancing, no parents.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surreal View Post
unclear if students or teachers and by timing seem to not be from school transmissions.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...lowed-to%3famp

Quote:
Blanquer did not make clear whether the 70 cases involved students, teachers or a combination of the two, but he noted that the virus's several-day incubation period suggested people were infected before last week, when about 40,000 preschools and primary schools reopened with maximum class sizes of 15.
EU consensus is so far so good.

“Schools reopening has not triggered rise in Covid-19 cases, EU ministers told”
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.the...eturn-covid-19
Quote:
The update on the state of play in the 27 EU member states came as France’s education minister told parents it was more of a risk keeping their children at home than sending them to school now the strict lockdown had ended.
Jean-Michel Blanquer was speaking as a second wave of pupils returned to secondary schools. Blanquer said the government’s priority was to avoid youngsters who struggle at school or at home becoming “collateral damage” of the Covid-19 crisis. ...

... In an interview with RTL radio, Blanquer revealed that 70 cases of Covid-19 had been diagnosed since 40,000 primary and nursery schools reopened last week.
“It’s inevitable this sort of thing will happen, but it’s a minority,” he said. “In almost all the cases, this happened outside of the school.”
Assuming that this bug would behave like influenza was reasonable. Erring to caution even as it became clear it does not was defendable. But the harms have been very large and at this point the burden of proof is on the need to keep imposing the harms upon the children.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:12 PM
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Idiocy.
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Keep it civil in this forum. No warning issued, but refrain from remarks like this directed at other posters.

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Old 05-21-2020, 04:21 PM
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Closing the schools was always the right thing to do. Because with the dearth of solid information we had early in this pandemic, it was better to be safe than sorry.
At the time that various states made the decision to close primary schools (and many colleges and universities elected to send students home) we had little direct epidemiological knowledge of the SARS-CoV-2 virus except for what was being reported by the WHO based upon data provided by China on the Wuhan outbreak, the catastrophic epidemic being observed in real time in Italy and Spain (and mass graves being dug in Iran as seen from satellite images) and the unexpectedly rapid spread in North America and Europe, which gave disparate statistics that had led some people to hypothesize that we were actually experiencing a more virulent strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus than the one responsible for the epidemic in Wuhan. This, combined with a lack of available testing even in countries with advanced health care systems and robust epidemic response infrastructures, created a lot of uncertainty about how the virus was being spread and who was spreading it. We now know that that was largely a result of inaccurate information and a high asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infection rate but at the time official sources were quoting the R0 as 1.6 to 2.3 whereas even a fairly naive model that I cooked up over the course of a weekend in early March showed an R0 of at least 4 and potentially greater than 6 (and there is no way that professional epidemiologists weren't coming to the same conclusions and just not voicing them). The current estimate is now 3.8 to 8.9 with a mean of 5.7, which means the virus is a lot more transmissible than the then-official statistics indicated, and estimates of case fatality rate were ranging from a fraction of a percent all the way up to 5% depending on whose country's stats you looked at.

It is easy to say now that "damage this virus can do is strictly short-term" and "the damage done by closing the schools will still be haunting us decades from now" (I'm not sure I fully agree with either statement) but that can be readily turned around to say, "Students can make up for lost time but the virus kills forever"; and the calculation between loss of development time versus loss of life is not a simple or easy one to make. Dr. Birx, who was an early advocate of isolation measures (presumably including school closures) has had personal experience with this; her then-11-year-old grandmother brought home the H1N1 'Spanish Flu' strain that killed her Birx' great-grandmother and carried guilt about this with her for the rest of her life. If children were found to be effective carriers of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and infected adults en masse after passing it around in the unsanitary confines of schools, that could result in a mass epidemic outbreak that could easily overwhelm the health system. That it now seems that this is unlikely gives good confidence that opening schools will not result in uncontrollable contagion, and although children are not as 'immune' as once thought, the morbidity and mortality rates are sufficiently low that it isn't a greater risk than exposure to influenza or other common viruses that affect children.

And I feel compelled to point out again that the response to this pandemic shouldn't just be about "getting back to normal" as quickly as possible, but using this event as a learning experience for the next and potentially more virulent pandemic, which includes altering our educational, medical, and social systems to be able to cope with isolation measures and establish a more robust epidemiological surveillance system. People (myself included) keep using the term "unprecedented" to describe this pandemic, which is true in the context of modern history, but it is really modern history that is unprecedented in that we haven't had a really unconfined highly transmissible epidemic since polio (except for HIV/AIDS, which people conveniently forget about because it is relatively easy to avoid in developed nations). The history of the world is rife with infectious epidemics sweeping through whole regions and decimating (or worse) the population. Smallpox swept through Eurasia innumerable times with casualty rates often exceeding 25%, and when it was transferred to the Americas as a novel virus the population there had never experienced, it cut through the native peoples killing so many we don't even know what the fatality rate was other than that it was likely greater than 90%. We need to think not about what we can do to get back to work, school, and play next week, but what we can do to make sure the next infectious pandemic can be controlled without such massive disruption.

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Old 05-21-2020, 04:42 PM
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Closing the schools was never the right thing to do. The damage this virus can do is strictly short-term. A few years from now, it'll be history. But the damage done by closing the schools will still be haunting us decades from now.
This is poor reasoning unimproved by any evidence whatsoever.

We know children are less affected by the virus. But there's no solid evidence that they don't spread the virus. And schools are not hermetically sealed capsules; school activity generates a lot of secondary travel and contact for both kids and adults that could lead to more spreading. Dropoff and pickup, extracurricular activities, fieldtrips, shopping, deliveries, increased socialization all create additional social mingling and points of contact.

There may come a time when we conclude that opening schools is the best of bad choices. But in the early days of a mystery pandemic with details still emerging, of course closing schools is the right thing to do. Even in hindsight we haven't determined that it was the wrong thing to do.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:28 PM
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My wife is an elementary school teacher, so she is keenly interested in this. We’ve been following developments in California, and all I can say is it’s going to be a mess.

Ideas being bandied about include: No recess. School only on alternate days for students (though teachers have to go every day). Students sit in the same seat all day, including for lunch. No prep periods (specialty teachers like PE, music, and science).
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:38 PM
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It should also be noted that while the majority of teachers are under the age of 65, there are some who may still be in vulnerable cohorts, as may be other staff and volunteers, notwithstanding the sheer number of people between 20 and 65 with no underlying conditions who have nonetheless presented severe cases of COVID-19. Keeping schools open for in-person classrooms is tantamount to forcing these people to remain exposed while other businesses are allowed or encouraged to allow workers to work remotely even there is no way that teachers and students can follow distancing guidelines. Teaching is already a financially undesirable occupation with many teachers leaving for other fields because of inadequate salaries or benefits, and forcing them to remain on-post in the middle of an epidemic is just going to exacerbate that exodus.

There is no question that online education is not the same as classroom instruction even for classes without a lab or physical interaction component and many students lack the facilities for online schooling but without testing and monitoring schools are natural nodes for contagion. Closing schools along with hair salons, barbers, restaurants and bars, concert venues, et cetera is an obvious and nearly obligatory first step in dealing with any wide scale outbreak until the epidemiology is better understood and there is good confidence in being able to monitor and control outbreaks.

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Old 05-21-2020, 05:46 PM
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Closing the schools was never the right thing to do. The damage this virus can do is strictly short-term. A few years from now, it'll be history. But the damage done by closing the schools will still be haunting us decades from now.
Disagree.

Any damage done by closing schools would not be as bad as the damage done by children experiencing the premature deaths of relatives AND CLASSMATES, when it was preventable. It was, and still is, the right thing to do.

When will schools reopen? That's a decision that needs to be made by each individual district as things progress.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:12 PM
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Speaking as a public school teacher - Closing schools was the right thing to do. The students are disease-ridden plague-monkeys in the best of times. Now...
That was undoubtedly also the case in vic.aus: the medical advice was to keep the schools open, but the teachers wouldn't have it.

As it happens, the medical advice here was partly based on the idea that they would need all the nurses at work, with their children in day-care at school, which turned out to not be the case in Australia: C19 never reached epidemic levels here.

Although the political leadership here is congratulating themselves on 'following medical advice', I have to say that seems untrue to me: economics and fear seem to be the main (competing) considerations.

In my state, schools have started to open: "foundation year" (grade 0) and grade 12. Other grades to follow over the next month.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:20 PM
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Of course it was reasonable to play it safe. Playing it safe would mean following the advice of the most knowledgeable experts available. At the time that Ohio's schools closed, the CDC was recommending that individual schools be closed, for only three weeks, and only if there was a diagnosis of a student or staff member.

Dismissing the advice of the CDC as "idiocy" is the exact opposite of "playing it safe".


And no, the virus doesn't "kill forever". Nothing "kills forever". All of those people who died in the Spanish Flu, where would they be now, if the flu hadn't killed them? Still just as dead. But the difference between the Spanish Flu and this disease is that the Spanish Flu killed people who would still have had many decades ahead of them. COVID-19 doesn't.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:38 PM
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Chronic, at the time they were saying that, it was literally impossible to get tested unless you were so bad you were admitted to the hospital, and maybe not then. It was nonsensical advice given that reality. You can't just handwave that away. Testing wasn't possible, so no one would be diagnosed.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:44 PM
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Dismissing the advice of the CDC as "idiocy" is the exact opposite of "playing it safe".
This is of course not what happened. The exact opposite of "playing it safe" would be taking more risks than the CDC recommended. Taking less risk is just playing it extra safe, which is understandable, being that the CDC messaging wasn't entirely clear or consistent in the beginning ("never wear masks! correction, always wear masks!").

Quote:
And no, the virus doesn't "kill forever".
So the 90K people who died are... just temporarily dead? Should we hold off burying them?

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All of those people who died in the Spanish Flu, where would they be now, if the flu hadn't killed them? Still just as dead. But the difference between the Spanish Flu and this disease is that the Spanish Flu killed people who would still have had many decades ahead of them. COVID-19 doesn't.
OK, so minus the sophistry and elision, we're back to "grandma's already had a good run, let's get things back to normal". Cool.

This is just one bad take on top of another, I'd stop digging if I were you.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:53 PM
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Of course it was reasonable to play it safe. Playing it safe would mean following the advice of the most knowledgeable experts available. At the time that Ohio's schools closed, the CDC was recommending that individual schools be closed, for only three weeks, and only if there was a diagnosis of a student or staff member.
That assumes that a diagnosis can be made—in March and April, most states were struggling to provide a few thousand antigen tests per day at best, and even then it was suspected that there were a significant percentage of asymptomatic people capable of spreading the virus. Given even then what was known about the infectiousness of the virus would have resulted in mass contagion had the virus gotten into a school, especially with environments like locker rooms, music/band practice, and lunchrooms. Lacking the knowledge and (still inadequate) testing capability we have now, closing schools was an obvious precaution because it is a perfect environment for transferring infection. And it is not as if this is a unique case; we’ve had school closings for measles outbreaks across the New York/New Jersey area because people won’t vaccinate their children and authorities wanted to prevent wide contagion.
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And no, the virus doesn't "kill forever". Nothing "kills forever". All of those people who died in the Spanish Flu, where would they be now, if the flu hadn't killed them? Still just as dead. But the difference between the Spanish Flu and this disease is that the Spanish Flu killed people who would still have had many decades ahead of them. COVID-19 doesn't.
First of all, let’s just stop with the notion that COVID-19 is just “an old persons’ disease”. Yes, it strikes the elderly with much higher mortality but that is true of the majority of virulent infectious diseases including most strains of influenza. (The 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ is notable for striking down more young people but that is because it is almost unique in that pathology.) There are plenty of young people with no underlying conditions or co-morbidities who have died of infection from SARS-CoV-2, and just because they’re eventually going to die in a few decades anyway is not a rationale for not taking effective measures to contain the epidemic and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed.

The idea that a generation of children are going to be ruined for decades to come is hyperbolic to say the least. This is not to say that there aren’t real harms from this interruption but the students it will affect the greatest are those who are already in bad domestic situations (severe poverty, domestic violence) that need to be addressed by more than just a hot lunch. For most students, this few months iis a mild disruption in their education that can be compensated for; those who are going to be most affected are those who are in the first couple of grades where educational development is crucial, and those who are graduating where this will impact their opportunities for college or employment. This certainly sucks but so would having teachers, parents, or other relatives contract the virus and die or suffer severe effects because treatment wasn’t available. Now that there is a better ability to track the virus and some degree of confidence that schools are not going to be uncontrollable incubators of contagion, a cautious reopening in the fall makes sense.

And again, we should be taking this opportunity to look at both how the education system as a whole and the architecture of schools and classes can be altered or updated to deal with contagious disease, because this is a problem that has been long ignored and the next epidemic may have an infection fatality rate of 5% or 25% instead of ~0.5%. No, we’re not going to rebuild schools in the short term or be able to practically distance in classrooms, but we should be looking at measures to improve overall health and well-being. Whether that will actually happen or not is an expansive question but we’ve been presented with what is a comparatively gentle reminder that there are threats beyond the control of money or executive proclamations, and we’ve been more lucky than good about preparing for them.

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  #27  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:10 PM
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... The students are disease-ridden plague-monkeys in the best of times. Now...
... they aren't.

This germ is full of surprises and this is one of them.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:12 PM
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Diagnosis and tests aren't the same thing. And the CDC knew how rare tests were at the time they made that recommendation.

And doing more than the CDC recommends is only "playing it safe" if the things you're doing don't have their own risks, which most of the lockdown measures do. If it were actually safer to do more, the CDC would have recommended more.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:07 PM
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There are several different issues being mushed together. Let's separate them a bit.

1) The current evidence supports opening schools as a very low risk item. The fact that schools have been opened in many different countries without big flares resultant is the real world test. So far results strongly support that opening schools represents little risk. Please note that little is not none. It would at least shock me greatly to find out that kids have zero risk of transmission to others even when asymptomatic. But it seems clear that it is much much less risk than they do with influenza, and much much less than adults do. How much less still needs to be answered. More evidence will come and inform decisions more.

2) There was never any direct evidence that children were big spreaders of COVID-19, but the evidence against it was soft with no urgency made to collect more. (The evidence was at first only the lack of transmission from children to others in contact tracing activities. A very surprising thing as kids are usually the amplifiers of many infectious diseases.) It was in the pandemic playbook because that playbook was written for an influenza pandemic: past experience with influenza is that kids are the amplifiers and that school closures can be effective. The guidelines for how it was effective as part of that playbook was distributed and not followed, as noted. (And possibly for good reasons as noted.)

3) Closing schools has HUGE negative impacts. Parents (inclusive of "essential workers") often need to stay home as a result. (And/or interact more with aged relatives called in to help out.) This is a huge economic impact born with great inequality. The impact on students' academic cognitive and socioemotional achievements is huge and also is distributed with great inequality. For some poorer students whose parents have fewer resources to call upon the impacts are much greater. For kids with various disabilities in many categories the lack of services may cause missed opportunities and harms that are never recovered from. It really is NOT HYPERBOLIC to say that both these groups may be "ruined for decades to come". Upper SES students of two parent households will likely recover more and faster. "The gap" will increase and as always racial inequalities will be synergistic with economic ones. Also note that the harms are nonlinear with duration.

4) OTOH even with a lack of meaningful direct impact on spread of disease closing schools can have some positive impact on spread indirectly, as a behavioral/psychological/political tool. Parents need to stay home which obviously decreases their social interactions. There is nothing that signals "be afraid" (and behave accordingly) to parents like closing schools and raising the specter of their children's health being at risk. Other behavioral changes to "Stay Home/Save Lives" are complied with more readily. (Of course that fear induced behavior got generalized and resulted in a crisis of lack of preventative care inclusive of immunization rates falling dramatically, but they stayed home.) And yes fully functioning schools can be an infectious disease "attractive nuisance" - pulling adults into contact with each other over kid activities.

5) Given the lack of solid evidence to base a decision off of, the original decision (to either direction) is not one of science but a judgement call and ultimately a political one. Cynically once one major mayor or governor closed schools the others had no political choice - if they did not follow suit and a flare happened they were toast for re-election. Nevertheless as a judgement call it was a reasonable one, given what was not known.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:25 PM
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Of course it was reasonable to play it safe. Playing it safe would mean following the advice of the most knowledgeable experts available. At the time that Ohio's schools closed, the CDC was recommending that individual schools be closed, for only three weeks, and only if there was a diagnosis of a student or staff member.

Dismissing the advice of the CDC as "idiocy" is the exact opposite of "playing it safe".


And no, the virus doesn't "kill forever". Nothing "kills forever". All of those people who died in the Spanish Flu, where would they be now, if the flu hadn't killed them? Still just as dead. But the difference between the Spanish Flu and this disease is that the Spanish Flu killed people who would still have had many decades ahead of them. COVID-19 doesn't.
Your logic is pretty weak. Anything that kills, kills forever. Everyone who was alive in 1918 is now dead. Everyone who was murdered in the Holocaust is now dead.

And of course COVID-19 kills people who would have had many decades ahead of them. It also kills those who would've had many good years ahead of them. That may not matter to you, but it matters to most of us.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:03 PM
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Everyone who was alive in 1918 is now dead.
99%-plus are, but there are still a few centenarians who were alive in 1918.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:29 AM
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Yes, the baby sitting services need to be re-opened so parents can get those damn brats out of the house. So let's pretend that kids missing a little school is somehow different than when they go to school and then forget the little bit they learned at the end of the semester.
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Old 05-22-2020, 03:22 AM
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I am a teacher in South Korea, at a hagwon (These are supplemental, usually after-school academies that focus on English, math, or some other specific subject). Public schools here have been largely closed since March, and are gradually opening now.

Hagwons are subject to a different standard for closing. I personally have only missed about a week for the coronavirus (and another for switching academies during the lockdown), but many teachers in my position have lost a month or more. The government came just short of ordering the academies to close down, as that would have required them to reimburse hagwon owners for lost funds and there are just too many of these places for that to be an option.

We wear masks at work, Purel dispensers are everywhere, and a thermal camera at the front desk scans everybody for obvious fever spikes. It's worth mentioning that nobody I know personally in Korea has the disease, and the only people I know with it are both in America. (One cycled through it in two weeks and is doing fine, the other is still shit-miserable sick.) At no point was Korea ever the ghost town that I see in the media that is every major American city.

Bars and restaurants are mostly open and doing about a third of the business they would normally be doing. There's a little dance we have to do with keeping our masks on inside Starbucks when not actually sipping coffee.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:41 AM
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I concur that distance learning, at least under these unplanned circumstances, falls way short of being the real thing. It throws a much greater load on the students and their parents than they're used to handling - and of course if those parents are 'essential workers' and have little time and energy to support their kids' schoolwork these days, or if they didn't really get that great an education themselves, it's gonna work out poorly for their kids.

For purposes of planning the coming academic year, pretending that the current school year finished up more or less normally strikes me as a huge mistake. My thought at the beginning of all this was that they shouldn't have bothered with the distance learning for the rest of this spring, but should take the time off entirely, finish up the current school year this fall, then start the next one after Thanksgiving and have it run through August 2021, at which point the calendar could go back to normal.

That's harder to do now, on account of the teachers' having not had any time off this spring, so teaching in the summer of 2021 would be in addition to rather than instead of teaching during the spring of 2020. And of course with state and local budgets strapped in the absence of any help from the Federal government, there's no money to pay for it anyway.

There's probably brighter ideas out there for the schools and students to get caught up than the one I've just outlined. But there's no money to pay for them either. Welcome to FUBAR World.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:33 AM
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Having had a degree of flattening the curve, a national Reff value of less than for some weeks though not eliminating the threat, Australian schools are scheduled to reopen on Mon 26th.
  #36  
Old 05-22-2020, 07:11 PM
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We got a message from my son’s superintendent. Pretty depressing. He flat out says they won’t be able to afford to implement the CDC recommendations. So whether school exists in the fall or not is questionable. May have to continue virtual learning indefinitely. Which is not good for my son.
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  #37  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:53 PM
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One of the only countries to leave schools open was Sweden. Unfortunately, they didn't do much tracking. But according to newspaper accounts, there was at least one school closure due to the adults getting sick and several deaths of adults in schools.

How Sweden wasted a ‘rare opportunity’ to study coronavirus in schools

Quote:
However, a scan of Swedish newspapers makes clear that school outbreaks have occurred. In the town of Skellefteå, a teacher died and 18 of 76 staff tested positive at a school with about 500 students in preschool through ninth grade. The school closed for 2 weeks because so many staff were sick, but students were not tested for the virus. In Uppsala, staff protested when school officials, citing patient privacy rules, declined to notify families or staff that a teacher had tested positive. No contact tracing was done at the school. At least two staff members at other schools have died, but those schools remained open and no one attempted to trace the spread of the disease there.
One school closed when 18 of 76 staff tested positive and 1 teacher died. At another school, at least 2 staff members died.

Quote:
Because children rarely suffer severe symptoms of COVID-19, pediatricians in several countries have called for schools to reopen. But a key question remains: Because people with mild symptoms can be extremely infectious and frequently spark large clusters of infections, could schools also be a source of COVID-19 outbreaks, possibly driven by children who feel fine but can pass the virus to each other, their teachers, and their families?
. . .
“I’m concerned that there may be a rush to judgment that asymptomatic school children aren’t spreading COVID-19 to adults,” says Anita Cicero, an expert in pandemic response policy at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “In Sweden, they have had a rare opportunity to understand [school] transmission chains better. But you can’t find what you don’t look for. The U.S. and other countries with closed schools would certainly benefit from that research.”
Sweden didn't study whether the transmission in the schools was from students to teachers or if the teachers were getting it and passing it to each other. But based on that one case in Sweden, a school can become a hotspot with many teachers and staff getting sick.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:52 AM
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Thank you for contributing the thread.

Clarifications to what you wrote above - one school (apparently in all of Sweden) closed for two weeks when a teacher died and other teachers called in sick. On testing 18 of the 76 staff were positive for SARS-CoV-2. (From the source material, "infection mainly occurred between staff working in the higher grades".) It was "at other schools" across the country, not "at another school" that at least 2 other school staff members have died.

It may sound picky but I remain firm in my belief that precision is important in these discussions.

I agree that the Skellefteå school case was a missed "rare opportunity" to have studied a transmission chain in a school setting and to have potentially provided better evidence about the important question. Unclear how many of the 18 staff who tested positive were symptomatic. Was there a staff superspreader or staff superspreading event? If so what was the event? Contact tracing would have been very helpful information for the rest of us, and identified clusters in school settings have been so rare that not studying this one was indeed a wasted chance to learn.

I am sure that in all of the over 90K teachers and many times more associated staff members in Sweden there have been more than those three deaths ... unless working in a school is protective. It would in fact be very interesting to know if there have been fewer or more COVID-19 cases and deaths among school staff (matched by age and other demographics) than the rest of the Swedish population.

I do want to make clear, speaking as someone who believes that opening schools is a low risk high reward action - low risk is not zero risk. Being in a school will in no case act like a magic shield and I highly doubt that children have NO ability to transmit infection, nor does being in a school building prevent adults from spreading it between themselves.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:07 AM
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It was "at other schools" across the country, not "at another school" that at least 2 other school staff members have died.

It may sound picky but I remain firm in my belief that precision is important in these discussions.
You're right, I read that as 2 schools. As you point out, it reads like it could have been at least 3 schools involved.

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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
(From the source material, "infection mainly occurred between staff working in the higher grades".)
Also from that source article, the chair of the Teacher's Union has concerns about teachers' safety in Sweden.

Quote:
Mikael Johansson, chair of the Skellefteå Teachers' Union, says that there are still teachers who are absent at Kågele School, but most who have been ill for a long time have recovered and are back at school.

The question that many people ask both at the Kåge School and at other schools and preschools in the municipality is: Why does nothing happen to the government's promise of the protection against infection?

- The National Board of Health and Welfare went out with this almost three weeks ago and this silence becomes troublesome as the anxiety is greatest among those who perceive themselves to be at risk. At least it feels troublesome in this context because we have many employees at our schools and preschools, not just at the Kåge School, which belong to risk groups, he says.
As the UK starts planning to open its schools, the teachers' unions have similar concerns.


Schools row: Warning that it is ‘impossible to sustain social distancing amongst children’


"As the government insists that it is time for some pupils to return to class, union leaders warn that staff need more safety guarantees"

Quote:
UNIONS are demanding answers as to how schools can make teaching safe as the government faces a coronavirus rebellion over plans to get pupils returning to class in less than a fortnight.
. . .
He added: “Our members think there is no other reason than economic reasons for schools to open and most of us are taking a position that they are opposed to it.”

While staff are concerned about pupils losing ground while working at home, the New Journal reported last month how teachers and school staff held concerns about rushing back too quickly and the risk of the coronavirus spreading again.

While Labour frontbenchers at Westminster have called for more scientific advice to be published, Conservative cabinet member Michael Gove, the former education secretary, said: “You can never eliminate risk, but it is the case that it is extremely unlikely that any school is likely to be the source of a Covid outbreak.”
As the UK plans to open back up, teachers and staff are still concerned about safety. Unions are demanding that they get more answers about how to protect everyone adequately.

I'm not sure why the cabinet member says that any school is "exremely unlikely" to be the source of an outbreak. I would think it would be as likely as any activity where people get together indoors.

There's a lot of emphasis on children not getting Covid-19, which is good. But less attention is paid to the teachers and staff who may be at risk. I can understand why they wouldn't want to become the next round of (generally low-paid) front line workers who are risking their lives on little known information.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:12 PM
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I'd love to hear a reason why schools should re-open when there is any risk at all. Other than parents wanting to be relieved of the burden of raising their kids anyway. What is the horrible problem that must be avoided by sending kids to school during a pandemic?
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:11 PM
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I'd love to hear a reason why schools should re-open when there is any risk at all. Other than parents wanting to be relieved of the burden of raising their kids anyway. What is the horrible problem that must be avoided by sending kids to school during a pandemic?
Kids not getting educated? You do realize that, while online teaching can work OK for older students who have a home computer, a decent Internet connection, and parental support, it doesn't work well for the very young, the families whose only online access is through a smartphone and a cellular connection, and those whose parents can't supervise their education effectively (for reasons that may be no fault of their own -- for example, if the parents can't read or write well, there's basically no chance that the child will learn to read or write well outside of a school setting). Shutting down schools for an extended period of time widens the educational gap between the haves and have-nots, which was already massive.

Besides, there are kids who depend on school breakfasts and lunches to get enough to eat, and there are kids in abusive or neglectful homes whose only connection with a dependable adult is through school.
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Old 05-23-2020, 01:57 PM
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This is poor reasoning unimproved by any evidence whatsoever.

We know children are less affected by the virus. But there's no solid evidence that they don't spread the virus. And schools are not hermetically sealed capsules; ........
I would say schools ARE hermetically sealed capsules in the sense that the building themselves become enclosed locations of concentrated aerosol medium.

New York is seeing their largest increase in hospital patients from people sheltering in place. A large proportion of their deaths were from nursing homes which were also enclosed locations.

I think it was wise to close school buildings both in retrospect of limited knowledge of how it spread and also in the current state of knowledge of how it's spread.
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:08 PM
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Kids not getting educated? You do realize that, while online teaching can work OK for older students who have a home computer, a decent Internet connection, and parental support, it doesn't work well for the very young, the families whose only online access is through a smartphone and a cellular connection, and those whose parents can't supervise their education effectively (for reasons that may be no fault of their own -- for example, if the parents can't read or write well, there's basically no chance that the child will learn to read or write well outside of a school setting). Shutting down schools for an extended period of time widens the educational gap between the haves and have-nots, which was already massive.
As you say, there's already a wide gap between the haves and the have-nots. School absenteeism is a huge problem in many places. Based on this article, in many poor neighborhoods, over 50% of kids in impoverished districts don't show up for a lot of school.

The Long-Term Consequences of Missing School
Six million children are chronically absent, half of whom are enrolled at just 4 percent of the nation’s school districts.


They're being left behind the other kids who are in school. But if everyone is not in school, then the people who are ahead are the people who can afford tutors over the internet or have the temperament to teach them themselves, which isn't everyone. Are they getting more left behind? Maybe. But maybe not that much worse than it was.

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Besides, there are kids who depend on school breakfasts and lunches to get enough to eat, and there are kids in abusive or neglectful homes whose only connection with a dependable adult is through school.
Those two things should get fixed, with or without school. If there are ways to get meals to seniors, there should be a way to get meals to kids. Early in the lockdown, I had heard of schools that were still preparing meals for the kids to pick up. Or maybe giving money directly to parents who can then afford to buy food for their kids.

Leaving a kid in an abusive home because they can get away for a few hours a day doesn't sound ideal.

In many areas, the lockdown is highlighting structural problems with how things are done. Maybe there are other ways to fix some of the dysfunction.
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:27 PM
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Kids not getting educated? You do realize that, while online teaching can work OK for older students who have a home computer, a decent Internet connection, and parental support, it doesn't work well for the very young, the families whose only online access is through a smartphone and a cellular connection, and those whose parents can't supervise their education effectively (for reasons that may be no fault of their own -- for example, if the parents can't read or write well, there's basically no chance that the child will learn to read or write well outside of a school setting). Shutting down schools for an extended period of time widens the educational gap between the haves and have-nots, which was already massive.

Besides, there are kids who depend on school breakfasts and lunches to get enough to eat, and there are kids in abusive or neglectful homes whose only connection with a dependable adult is through school.
Assuming even home education is necessary then the deficiencies can be taken care of. In the worst cases buses could pick up the few kids who can't be provided with the proper technology or home environment.

But I argue that it is still unnecessary, kids can take a break from school, maybe even miss a while school year if need be. They'll go back to school, they'll get right back in the swing of things, they'll even be a year older and do better. There's nothing magic about school years, starting in September, or any other problem. Just keep paying teachers and staff if you want, the budget requirements won't change when school picks up again.
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:30 PM
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I'd love to hear a reason why schools should re-open when there is any risk at all. Other than parents wanting to be relieved of the burden of raising their kids anyway. What is the horrible problem that must be avoided by sending kids to school during a pandemic?
I don't think you can dismiss the economic impact as "parents wanting to be relieved of the burden". People need to WORK. On a macro level, we need people back at work. We need them making stuff, earning money, spending money. There's a lot of people who can't work if there's no where to send their kids. And if stay closed for another extended period, we are either paying tons of people for doing nothing, or laying off even more (lots of people, like teachers, are still working from home, but others are really having to scramble to appear busy (bus drivers, cafeteria workers, learning specialists, etc.)

The educational impact is also no joke. There's a lot of slack in the system, and I honestly believe that we can "catch up" from having lost half a semester. But I think it will take two full years for most cohorts to do so: today's 3rd graders will be testing behind until at least the end of their 5th grade year. Another semester and we are reaching the end of that slack.

Finally, as mentioned by Fretful Porpentine, public schools have long taken on the job of front-line social work: we monitor kids for abuse, provide meals, etc. We put kids and families in touch with other social services. Fuck, every high school I know these days has a "closet" somewhere for kids to pick up food and clothes and toiletries if needed. As the social safety net has stretched thinner, schools have taken on this role.

That said, before we open schools, I think there are some realities that need to be dealt with.

If it's only safe with strict social distancing, it's not safe. Masks could probably be enforced, but not distancing. LOOSE social distancing is probably an achievable goal, IMHO. But there would be lots and lots of lapses --which still is better than nothing.

There's a real problem with existing illnesses and allergies. If every teacher or student who has any sort of cold or allergies has to stay home until they are symptom free, it's going to be a mess. It's easy to say "stay home if you are sick", but I have a few kids every year that are literally snotty every day, because they have allergies. I have at least one mild cold a year, and from "first trace of a sore throat" to "no symptoms at all" is seven days.

What's the plan if someone does test positive? Close the school? Send home contacts for a two week quarantine? In high school, at least, a kid may share classes with 100 other kids. A teacher probably sees 150.

If we decide surface transmission is a thing, it's a huge problem. We don't have the staff to clean the building thoroughly; we don't have enough books for kids not to share. We don't have enough working sinks.
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Old 05-23-2020, 03:35 PM
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... I'm not sure why the cabinet member says that any school is "exremely unlikely" to be the source of an outbreak. I would think it would be as likely as any activity where people get together indoors.

There's a lot of emphasis on children not getting Covid-19, which is good. But less attention is paid to the teachers and staff who may be at risk. I can understand why they wouldn't want to become the next round of (generally low-paid) front line workers who are risking their lives on little known information.
The "extremely unlikely" is based on the complete lack of evidence to date that children are major contributors to the spread of this germ. Now to be sure "lack of evidence" ≠ "evidence of lack" ... but there is more and more for latter position and none for the former. IF it continues to become increasingly clearer that children are much less contagious than are adults, than are children with influenza, then a forward facing job in a school setting would clearly be less risky than a forward facing job dealing with other adults in other workplace and social circumstances. Teachers might want to limit their contact with other staff to a greater degree than to the students.

It is already extremely well established that children are at very little risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19, non-zero, serious cases, inclusive of the multisystem inflammatory cases, happen, but to a small fraction if the number of serious cases that happen to kids from influenza every year. So indeed the only defense in the keep closed schools side of the discussion is the possibility kids should go without in-school education and school-based services because it has not yet been completely proven that they would not be major sources the germ to school staff or to their families.

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I'd love to hear a reason why schools should re-open when there is any risk at all. ...
By this logic there should never be any in-school education. Going to school, going outside, staying inside ... breathing ... all have risks under in all times.

We do not keep schools closed for the risk of pediatric severe disease and deaths from influenza (176 deaths last season). There have been in comparison a handful of pediatric deaths associated with COVID-19. Tragic each one to be sure, and "only" is an inappropriate word if considering even a single child death, but in comparison to seasonal influenza and the number of children in this country, a very small number.

We do not keep schools closed because of how much kids spread seasonal influenza around: they are documented major vectors for community spread there. It appears that if children spread SARS-CoV-2 they do so fractionally as much as they do influenza.

We send kids to school despite these risks every fall, winter, and spring, because education by trained teachers in person with peers is of major value across many levels.
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:31 PM
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I don't think you can dismiss the economic impact as "parents wanting to be relieved of the burden". People need to WORK. On a macro level, we need people back at work. ...
I don't disagree. This is just another problem that should be addressed. This and the social work aspect you mention later are unfortunately the only real reasons I see for a rush to return children to school, not educational reasons.

Quote:
The educational impact is also no joke. There's a lot of slack in the system, and I honestly believe that we can "catch up" from having lost half a semester. But I think it will take two full years for most cohorts to do so: today's 3rd graders will be testing behind until at least the end of their 5th grade year. Another semester and we are reaching the end of that slack.
I don't think so. Everybody will just finish up their education a little later than they would otherwise. There will be some problems getting the system back up and running again, but it shouldn't be hard to focus on that by setting realistic priorities.

The idea of 'testing behind' is artificial. There are no magic age for when children can learn, they won't be testing behind their fellow classmates who have also been on hiatus. There's no catch up to do. They will test just fine for the level of education they've had. They don't have to catch up to anything, they'll stay in school a little longer than they would have prior to this event. It won't hurt anybody to start college or working a little later.

Quote:

Finally, as mentioned by Fretful Porpentine, public schools have long taken on the job of front-line social work: we monitor kids for abuse, provide meals, etc. We put kids and families in touch with other social services. Fuck, every high school I know these days has a "closet" somewhere for kids to pick up food and clothes and toiletries if needed. As the social safety net has stretched thinner, schools have taken on this role.
Like the burden on parents this is a separate problem that we should be dealing with.
Quote:

That said, before we open schools, I think there are some realities that need to be dealt with.

...
All great issues you stated here. I don't see good answers yet. If I had young kids now I'd home school them if at all possible before rushing them back to the school environment. And I think we should be doing more to make remote education possible with the school resources we have. There's no reason we can't make sure nearly every student has a computer with reasonable online access along with enough to eat, and as I mentioned before, the few exceptions can be handled by taking those students into schools which would have plenty of space for social distancing.
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DSeid View Post

By this logic there should never be any in-school education. Going to school, going outside, staying inside ... breathing ... all have risks under in all times.
Ok, I didn't specify the unknown risk level for COVID-19. Now looking at this reasonably, what is the need to rush kids back to school? I contend it's not educational. The kids lives will be just fine if they graduate from high school a year later than they would have in the past.

If we have no way to deal with the other issues, parents who can't otherwise take care of their children when they are working and using schools as the social safety net for underprivileged children then we should be addressing those actual issues and trying to do something about them. Pretending that education is the major problem here is just another way to ignore these problems. And these are problems that themselves are a major hindrance to education for many.
  #49  
Old 05-23-2020, 08:23 PM
Manda JO is offline
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I honestly cannot imagine what would happen if we delayed graduation for a year. Colleges and universities would go bankrupt, for one thing. Do we furlough all the teachers and other workers? And if we took a whole year off, they'd lose more than a year, for sure. And of course there is no central authority:states and local school boards have the finally say. The system just doesn't have the flexibility for that so of bold stroke. And what if there isn't a vaccine in a year? We delay again?
  #50  
Old 05-24-2020, 01:06 AM
Heffalump and Roo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
The "extremely unlikely" is based on the complete lack of evidence to date that children are major contributors to the spread of this germ. Now to be sure "lack of evidence" ≠ "evidence of lack" ... but there is more and more for latter position and none for the former.
I disagree. Based on this article dated May 17, 2020, there are conflicting studies. You may have discounted or discredited these studies, but there's not a complete lack of evidence. I guess you could define "major contributor" as more than just as likely to spread the disease as an adult, although there would be no reason to do that.

Scientists divided over coronavirus risk to children if schools reopen
Some studies show pupils are less likely to become ill if infected, while others show they are as infectious as adults


Quote:
The most striking feature about the impact of Covid-19 on children is how little research has been conducted in the field. Only a handful of studies have been carried out across the world, and scientists are divided over their interpretation.
. . .
It is known that children are less likely to become ill if infected with the coronavirus but researchers are still unsure how easily they can infect others. Some research indicates that children are far less likely to become infected compared with adults but other studies suggest that when they do become infected, they carry as much viral load as an adult, and therefore pose a real risk of passing the virus on to others.
Some studies show a low infection rate among children. One study has shown no difference among age groups.

Quote:
Dr Alasdair Munro, a paediatric infectious disease expert at University Hospital Southampton, also favours an early return to school. To support the idea, he highlighted a key study carried out in the Italian town of Vò, where there was a major Covid-19 outbreak in February.
. . .
Other studies in Iceland, Norway and South Korea have also found very low rates of infected children in communities. However, these findings contrast with last week’s Office of National Statistics’ disclosure that in its testing of 10,000 individuals in the UK, it found “no evidence” of differences between age groups in the proportions of those testing positive.
Additionally, while some people argue that children are less able to infect others since they often are not exhibiting symptoms, one study showed that the viral load that children are carrying is no different than other age groups.

Quote:
In addition, there is the question of the amount of virus that a child might carry, which would indicate how easily he or she could go on to infect others. If children have lower viral loads than those typically carried by an adult, children would pose less of a risk in boosting infections rate.
. . .
However, research carried out by a team led by German coronavirus expert Christian Drosten at the Charité hospital in Berlin found no significant difference between any age categories, including children. “Viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from those of adults. Based on these results, we have to caution against an unlimited re-opening of schools and kindergartens in the present situation. Children may be as infectious as adults.”
. . .
By contrast, a study – by Kirsty Short at the University of Queensland – has found that children are rarely the first to bring an infection into a household.
From the German study: [pdf file]

Quote:
Analysis of variance of viral loads in patients of different age categories
found no significant difference between any pair of age categories including children. In
particular, these data indicate that viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from
those of adults. Based on these results, we have to caution against an unlimited re-opening of
schools and kindergartens in the present situation. Children may be as infectious as adults.
There is some evidence that children are just as infectious as adults. While children don't generally become as ill as adults, there is a study that shows that they are infected at the same rate. IF that's true, they can become the source of the spread of the disease.
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